Two hours hanging out on the runway in Shanghai waiting for air traffic to clear, and half an hour circling London skies waiting for air traffic to clear, bloated a 12.5 hour journey intto a 15 hour strapped-in-a-capsule saga … and, I realise, with Sydney-New York a 19 hour ordeal, and Sydney-London a 21 hour horror show, I have comparatively little to complain about. But, rising at 6am as I did, to get to Shanghai airport in time to leave the three hour buffer they recommend (it’s that big and that busy) and flying into London at 6.30pm, with some crafty time travelling in between, greasy-haired, slitty-eyed, dry-skinned delirium was inevitable. And I’m going to put it out there, and I say this with a considerable breadth of knowledge of plane food … British Airways takes the crown for worst. Food. Ever. The mini prawn and browned cucumber salad, wilting in a plastic bowl with scraps of lettuce was, for me, the highlight. It doesn’t get much more offensive.
A black cab ride whisked me away from Heathrow and a plane of excitable Russian students clutching their passports and overtaking customs, to Hammersmith, a very sweet little place where I shall be residing for the next few days. It is so English here, it’s wonderful. The birds are tweeting, the house opposite my window is covered in some sort of ivy (okay, maybe not ivy, but a green, leafy vine) and the town centre is circular and quaint and I think I want to run off now and suckle on a pint of tepid lager. Which I would do if it wasn’t 6am. Although, somewhere in the world it’s past midday. Hell, it’s 3pm at home. Perhaps a tepid lager is in order after all.