I flew for the first time in 30 months. Only from London to Belfast, one of those flights where you’ve just gone through the stomach tumult of sprinting down the runway and asking yourself why you didn’t go to the loo before sitting down and settling back when the pilot chappie says to get ready to land and once again you dither about the loo.
Or is that just me?
I’m a neurotic traveller, partly because of my record of cockups. I hate any suggestion of being late, given the monumental faff getting from normal life to your seat. I did excel myself rather, insisting we set off at 6.30am for an 11am flight and finding ourselves inside the departure lounge by 8am. Still my tail was wagging.
It was all rather surreal. There were masks about but there seemed to be some sort of unwritten choreography involved with them. On at bag check in then off at the counter where you rummage in your hand luggage for that lip salve you know is in there somewhere. Then on and off at security, on in the loos and off in the lounge and on at the gate. Only this time they had to come off again for the face recognition to work or you were left there with a fuming overweight numpty behind you because the gate refused to open as you frantically twisted the barcode on your boarding pass, hunting for that 94 degree vector that’s needed for the sodding thing to work whereas the mask was the issue. And back on for the flight…
Still we made it to Belfast. We stopped to meet a friend of the Vet’s for lunch – we’re here for a family wedding. And then had a little potter.
See those neatly planted flowerbeds? Mum hated anything so regimented. Horticultural terrorism. Nature doesn’t do straight lines or neat single colours. She even had her own put down. ‘So very park’s department, darling’ if I suggested they looked vibrant and colourful.
It was damp and green and looked, on the way to Killyleagh our Air BnB like the countryside around Frome. All very familiar.
Unlike flying which is the kind of novel experience that was once exciting and is now just a bit grim.