I was more than a little relieved to learn I needn't find my own way back to Gatwick again. Give my mate her due, she saw me off in style. With a slap up meal and glass (or two) of wine, we
had time enough for a last few piccy's before her partner called round to take me to the airport. He even helped me with the meggacase. I said my goodbyes and trotted off to the check in with almost a full two hours left to spare. Boots, jacket and belt removed, I even finally escaped setting off the security alarms.
I don't know about you, but I find airports and ferries deathly boring. You are always waiting in limbo til you can move on to the place where you are really meant to be. Waiting for the gate to be announced, I found me a bar and relaxed with a sigh into my new Stephen King novel. Perfect, huh? Well, it was, up until I glanced at the clock.
Oh no! Bugger, bugger, bugger, bugger!!! It was ten minutes after my flight was scheduled to depart! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek! I still didn't even know which gate I was meant to board from. I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I truly have no internal compass where it comes to directions, I always get lost even at the best of times. Darting around like a headless chicken, even with the gate number now in my mind, I still couldn't find the way to where I was supposed to be. I'm running at this point (skinned toes n'all). I had visions of me having to spend an extra night at the Hilton again. (This happened the last time I visited my mate, but that wasn't my fault - honest Guv' - and besides, that's an entirely different story altogether.) Now I can hear the gallery incredulously asking why on earth I didn't hear my name being called? Because, my dear friends, Gatwick is a silent airport - they no longer announce stuff like "Can the stupid bint holding up flight no. XYZ kindly get her arse into gear?" any more.
By the time I arrived, flushed, out of breath and apologising profusely, the gate had already closed. I have to say they were very nice, all things considered. Seems they'd been waiting for me. Of course, everyone had already boarded by this time. I might just explain something here - the plane I catch is only a hundred seater, and this being the last flight out on a Sunday night, it was fully booked. Did I tell you what a tiny island I live on? As luck would have it, my seat was at the very back, the farthest one away from the door. Even avoiding all eye contact, I still felt the collective wave of hate swimming up to greet me. Worse, at least two thirds of the passengers probably knew me by sight, if not in person.
I waited last to disembark, and kept my head down. I'd delayed us by half an hour. Of course, this had a knock on effect upon all the hapless folk waiting to meet us outside. My fifteen year old has the voice of a fog-horn (and he has an uncanny ability to cut straight to the chase.)
"Mum!" (Yelling from 50 metres) "Your plane was late, why was it late?"
I ducked the barbed mutters from the crowd and went to speedily bundle him back to the car, whispering, "I'll tell you later, bonny lad.."