Back home on the Isle of Man

After a short trip to the ghastly Gatwick airport and the bumpy flight over the UK and the Irish Sea, followed by the most horrendous landing ever, I feel profoundly lucky to be safely “home” in the Isle of Man. Not many people know that I almost died here, on a runway at Ronaldsway Airport just after 1pm this afternoon. But it was not to be.

I’ve seen four airports over the past few days. Four very different airports.

Cape Town is in a state of development ahead of the 2010 World Cup. And while it looks pretty spectacular and is already a huge improvement on the previously dated and rather ramshackle terminals. One slight issue is the thick dust, which is covering everything – including the cars in the long stay car park, which are well on their way to becoming fossilised. Every car park ticket comes with a free car wash. Or at least it should.

And then the much maligned Terminal Five at Heathrow. Well, I was completely impressed. Quick, clean (although I probably still had Cape Town on my mind) and very modern and stylish. We sped through in record time via the internal transit train thing and then spent all the time we’d saved watching the dancing fountains outside the terminal building.

Photo by LightReflections on flickr

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Gatwick. Aging, poorly designed, ugly, overcrowded and full of chavs. The humourless security people made me take my belt and shoes off and then laughed as my jeans fell down. So not completely humourless then. But I didn’t find it funny. Shuffling across the apron in the kerosene-stained drizzle was even less fun. And difficult with my trousers round my ankles.

And then little Ronaldsway. I’d love to tell you all about it, but I was still stunned by the utterly appalling landing by the apparently novice pilot in the blustery crosswinds.

The Isle of Man is still as pretty as I always remembered it to be. But it seems even more beautiful when you thought you were never going to see anything ever again. I’d even have settled for another afternoon in Gatwick departures lounge.

Last of the quota posts

“Real” blogging begins again tomorrow from the Isle of Man. Meanwhile I’m watching the new Torchwood “Children of Earth” – bloody good and bloody scary.

Don’t leave me now.

See you tomorrow…

London with Kids in Tow

I never lived in London. For me, London was always like someone else’s kids: fun for a day, but nice to leave behind and go away from at the end of it.
So taking my own was an interesting experience.

We did the Natural History Museum and we did Trafalgar Square, where they have killed all the pigeons. It was hot, busy, humid, polluted and a whole lot of fun. And I got my camera. Bring it.

I ended up tired and we seemingly did very little, but Alex and Kpu had a great time. The boy is now addicted to dinosaurs, and thanks to his Auntie Tina, now has one that roars. Annoyingly. Often. And annoyingly often.

A quieter day tomorrow, before we head out to The Isle of Man – the antithesis of London Town. No smoke, no people, occasional pigeons.


Offputting, originally uploaded by Ballacorkish.

A two quid fine is all it takes to keep the pavements clean.

A wonderful day, meeting old friends, kids everywhere and having a very English braai – although the weather was distinctly South African…

London tomorrow. Taking the boy to see the Big Smoke.

Surrey seems to be the hardest word

Rest assured, we’re safely in Surrey.
The flight was fun, although the kids weren’t hugely happy about being cooped up on a plane for 12 minutes, let alone 12 hours.

I finally got some sleep at lunchtime today – just 10 minutes, followed by another 4 hours. And I feel the need to add to that now…