A loud extended Scottish family were occupying about 8 seats behind me and one of them was saying how amazing it is that he has enough points for a free trip to Paris. I'm less snobbish and patronising about this than I am confused. They are in the business class lounge, which either means they are flying business class or they have cards which let them all in - especially in light of the sign at reception saying "no fucking way can you bring in more guests than the rules say" in somewhat more diplomatic terms.
So yeah. Enough miles to fly to Paris is basically the smallest number of useful miles properly, yet they must already know about this stuff. They are flying transatlantic (and rightfully fearful of the T5C departure gate - "C61?" is repeated about 15 times between them) so are virtually guaranteed to earn that much each in just one return journey. Ach, whatever.
Come 1635 and every single flight on the first screen of departures was showing delayed or cancelled. My flight was still moving around in its tight band of minutes and then suddenly, a gate! Shockingly, I would be flying Heathrow to Bergen from gate A12 just like last Wednesday. At least I think it was Wednesday.
Since everything is a bit mad I buggered off as soon as it's announced and the gate was heaving, boarding far from commencing. It was like the opposite of last Wednesday morning, this looked like a very full plane to me. When boarding eventually started at about 5pm there were no announcements, more just a general milling. I scooted through fast track and down the steps and into the plane. I'm in row 1 this time and get out of everyone's way; boarding continued until 5.15pm and the flight was announced as full, except no-one comes to occupy 1D next to me. Score.
We taxi and it takes an age because weather has caused a bunch of delays - ours was caused by arriving late from Sofia - and in the midst of a looooong queue of aircraft we eventually get airborne at 1755. Eesh. That's only 40 or so minutes before we were due to land, though I'm not too concerned about missing my connection.
Heathrow with the gates full looks magical to me.
As soon as we vaguely level off, sundry Norse folk attempt to storm the toilet. A woman from behind me shouts and is shouted at to stay in her seat until the seatbelt sign is off. Another woman makes a break for it only to be cut off at the galley, and dumped into seat 1D. Oi! When the sign does go off, 1D is too slow and the shouter beats her to it. Then a child comes and stands in the way too. 1D is told there are more toilets at the back and bolts for them. Other people queue. Is there no concept of the tactical piss in Norway? Do the Norse have rogue bladders? Eesh. Seat 1D is used as a waiting room for the loo throughout the flight.
I am offered a hot towel, and place it down next to me because it's a bit too hot. It's collected within seconds before I even touch it again. This crew are not fucking about. Champagne and nuts arrive. I start to play more with Aviary on my iPad and realise I completely failed to write anything about Girlfriend Guy from Sunday, so here he is. I'm actually not sure I need add to his own words to be honest.
I also forgot to mention that when walking through SoHo yesterday Murray and I found ourselves in the midst of a paparazzi - amateur and professional - melee outside some place called Balthazar. We have no idea who was meant to be there. Anyone know? I'm wondering what kind of fame we almost stumbled across.
In fact there's a bunch of things I forgot to mention. Like how drinking negronis was a better form of spiritual consultancy than Keano offered. Like how I tried to imagine what would have happened on the last crossing if there had been engineering works and a rail replacement bus service back across a bridge we'd already crossed. That was a particularly evil thought, I reckon Lester would've committed several felonies.
But then the sandwiches and scones interrupted the reminiscing. Sandwiches, scones, and another champagne, don't mind if I do. I'm yet to reveal to the cabin crew my presence on the return flight but presume an advance glance at the passenger manifest will tip them off anyway. If there's another drinks service I might say something like "no thanks, best leave some for the way back - I'm on your return journey too" but the idea of refusing a drink seems unrealistic.
The sun is about to set in Bergen and I'm on the right side of the plane for good views; the captain just told us the weather is nicer and warmer here than in London, and I'm on the better side of the plane for coastal views on the way in.