“We regret to inform you…”. Do you? Do you really? Do you care at all? Probably not, I’d guess to be the correct answer to that one. Yup, we’re back in an airport departure lounge my friends and Avion-Facile are up to their usual tricks. Half an hour delay announced so far so what’s our guess as to what that really means? Place your bets ladies and gentlemen, round and round she goes, whether we will ever get to London? God knows.
Things you get in departure lounges that you rarely get anywhere else;
1. Men in linen casual suits and straw hats with unkempt hair, who look like the old artistic eccentric character from some half-assed Sunday night pseudo-drama like Heartbeat.
2. Women who’ve had too many cheap skin peeling treatments flouncing around in Hermes while about to get on an EasyJet flight. Yup, live it up luv, we all paid 30 quid for our tickets to the sun too you know.
3. Generic Daily Mail reader couples. You know the ones. Fly to France on the cheap for the laid back Mediterranean lifestyle but don’t really like the natives. They don’t really like anybody or anything much, other than “people like us” and “our way of life”. They’re easily identifiable by their use of phrases like “what it means to be British” and “I’m not usually one to complain”, and can be brought dangerously close to cardiac arrest simply by slipping the topics of “asylum seekers” or “unmarried mothers” into your casual and polite conversation with them. The men look uncomfortable in casual clothes and the women wear polite pastels. All look like they’ve spent their lives sucking on lemons.
4. Me, being grumpy because my 3 months in the Independent Peoples Republic of St Mandrier has come to an end.
Oh yes, bye bye Chaton (kitten). Little 9 year old Margot being brave when she says goodbye because she doesn’t want Tonton John to feel bad. Little 4 year old Loic not quite grasping the situation, stopping to give me a very serious faced cuddle goodbye and then brightening up and telling me what we’re going to do together tomorrow (make paper planes and boats pretty much like every other day). A blur of kind faces, and kisses and hugs from all of the characters of the last 3 months of my life’s soap opera. And all asking how soon I’ll be back and I fob them all off with “well I hope soon, but I’m not sure because the money is going to be tight” until little Margot tells me that I have to come back for Christmas because me being there is the only Christmas present she wants, so I crack and have to promise, while trying not to cry like a baby. And as I’m typing that in the departure lounge, Rufus Wainwright is on my headphones just reaching the crescendo of one of his more emotional and epic numbers from “Want One”, “Go or Go Ahead”, and it takes a mansize swallow to stop the tears from coming again.
You really should listen to Rufus Wainwright. He’s very good you know.
So what am I going to do next?
I have an idea.
I’ll tell you about it next time maybe.
But before that, I’m on a plane now. If you bothered to guess how long I’d be delayed, it was 30 minutes. EasyJet in “we don’t lie about delays” shocker.
Just had a FANTASTIC Terry and June-esque minute. I had bought my International jet-set Scotch and Coke (You should always have a jet-set drink on a plane, it’s the law, just the same as even on the most scabrous ferry you must have Martini’s on deck which you drink with your finger cocked just so.). Anyway, quelle horreur, I dropped the 4 quid little bottle of Johnnie Walker down the side of my seat. After spending a few awkward minutes trying to retrieve it, I looked disconsolately at the nice lady sitting next to me with her husband/ lover/ son who had nipped to the loo, explained my plight and asked her if she might budge up a second so I could get a better angle to reach under my seat. “No, no” she replied “I’m smaller, let me try”, (she is Australian you see and, as such, genetically much nicer than most of the population of Britain). So down on her knees she went next to my seat, head bobbing up and down over my lap just as the gentleman accompanying her returned from the toilet…