In Transit

Greetings from Istanbul Airport.

This year appears to be non-stop.  Since the last post, I have flown more miles than I might care to think about, slept fewer hours than one might prefer and – perhaps rather significantly – initiated the process of moving my family to Denmark.

The moving process is absorbing some time and energy but appears to be heading in the right direction.  More news should follow eventually.

In the meantime, there has been a football Word Cup (well done England), Wimbledon 2018 and the arrival of the Tall Ships Race 2018 in Esbjerg (plus no doubt a few more events I am failing to recall at time of writing).

Time to line up for the next flight!

Brussels Briefly

What a mad month October has been.  Deadlines to meet, plenty of travelling and barely a moment to pause.  Thankfully the final weekend was a long one spent in the New Forest enjoying some fresh air and relative peace and quiet.

With the trip to Denmark being a Monday evening rather than a Monday morning for a change, a small variation in flight routine was required and it occasioned my first experiences of both Brussels Airlines and Brussels Airport.

The airline makes a big play on ‘sense of humour’ with a rather tongue-in-cheek safety video before take-off and various little quips in the in-flight magazine.  In a related vein, I think it is the first airline I have seen offering freshly cooked frites (fries) as a snack – served with mayonnaise of course.  Alas, the flight duration had to be two hours or longer to sample that particular pleasure so the quality of these apparently award-winning chips remains un-sampled.

My main memory of Brussels Airport was of good exercise through plenty of walking.  There were moving walkways installed aplenty but most only travelling in the one direction opposite to the one in which I was heading.

Accompanying discoveries were that Stella Artois tastes better in Belgium than it does in England (not a great surprise) and that while a draft ‘pint’ of the stuff in the airport was probably cheaper than it would be in a London pub (quite a surprise considering airport pricing), the 330ml measure cost more in the airport than in did in the ‘plane (big surprise).  Below is a photograph of the curling, swirling artefact of a bar at which this knowledge was acquired.

Would I repeat the journey?  If no direct alternative was available probably yes.

Chuseok 2017

Earlier in this blog I have written about Korea’s Chuseok festival that takes place annually at harvest time and includes the giving of gifts that to English eyes might look rather unusual (presentation packs of Spam for example).

A friend has forwarded me this link to a Korea Times news article describing how the current situation across the border has made survival kits a popular gift this year.  A sign of the times.

If it were me, I might be tempted to put a can of Spam in the bag to create the arguably ultimate survival kit.

Baltic or Tropic?

It is a September evening on the west coast of Denmark and I have just caught a mosquito in my living room. Surely this is a national first?

Breezing Along

Today is my six-month ‘semi-anniversary’ working on this project. To mark the occasion, Esbjerg has provided a Force 10-11 gale (63 mph according to the BBC Weather app) and heavy rain showers. It looks like a quiet night in to celebrate is in order.

The Value of Good Humour

Twenty-odd years ago, a school friend and I were on one of the last flights to leave a Caribbean island for the USA before a major hurricane was due.  The pilot of that American Airlines flight had a very relaxed and reassuring manner over the intercom and even dipped a wingtip to improve the view during one those “we are just passing…” parts of the speech.  He brought some much appreciated levity to a rather tense crowd.

That pilot came to mind this evening while waiting to depart on the SK506 to Copenhagen.  It was a full flight and with schedules at Heathrow being notoriously tight, I imagine the captain was keen to get boarding completed in good time.

After making the customary welcome announcement in Danish first, his switch to English opened with: “Ladies and gentlemen.  There may be fifty ways to leave your lover but there are only eight to leave this aircraft.”  After which he exhorted us to pay full attention to the safety demonstration that was soon to follow.

The English version of the pre-landing speech started with: “Ladies and gentlemen.  What happened in London stays in London and here comes Copenhagen.”  We landed ten minutes ahead of schedule.

Our captain for the evening was Mikael Kirkensgaard.  As I had just read in the inflight magazine about a different SAS captain who had been a decorated competitive skater, I asked Captain Kirkensgaard what he did when not flying.  He is not a stand-up in his spare time but a football coach.  He is also rather handy at the controls of an Airbus A320.  I hope we might fly together again.

SAS Captain Mikael Kirkensgaard

Unfortunately the smile waned somewhat shortly after landing.  The flight to Billund has been cancelled and a three hour bus journey awaits.  I wonder what the driver’s sense of humour will be like.

Heathrow hat-trick

Friday night I landed at Terminal 5; last night I waved farewell to my family at Terminal 4; tonight I am flying out of Terminal 2.  Three nights on the trot at Heathrow Airport.  Perhaps I should buy shares in the business.

As I have to wait a few minutes for the gate number to be announced I am taking the opportunity to scribble a few words while sipping a cold drink: on this occasion a pint of Fuller’s Sticky Wicket which I have never seen anywhere before and is apparently a seasonal special.  Quite a pleasant ale it is too if perhaps a little sticky by flavour as well as by name.

“Go to gate” the screen suddenly declares.  Bye for now.

I’m on the bus…

…and I’m online.  So I am writing a quick post simply because I can.   No doubt I am showing my age here…

The bus in question is a recently introduced service to Billlund Airport that has replaced the one I used to take.  Hardware upgrades make it similar to an aeroplane (lights and air vents per seat for example) but with huge windows and one of those large tables with four seats facing it; which is where I am sitting now.

There are two other people on the bus, one of whom is the driver.  As the other chap is sitting very quietly at the back I can almost pretend this is my private conveyance.

DKK 80.00 for the bus ticket versus around DKK 1000.00 for a metered taxi.  When the schedules align, no contest.

To The Polls We Go

General Election Day in the UK today.  While a WhatsApp group I am part of is comparing merits of the local candidates, bookies’ odds on the possible outcomes and similar, at time of writing the banner headline on the BBC News website leads to a selection of statistics about previous elections and details of who will be presenting the television coverage later.  Compare and contrast…

Online at 30000 feet

A copper and ochre sky heralds a crisp Nordic autumn day as I not only write but publish this posting thirty thousand feet above sea level.  No I am not sitting in an extravagantly over-priced first class seat on a long haul BA flight, rather in a clean, new – if somewhat plastic – aeroplane owned by local ‘budget’ airline, norwegian.com and flying a brisk domestic route.

This flight though booked at short notice cost a smidge less than the SAS equivalent that was on offer and while a complementary filled roll and hot beverage is not featured, wifi access at the airport and on the ‘plane comes in useful.  It is the first time I have come across the inflight service and while I am sure other airlines have it, I wonder how long it will be until I encounter one of them.