Project Konigsberg #7 Almost over now, almost over now

After threatening all yesterday to arrive at some truly ungodly hour, like at one point they were saying 1h15m ahead of schedule, a combination of JFK traffic, Heathrow air traffic control restrictions and a bit of weather mean we touch down dead on 7am, the scheduled landing time. Since the entertainment system completely broke with around 45 minutes to go I've done nothing but write the tail end of my miserable journey up and just wait for the ordeal, if it could legitimately be labelled such, to end.

We arrive at the T5B satellite which by default adds a bunch of extra time to the process of getting landside. For the first time in recorded history I eschew the monorail - one just left and the platform is already rammed with those who didn't fit on it - and take the walkway to T5A. It's almost entirely deserted and I get overtaken by a BA staffer commenting on how it's quicker than the train.

The end of the walkway emerges into the border right next to the 15 new ePassport gates installed at the edge of the hall and there are only about 5 people using them, so I waltz straight through. With no baggage to collect I pile straight out through customs and am landside, looking for the signs to the arrivals lounge. They're up in a lift and less than 25 minutes from touchdown I am queueing to have my turn in one of the shower rooms.

It's a 10-15 minute wait so I try desperately to post to the blog in order for Helen to be able to read it on her unusually early commute. Composition is fine but execution fails and I'm in the shower cubicle when Slate finally says, no, this won't post. The shower is a fancy one with a hand shower, roof shower, and wall outlets but it doesn't get hot. At all. I spend an age in hand shower mode trying every single angle I can make the themostat pump go and it turns out the position it was in when I emerged was the hottest it goes, and that's quite cold.


Well, I stink, so I have to cope. It's horrible but at least invigorating, and I get dressed into clean clothes and feel pretty damn good to be honest. Back into the main lounge and the blog post still won't fucking upload and I get angry and give up and go to book a massage. It's now 0835 and the next appointment is for 1020. Do I want to wait that long? Ah screw it, yes, put me down and I'll go get breakfast.

The very first item of the buffet is black pudding which instantly improves my mood, and I load an egg and meat heavy plate with a ton of beans. Good job Helen isn't here. Also the same wifi is now playing ball and the blog posts instantly. Perhaps things are looking up. But, I really don't know what I'm going to do with myself for the almost 2 hours I now have to kill.

Thankfully one of my friends has got to work early and is online to chat to. He's been following the blog and I get a bit of a narcissism boost. I also get a bunch more food and some orange juice. Fairly suddenly I feel really quite tired and ponder going home...but I really want that massage. Eventually dicking around online kills enough time and I go back to the spa reception.

The receptionist is actually my masseur and it's a proper massage, not "here's your chair, I'll start it and come back to get you" which is how the massages worked on the Moscow trip. She's really chatty and the massage is great, my back feels much less tense than before. At the end she give me some free Elemis samples that I briefly consider genuinely using.

1040, time to leave. That internet had told me there was a problem on the Piccadilly line between all Heathrow terminals and Acton, so I figured I'd get a bus to Hatton Cross for the X26 to Kingston and whatever home. It takes a while to come and goes via the Heathrow royal suite, BA Cargo, and T4. At Hatton Cross Citymapper claims I only need wait 8 minutes for the next bus. So I don't bother with the 285, and take a couple of pics of the planes taking off right next to the road I've just come down.

Plane goes up

I don't bother with the second or third 285 either. There is no X26 in 8 minutes, it comes in 25 or so. Damn it. On the journey I start the whole familiar "long blinking" routine and wonder if sleep deprivation hallucinations are on the way. I'm chatting with Chris and Mark in an effort to keep my mind alert and awake. At Kingston the change is nice and quick and I get home not too far past midday.

First things first, I call the council and ask if they can take a mattress tomorrow when they're coming to get my washing machine. Apparently it's fine. Then I open my new Pebble Time Steel, which isn't supposed to be here. They offered me a delivery date and I picked tomorrow, so why I have two attempted delivery cards and the watch itself I cannot fathom.

First click on the watch tells me I'm flying again.

I also have a new pair of headphones. Both bits of electronics come with me on my next excursion which, come 1pm, is about to start. I throw my iPad, USB bricks and a cable into a bag and open the door to a torrential storm. I'm in a hurry so quickly shove a jumper on and go back out, by which time the rain has stopped and it's sunny and warm. Huh.

Over the bridge, K2 to Kingston. 20 minute wait for the X26 means time to go into Tesco and fail to source caffeine free diet coke so I buy a vitamin D heavy drink instead. Also prawn mayonnaise sandwich. The bus comes on time and I get a seat and once again, despite feeling alert beforehand, this service makes me feel really bloody tired. But this time round, falling asleep would only result in me ending up at Heathrow rather than Croydon.

I get off at Hatton Cross and walk into the station foyer where an exasperated member of staff is saying "I'm afraid you haven't understood me at all, madam. What I'm saying is there are no tubes to Terminal Five and you must get a bus". So I nip out to the bus stop and take a few pics of planes landing where earlier they were taking off. The 490 lands me at arrivals and I get into a full lift in which no-one has pressed the buttons for the departures level, so I assume I'm the only one going there. But actually 4 people are, so why they hadn't pressed the button for that level I don't know.

Plane goes down

For once, the north/south security ratio is 2:5 and I am at north. Fast track is in operation and indeed relatively fast. The woman who is having her Marmite confiscated does not affect my own procession through and within 10 minutes of leaving the bus I am in the lounge with a beer, the iPad plugged into the mains, and blogging the previous 8 hours.

Wait, hang on. Why am I back at Heathrow? Am I getting back on a plane already?

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