The flight is taking off at 1630hrs. I left New Cross Gate station at 1318hrs. I did what I always do, and left relatively late. My normal routine is to get to the airport just as checking in is coming to an end. That way I don't have to queue, and I don't have spend hours inanely walking through duty free shops, thinking, "bloody hell, if it costs this much tax free, imagine how it must cost in the real world." My routine almost means that there's a relatively straight path from my doorway to my seat on the plane.
But in these days of heightened security fears, one has to allow for time to sit down, take off one's footwear to allay the Man's fears that one isn't a shoe bomber. And when the Man asks why the Florida alligator skin shoes weigh so much, you can reply, "I'm Rick James, bitch!" At which point the Man will not be responsible for his actions. The Picadilly Line to Heathrow feels like the most generous tube line in the world. It stops everywhere, and picks up everyone. So, I opted for the Heathrow Express, that beloved bastion of executive cool. No cattle car for me, sir.
The train pulled in less than an hour after my departure from New Cross Gate. So I waltzes to the Turkish Airlines counter, give my spiel - I packed it myself, it didn't leave my sight, no the laptop hasn't got porn on it, but what's that to you, sir... I check in less than 5 minutes. The fastest ever check in time. I say to all Nigeria bound flights to put that up their pipes and smoke it. What look like early bird Nigerians are milling around the Virgin Atlantics desks, hoping not to be trampled by the horde who'll arrive this evening. So what do I do for two hours while I wait to get on the plane?
Ponti's cafe. I believe they have quite a few of them around London. This is no time for exotic food, so I plump for an all-day breakfast. You can't go wrong with those. Nothing like a traditional morning fry up for lunch. I then practically stroll through immigration, no hostility whatsoever. Quite boring, really. Where's the drama? I must find a Lonely Planets guide or something similar. But Smithy's don't have one, and neither do Borders. It's like there's a booksellers apartheid style boycott. The books go from India straight to Istanbul, with nothing in between. Must get one when I reach.
What else do I need? Ah, digital camera. Thank God for multinationals, the immoral so-and-sos, Dixons comes to the rescue, tax free as well... What else? I forgot my shekels, bugger. Well, £40 worth isn't too bad. And then there's was the elderly black woman. South African looking. I hear the snipping, but wasn't sure what it was. And as Sods Law states in Chapter 6, Article V, "thy lap shalt be the recipient of an elderly black woman's fingernails as she clips them nonchalantly in an aiport lounge." Yep, it landed on me as I sat down, contemplating how to next amuse myself.
Tonight, Istanbul (not Constantinople), and tomorrow, Tel Aviv, Israel.