May it be a wonderful white, snowy Christmas to all in UK………
But, not till after I get on that plane and am up in the skies! Call me a grinch, I don’t care anymore!
Friday morning. As I was uploading photos, I looked out of the patio doors.. eek.. big, white cornflakes. And settling. Closed up the flat and raced out the door. The carpark was white. The car was skidding as I reversed out. Fumbling for the remote control, the gates gently opened…. thank you Terry, from the concierge. Islington was actually looking pretty and I didn’t have time to enjoy it.
The drive to Cheltenham was not pleasant. A repeat of January 2010 crossed my mind but you know what, been there, done it. The CLC Xmas concert was fabulous. With Stephen Parham-Connelly (ex-Kings Singers), now head of Voice, the difference was just phenomenal! The canapes and Prosecco were pretty good and Vicky Tuck was as ever, regal and composed. Totally agree with her, the girls certainly had worked hard, both on the music and walking up steps in “ridiculously high heels”. Part of the core curriculum at the Ladies College!
Saturday morning. Even more “eek”. It was white and getting more white. Our eagerly awaited annual breakfast at Hotel du Vin did not seem appetizing any more. We headed straight for St Austins. Asking for an early leave of absence is something I loathe to do. Missing Vicky Tuck’s last Service of the Nine Lessons was not on the agenda. St Austin’s breakfast certainly has improved but then again we are talking 30 odd years on!
The weather was closing in and the snow, unrelenting. The A40 Cheltenham to Oxford was bad. Cars slipping and sliding. Putting the Desperate and the Nervous on the same road is never a good idea. Good samaritans abandoned their cars to help push stranded cars ahead. A lovely gesture of Christmas goodwill.
By Oxford the windscreen wipers were so heavily crusted snow and ice, the strain on the motor was painful. Had I known what falling snow and falling temperature was about I wouldn’t have been so eager to offer my charitable bit. Even the anti freeze spray was freezing and having left my gloves and hat at the flat in haste, I really wasn’t equipped for the job. It didn’t get better. Jack knifed lorries, queues of cars on uphill runs and people pushing them. The M40 had not cleared overnight. It was so dangerous with mounds of snow between lanes. Not one snowplough in sight. NO police in the SEVEN hours of driving it took us to get from Parabola Road to Hanger Lane!
If that wasn’t enough… Sunday morning, 5am. Got up to check on Heathrow. Flight was scheduled for 10.55am. No snow. A good sign. Getting through on the phone to the airline was not so good. Ended up ringing Singapore to be told that they were on schedule. Hmm, fishy, but hey, KIASU rules the world on that little island. WRONG.
Taxi was waiting at 7.30am. By 8am, the slip road into Heathrow was jammed.. some ‘clever clog’ had decided shut down the traffic lights and every set was on RED. NO cars were allowed into the airport. Except for the service tunnel (no lights). Terminal three was like a third world refugee camp. Passengers were lying on the floors with the courtesy foil blankets handed out by Virgin the night before. Not a member of any airline staff in sight. Well, maybe in mufti – “they walk among us”. No information was offered. Queues began forming everywhere (we’re British!). By 9am, Security began to stop passengers entering the terminal. The shouting and yelling began. Getting out was a problem and certainly no one allowed in. A complete shamble. After a rather expensive phone call to Singapore (again) we were told to go home.
Spent a lovely day, in the warmth of HOME, organic spag bog (homecooked, of course) and even managed a walk to Putney with my daughter for some fresh air before we start ringing Singapore tonight. Surprisingly no alcohol whatsoever in the last 48 hours.
So…. MERRY XMAS to everyone…..