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2003 Discovering Britain & Ireland – Day 1

SYDNEY – Qantas take me away  

Sunday – finally the day has dawned and no more sleeps. Very excited but can still manage to get down a bit of breakfast before making sure (for the 100thtime) that I have everything including my passport and tickets. Cannot eat lunch – too excited – check passport and tickets again. Load the car with 1 large suitcase, 1 cabin bag and 1 rather large shoulder bag, check passport and tickets and it’s time to say farewell to Revesby.

This holiday is to be a jaunting journey through Britain and Ireland with my trusty Insight friends.  A couple of days in London prior – on the bus for 22 days – and then a couple of days before flying home.

I can feel the excitement building as I spy the airport and the planes. My son Stuart is driving me to the airport and we arrive about 2.15pm and park the car. Yep and I check the passport and tickets again. The check-in queue is a mile long and loads of kids racing about so Stuart, who is looking rather edgy, quickly takes up my offer to bid farewell and I am left by myself.

Book my suitcase through and have a wander around the terminal, dragging my cabin bag behind me and suffering extreme shoulder bag syndrome. Walk around waiting for my good friends Ann & Rhondda to arrive (remember them from Norfolk Island?)  – which they did – then the Three Amigos proceed to the nearest bar for a farewell drink or two. Lots of laughter and good humour all round (what else did you expect from three such people?) – I am beginning to think that they came to the airport just to make sure I got on the plane and left the country!!!!!

4.00pm –through Customs and buy some duty free perfume – POEME & PLEASURES – what else??? Not a bottle of Amaretto to be found but I get some chocolates to compensate and still there are miles of kids. How can these people afford it? I make a mental note that the trip is on a slow downhill slide and we haven’t even left Sydney!!!!

ANNOUNCEMENT– Flight delayed for 15 minutes. No probs. Find a seat in the lounge and end up sitting near two older (much) ladies from NZ. They are doing the same Insight tour as me and staying at same hotel. I wish I had another drink!

Finally we get the announcement to board and I am on the plane – a  747-400.  Lots of room and I have my own media system. WOW! There are 3 seats in my row and I have a spare seat beside me and no kids within coo-ee. I spread out and am looking forward to the journey before me.  Things are on the way up. Take off at 5.25pm – half an hour late but who cares – I am on my way. Same adrenaline rush speeding down the runway and up into the atmosphere.  It is 5.50pm and I have discovered the Glen A. Baker channel – music from 1964. Things are definitely looking good. Have just been given the menu – dinner is not far away.

Jan and Dean’s ‘Ride the Wild Surf’ is playing and I have the head set on and singing away, until I realise that maybe I am singing a little too loud!!! Hey – too bad. I am watching the screen with the flight pattern. Yes, the tragic tourist is on the move.  So excited! Taking a break from the flight screen, I look up to see Braveheart is on the plane – well a cross between a sad looking 18 stone Billy Connolly and a rather dishevelled Braveheart wearing a kilt.  Heading for the Tattoo??? Maybe the onboard entertainment??? His hair and beard could hide an entire Scottish Clan. Oh, oh. The missus has just popped up and she looks like him. This is proving interesting. I have a little chuckle to myself.

On Flight Data : current Time : 7.10pm OZ time Cruise Speed : 831/km hour / Altitude : 34,000 feet / 10363 metres Outside temperature : -41 degrees C / 7 hours and 6 minutes to Bangkok – 1337 km from Sydney.

Suddenly it’s time for dinner and I have chosen Green Leaf Salad with Herb Vinaigrette; Chicken Provencal with Pesto Risoni; White Wine, Cheese & Crackers – Coffee – Magnum Ice Cream.  After enjoying a wonderful meal (not to mention the wine) – it’s time for a little snooze.

Some more flight details : 12.20am Oz time – just flown over Brunei. Bangkok is 1 hour and 51 minutes away / Cruise speed : 569 mph (918 kmh) / altitude : 39000 feet / Outside temperature : -53 degrees C. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr !!!!! Glad I am not sitting on the wing.

There is time for another small nap until woken up by the sound of the trolley. Yep more food. This time it is a light refreshment – Three Cheese Raviola with Beef, Tomato & Herb Sauce; seasonal fruit in Lime Syrup; Coffee.  I just love eating my way round the world!

We land in Bangkok and have opted for the choice to ‘go ashore’ and stretch my legs and to walk off the weight I have put on in just a short time. Nice airport but not as nice as Singapore. Looking out for Amaretto again but did not find any. After about an hour of just wandering I get back on board and arrive to just what I need – more food – what is this?  Supper : Glass Noodle Salad; Steamed Fish with Ginger Sauce; Sago Corn Pudding & Coffee.

And just when you though it was safe to settle down and get some sleep – around comes the Flight Attendant with a Snack-on-Q bag. Bottle of water, fruit, yoghurt bar, lollies, biscuits. This is just in case you get peckish before breakfast. I am afraid to get some sleep in fear of being woken with more food but decide there mustn’t be anything else to feed us so I settle down for a nice long sleep and when I wake up the sun is on the horizon. So pretty with the clouds. The lady at the end of the row has the blanket pulled up over her face. I hope she hasn’t passed away during the night!  Check the flight screen – going over Kiev – only 3 and a half hours to London.

Cruise speed : 888 kmh Time in air from Bangkok: 8.07 hours / Altitude: 10972m Outside temperature: -50 degrees C / ETA London: 5.52am Distance to London: 2109 km.  Yep and then it starts all over again : breakfast: Orange Juice Banana and Pecan Nut Muffin Toasted Muesli Fresh Fruit Platter / Coffee

We had better do a lot of walking on this tour as I think I’ve put on 5kg since leaving Sydney!!!

Highlight of the day : Tragic Tourist on the move – being on the plane

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