Dyma fi yn Prydain Fawr eto – here I am in great Britain again (sorry, too tired to work out whether Prydain needs a soft mutation). I must say, it feels freakishly normal to be sitting at Heathrow airport sipping a cappuccino.
The flight over was marvelously uneventful. I had a window seat on the Singapore leg, right at the back, with a spare seat between me and the next person. As an introvert, I would have say, this is the ideal economy location. No one behind, no one beside, just tucked in the corner with no one else to worry about.
I watched a movie: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. It was pleasant. But over-rated and entirely predictable. But Maggie Smith played Maggie Smith with her usual aplomb. I also watched an entire season of Big Bang Theory. This was an infinitely more satisfying experience -Oh to create a character as memorable as Sheldon Cooper.
On the London leg, I requested an aisle seat and, I must say that with regular walks and my new black airline socks, my ankles are not at all swollen. The worse part of the whole twenty four hour flight was my food restrictions. I decided to start out as I mean to go on this holiday – with a fructose friendly diet (I will allow one pork pie and one Welsh cake as a holiday treat). On an airline, this proved a bit tricky.
‘We don’t cater for individual dietary requirements,’ the lady at Qantas told me, ‘you have to select one of our standard allergy options.’
For me this meant glucose free, lactose free, yeast free, and generally without flavor. For breakfast I had rice cakes with canola spread and a bowl of fruit. Yum! Just what I needed after twenty-two hours flying. People all around me were eating cornflakes, yoghurt, and continental pastries.I could have eaten all these things on my diet, apart from the pastry. But due to a general lack of self control where food is concerned, I had to take the drastic menu option. After twenty-two hours in economy, I would have scoffed down that croissant without a moments hesitation.
To console myself, I watched another nine episodes of Big Bang Theory. With the aid of modern medicine, also managed to get a few hours sleep.
Arriving in London, I faced a first time, momentous occassion. I entered the UK on a British passport. I’ve been meaning to get my UK passport ever since my son Jack waved his under my nose eight years ago.
‘Looks at this,’ he said, with all the arrogance of nineteen years, ‘I’m more British than you Mum.’
That’s not the sort of comment you allow to pass unchallenged.
I approached the customs counter, heart pounding. Would they brand me an imposter? Clap me in leg irons? Send me back to the antipodes?
No, I entered the land of my birth, as a citizen. At last , an acknowledgment of my dual identity. I felt like turning round and announcing it to everyone in the queue.
First thing I did after getting my bags was to buy a SIM card. Now my iPhone is operational, I feel like a modern, fully functional human being again.
I dropped a bottle of wine in the baggage claims area – actually I dropped two but only one of them broke – as a consequence (seriously dripping bag), I left my folder with my Australian SIM card and my National Express ticket and all my travel documents at the tourist information counter. Never mind, I had copies of all my travel documents and, as it turned out, the very kind girl at the counter put it aside for me.
Why do the let me out? It’s a good question. It just goes to show – anyone can travel.