Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Slow Bloke Goes Over The Pole: Anchorage And Home

The Japanese Airlines flight to London was long and uneventful. It was a last chance to try some sushi. The supermarkets back home were a long way off even thinking about stocking it.

The plane stopped to re-fuel at Anchorage, Alaska. It was cold, rainy and the clouds covered the mountains. Home from home, I thought. It could have been an August day in the North Pennines. It was the first chance to catch up on the world news for a month. Nothing seemed to have changed. The press were still lampooning him at every opportunity. The odds were always stacked against him with Ronald Reagan as a strong opponent and always having to watch his back with fellow Democrat Teddy Kennedy constantly trying to oust him.

Arriving back at Heathrow was a mixed blessing. There is something reassuring hearing the West London and Middlesex voices again. The Red Cap greeted the plane like a Sergeant-Major. The Customs Officers looked stern and alert. The porters groaned when they were asked to carry someone's luggage.

As I walked through the electric sliding doors, my mind went into reverse and I expected to be hit by a wall of hot and humid tropical air. It wasn't the case. It was damp and drizzly. Little droplets of water ran down the shiny, bald head of Toad as we said goodbye.

'Windsor?' said the taxi driver rubbing his hands. 'That's not in the Metropolitan area - it will cost you double.'

I was too tired to care and would have been shocked if he had said anything different. This is Britain, of course.

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