Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Homeward bound

Monday was devoted to cleaning the apartment and packing, but I did manage my usual evening paseo before supper, then going to bed by nine. This was the only way to take the edge off a four thirty start from Rincon by taxi to get to the airport check-in by five. I didn't sleep well, and in the end, got up just after three, and pottered about until it was time to leave. At four exactly. Rosella gave me an alarm call - just in case. She'd been up watching the Clinton-Trump debate on TV. The  taxista she engaged to collect me was punctual, and amazingly cheerful for such an early hour. We chatted in Spanish throughout the twenty five minute ride, and I felt immensely pleased with myself for being able to function at all at this hour of the morning, and make myself understood, without possibility of falling back into English.

He dropped me off outside the main entrance. The Vueling check-in had just opened, and already a hundred or so people were queuing in one long straggly line impeding the travellers hunting for their respective desk. Within minutes, the cordoning system for compressing a queue into smaller area had been opened and was full to capacity. By that time, the queue was starting to move surprisingly fast. No fewer than seven Vueling desks were now open, and availability displayed on a screen which issued a distinctive odd sound every time a new desk number was called. It's the system I'd seen in use at Barcelona El Prat, when checking in for my return journey back at the end of July. Impressive.

A ten minute wait, twenty seconds dropping off my case, then the walk to the security clearance zone, hardly any waiting, despite scores of people being processed. Within twenty five minutes of being dropped off, I was in the departure shopping area, with an hour to wait before boarding. With hardly any shops open to browse in should I be so inclined, which I'm not. I preferred a leisurely stroll to the gate area where I was pretty certain our flight was docked. By the time I reached passport checkout, the gate had been confirmed, then there was only half an hour to wait before boarding, and enough time to sit and eat the picnic breakfast I brought with me.

We were bussed out to the aircraft. Passengers in the narrower seats at the rear were boarded first, but there were delays boarding the front group, perhaps because we were out on the tarmac, not docked. So we were twenty minutes late setting out. Despite the discomfort, I'd already dozed off before we started taxiing, and dozed for much of the flight. When the sun rose, just after eight, the terrain was obscured by intermittent cloud which grew thicker as we flew north. Only as we flew below a hundred metres into Rhoose from the West did land become visible again, so there wasn't much to stay awake for.

The benefit of such an early flight was arriving home just after ten, and having the whole day ahead of me to read mail, update computers, unpack, and catch up with Clare. In the afternoon I accompanied her to an appointment with her eye consultant at the UHW  Opthalmology department for an expert briefing before her next operation, three days after I return to Spain for my next tour of duty. It's unfortunate that we knew nothing of this prospect when my arrangements were made. Thankfully Owain is able to come over and support her

No comments:

Post a Comment