I awoke on the morning before departure day. It was raining. A typical British day I thought as I sank back into bed. Mishi our puppy, was up early as usual, scratching at the bed for her breakfast, talking Husky. I pulled her up and fell back to sleep.
I spent the day catching up on the year’s paperwork. New Year’s Day.
And my New Year’s resolution – to have less paperwork by this time next year (I don’t smoke so there is no quitting to be done).
Music flowed down and over the side of my desk and through the corridors of my house – Johnny Cash, Dylan, a little bit of Nina Simone, and Elvis of course – some of the my other old time favourites.
I went to bed, in my own bed, for one last time.
My last day January 2nd – was sunny- something unusual. My family met up for lunch in London before I travelled out to the airport.
Checking in 60 kg of baggage with 15 kg of hand luggage on top was no easy feat. British Airways didn’t make it easy and of course lodged some objection – it was duly noted. The bags were sent on to my final destination: Hobart, Tasmania where a boat would take me onto Antarctica.
My 69-year-old father and partner Kathy left. Tears were shed. I felt alone, for the first time in a long while.
I made a quick withdrawal from the cash machine, after check in. A habit I had got into. This time though, I don’t think I would need much in terms of where I was going. A place without money. Theres a thought!
As the plane stormed along the runway for take off, it didn’t seem to want to leave the ground. I gulped thinking perhaps I’d packed too much.
That’s the way an Englishman should leave the UK for an adventure. From London Heathrow, on a British Airways Boeing 747-400 powered by four Rolls Royce RB211 engines. If only Newton saw this I thought. That’s the way I remember flying as a kid.
Sadly since being a kid, my legs and body have lengthened, making travel awkward. I had paid for Premium Economy and it was no different. I was stuffed in next to my neighbour, a mother with a one and a half year old sat on her legs sharing one seat. The child cried as the plane became pressurised. 12 hours to Singapore was never going to be easy.
The plane lifted into the night.
Goodbye and Good luck.