Just making my usual weblog round…
Some odds and ends:
Sorry I’m late: Happy Birthday Brent!
I really do hope that your flight is better than ours was, David!
Someone once said: What goes around comes around. Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody’s watching. Sing like nobody’s listening. Live like it’s Heaven on Earth.
Gunk Dunc. Look at those photos!
Back from England!
Yay, I’m back and in one piece, and my luggage didn’t get lost! I’m really surprised about this because our flight(s) from Frankfurt to Plymouth was horrible! (The way back today was fine, thank you.)
Last Tuesday, André and I arrived at Frankfurt Airport at 3 p.m., about two hours before our flight was scheduled to take off. We went straight to check-in and learned that our flight to London-Gatwick was cancelled because the computer system of British Airways had been down for a while. So they had to do all the check-in by hand, ticking passengers off from lists and writing the boarding cards and luggage tags by hand. Yay.
Fortunately, BA had already put us on a later flight to Bristol and from there to Plymouth. And we would be less than half an hour late. So we had some time to kill at Frankfurt Airport, but that was not too bad. We phoned the parents of Pauline, André’s friend, who were supposed to pick us up at Plymouth Airport, that we would be a little late.
Finally our flight was called. It was half an hour late because it was snowing heavily in Bristol. We checked in and made sure that someone in Bristol knew we wanted to catch a flight to Plymouth so they’d be waiting for us.
But after ten or twenty minutes, they moved us out of the waiting area at the gate because they wanted to start boarding for another flight. Twenty or thirty people, most of whom wanted to fly to Bristol, now sat outside the gate and waited for boarding. When nothing happened, someone went to ask the ground staff what was going on, and he came back and said the flight was cancelled altogether. But we never heard this on the loudspeakers or from a staff member.
After a little while, all passengers to Bristol were asked to proceed to the gate next to the one at which we were waiting, but there was a flight going to London-Heathrow and the staff at the gate knew nothing about passengers to Bristol – let alone Plymouth. The computer was not working (remember?), so someone started making phone calls. It turned out that the flight to Bristol had been cancelled ages ago – after all, the plane had never left Bristol, and they should have told us that hours earlier. All passengers for Bristol were now booked for Heathrow, departure at Frankfurt airport 8:30 p.m. At this point, we already were more than three hours late. We asked about our luggage, which we had last seen at 3 p.m., going on its way to Plymouth. Someone made a phonecall and had our luggage rerouted to London-Heathrow because nobody knew whether there would be a plane from Heathrow to Plymouth, or maybe ground transportation, or a hotel room and a flight the next day. Because the computers were not working. Next phone call to Plymouth: We will definitely go to London, but we don’t know if or when we will be in Plymouth.
At 9 p.m., we left Frankfurt Airport on board of a plane that headed to Heathrow and surprisingly arrived there one and a half hours later without any problems whatsoever. Because of the time difference, it was 9:30 p.m. in London, and after we retrieved our luggage (which surprisingly had been in the plane with us!), the dozen or so people who originally intended to go to Bristol managed to get someone from British Airways to help. The poor lady knew nothing about us – we began to wonder if not only the computers, but also the telephone was not working here – and after an hour she had most of the people on their way to Bristol. That left four people, one of whom took a taxi to a hotel in London.
The other three, including André and me, wanted to go to Plymouth, and the lady from British Airways got us a taxi. We phoned Pauline’s parents again and told them that we would be delivered right to the doorstep of Pauline’s flat. And a little before 11 p.m., we were on our way to Plymouth. It rained, and around Bristol it still snowed, and I was tired. No way would I have liked to drive a car in such weather, especially not at that time of day. The poor bloke who drove us would spend almost all night on motorways!
We arrived in Plymouth at about 2:30 a.m. and found the neighbourhood of André’s friend with the help of that other man who shared our taxi, then phoned the friend’s parents one last time to tell us where exactly to find the street. We were in bed before 3 a.m., ready to get up four hours later to make it to the harbour in time for the HMS Cumberland, which was scheduled to arrive at 9 a.m.
The ship, which belongs to the Royal Navy, arrived almost in time and was greeted with due celebration. There was a band and dozens of relatives who had not seen their husbands, fathers, daughters or sisters for six months! We had a quick look around on board, then we all headed back to Pauline’s flat for a hearty brunch.
Photos of the arrival of the ship and the rest of our time in and around Plymouth are soon to come. My camera (and all the photos) are still in Plymouth with André, who will return on April 6th.