Before news came that the Spanish airport strike threats were lifted, we had booked our first leg of the journey from Gibraltar – a way of getting a quick and direct service to LHR. Despite the ground staff’s pedantic behaviour over an extra 400 grams of luggage (that’s just my cashmere sweater and this week’s copy of Heat magazine surely?) the flight was easy and uneventful.
In fact, no sooner had I enjoyed a glass of wine than I had started to relax, unwind and feel drowsy. The past few weeks have been busy and their intensity has been magnified by the three days shooting for the relocation TV show for which I’d agreed to contribute, and the frantic preparations of our home, office and the Guaro country house for our period of absence.
On board I recalled how some years ago I used to have a genuine fear of flying; my need to control my environment conflicted with the notion of hurtling through the air at over 500 mph in a fragile metal tube, surrounded by highly flammable fuel, miles above the surface of the planet.
Yet, now I see an aircraft as a potential sanctuary; the moment the large doors swing close is the moment my peace begins; thankfully mobile calls still can’t be received in BA and the internet is an expensive distraction – nothing left to do but to read, watch, eat or drink – all four.
After the almost obligatory circling over the south east of England we came to land at Heathrow, the grey, sprawling gateway to the extraordinary, mundane, green, over crowded, historic and cutting edge British Isles.