May 10

My hopes of getting an upgrade to Business Class from Sydney to London were knocked on the head when it turned out that the entire flight (QF31) was full. Even some full-paying Business Class passengers were bumped back to Economy, so one of the Qantas staff informed me (although Premium Economy sounds more likely). Excess baggage charges apply. Quite excessive charges, I can assure. $60 a kilo.

May 11

My flight arrived at London Heathrow at around 6.30AM. Anticipating chilly weather I pop on a jumper. The aircraft has pulled up short of the terminal and we have to disembark onto a bus. Much to my surprise the weather is actually quite balmy (especially for 6.30 in the morning). The bus transports us to Terminal 4 from where most of us need to catch another bus to get to Terminal 5. Naturally this involves a bloody big long queue. Eventually I manage to get onto a bus, which features an automated announcement from a woman who sounds suspiciously like the voice of Holly from Red Dwarf. According to this announcement it takes 18 minutes to get to Terminal 5. Then we are treated to a video telling us how to get through the security checks more quickly and efficiently. It’s nice that this responsibility should be placed on us, the paying passengers, rather than anyone who actually gets paid to run the security. Fortunately the bus only takes about 8 minutes to get to Terminal 5. Less fortunately inside there is a huge queue for transit passengers. This, as it turns out is not the queue for the security check, but rather the queue to get your boarding pass reissued (apparently now a new requirement at Heathrow). This queue turns out to be even longer than the subsequent queue at the security check. I resist the urge to mockingly comment in an old man’s Cockney accent,

“We suffered in the Blitz … now it’s your turn”.

Fortunately I still have plenty of time to get to the boarding gate. The flight to Amsterdam is very crowded.

It turns out that Amsterdam is just as unseasonably warm as London. My darling wife shows up with Peter, who is some sort of general factotum for her company, in tow to do the driving.

Our flat is large by Dutch standards. 2 and half bathrooms is virtually a luxury for a three bedroom flat. Quite a large main bedroom, with an ensuite and walk in robe. Decent living area leading out to a backyard with a shed. I’ll have to take some pictures one of these days. Had late lunch at Chicanos, which is a sort-of Tex-Mex place.

May 12

As all the supermarkets were closed yesterday (for Pentecost) we ventured out today for groceries. Today is Monday but it’s the Pentecost public holiday. Apparently everybody else in Amsterdam is at the same supermarket, as the aisles are choked with people queuing for the checkouts.