Like a well-oiled machine all turn up at the airport on time – apart from those using the cranky M25. You have a choice on the M25: clockwise or anti-clockwise….but whether your choice makes any difference is another matter. This is why they teach maths at school – Q: if it is 6 am and a car is travelling at 60 mph and a roadsign says it is 49 miles to Gatwick airport, at what time will the car reach the airport – A: at 6.49am – wrong! So we are chugging along at 10mph, how long will it take to reach the airport???? Wrong again! Of course we did make it – even squeezed in a second breakfast.
Boarded, sat down, got out book ( “Thinking Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman), ready to be whizzed up into the wide blue yonder…….”Captain speaking…..fault with thermometer….engineer on way….get going as soon as possible…..”. Practice inner peace and unlimited patience. “Captain speaking, sorry we are going to have to de-plane you….engineers still fixing problem….”. Re-boot inner peace and unlimited patience. Back in the terminal we are in danger of succumbing to boredom although spirits generally high. Games of hangman get going, marriage prospects of young members of the group discussed, air crash investigations chewed over (why?). Surrounding passengers possibly a little alarmed at having 30 Kung fu students in their midst during a delay but fears soon put to rest as we try out the chairs for durability in dips and pushups and are our usual polite jolly selves. After several hours of “engineers working on the problem” we are given food vouchers and head back to feedstores to replenish supplies (picnics were demolished long since). This prompts the engineers to finish working on the problem as we are immediately recalled to the gate for boarding.
Can’t fault the Captain for his amusing rendition of his bad day (engineers fixed one problem but it wasn’t the real one so then fixed the next problem with all air con off standing on tarmac at 31C, then they shredded the screw and it had to be drilled out, alternate plane arrived but 10 seats too few, then crew running out of time available to work). All done now. Ahhh the glamour of international travel. Unlimited patience definitely worth bringing along next time.
Arriving late at night, grab luggage and hire cars, find late night petrol station, swing by restaurant to pick up food (final picnic of the day), find houses, and so to bed.