Ferocity was not usually a quality one wanted in a goldfinch

I have not written about a jaunt for ages so this seems like the moment. The day begins quite early with an alarm going off at 5:15AM.
An alarm clock is both a very simple and a very useful invention but my problem is always a lack of belief in either the technology of my own competence. As a result whenever I set an alarm I wake up hourly to check that I have not missed it. I haven’t and tumble out of bed into the darkness of the morning. Breakfast is a banana and an old Mars Bar that I found in my glove compartment.

6:12: I am at Bicester North Station chatting to Mick the ticket clerk while secretly panicking that there is going to be so much chat that I will miss the train. This does not happen. Honestly I used to be so laisse faire about travelling and would think nothing of haring across bridges to catch trains or through terminals just in time to leap on aeroplanes as the doors closed. I suppose it is age but I seem to spend far too much time worrying.

7:11: Marylebone. The rain has stopped and the sun gleams on puddles as I walk to Baker Street and the Jubilee Line. I must say that’s so far this has been a very dull travelogue: my apologies.

7:36: Change at Canning Town to the DLR. At this point I get on the wrong train which results in some recalculations and a small bit of running. Some jeopardy but, in the end, immaterial.

8:10: London City Airport – the world’s easiest airport. I have done a fair bit of domestic flying in my life and it is almost always hideous. If you are very bored you can trawl back through this blog and find descriptions of the horrors of holiday season security at Birmingham Airport or aeroplanes missed at Luton. London City is a breeze – you tumble off the train and 5 minutes later you are werestling with a pot of Pret a Manger granola at Gate Four.

8:50: There are seven people on the Loganair flight to the Isle of Man. They spread us out through the aeroplane to, presumably, prevent us tipping into a loop the loop if it gets a bit choppy near Liverpool. We all get a Tunnocks wafer. Before working on this garden I last visited the Isle of Man to do a talk with my excellent friend Nigel Colborn in 2008. We did a national tour called Green with Envy. I did write a blog about it but I dont think that it survived a migration. I know that the theatre was charming, it rained (a lot), we found a statue of Norman Wisdom – which has now been joined by one of the Bee Gees as I believe they were born on the island. Anyway here is a picture of us in our dressing room eating sandwiches.

Nigel Colborn

9:05: I realise that I have left my cap in the airport. Annoying as it was well worn in and much loved.

15:30: I have had a delightful day wandering around a client’s garden and decide that this would be a good moment to check that all is cheery in the aeroplane departures department.

It isn’t.

The plane has been delayed for a hour and a half. Very dull but it allows me to go for a bracing walk along the windy shoreline and return to eat a baked potato (with beans, tuna mayo and cheese) in the company of two delightful small children. We then bundle into a draughty Landrover for the five minute drive to the airport*.

18:15: I walk into the airport at the same time as my phone buzzes insistently. It is a text from LoganAir regretting, very politely, that the flight has been cancelled.
There are no other flights to London City for 24hours so I have choices:
(A) stay on the Isle of Man
(B) fly to Manchester or Edinburgh
(C) fly EasyJet to Gatwick
I opt for option C and stand in various queues until 20:00 when there is a chaotic boarding queue with everyone’s hand baggage being checked. One can only assume that this is so that the airline can screw a few extra quid from the travelling public.

21:20: Land at Gatwick. Walk miles through windowless corridors. Get on the shuttle.

21:46: Miss the train to Victoria

21:56: Get the train to Victoria.

23:07: Get the train home.

I should never have complained about the dullness of this journey at the beginning of this lament: the fates will not be mocked. The picture is of some hatching Virginia creeper Castletown.