Saturday, 15 June 2019

Delayed Post

It’s been a week since the blog was updated.  What happened?  The initial few days can be explained by the weather.  It was so bad we basically did nothing!  Then we needed to prepare for our return to Australia.  You may recall we arrived in the UK with one bag weighing 18kg.  There were two other bags inside that bag and we managed to fill all three bags once the serious shopping had been completed.  Whilst I suspect the clothing in the UK comes out of the same Asian factory that supplies Australia Jan is convinced the quality is better.

On our second to last day I did a trial pack realising we were likely to run out of room in the bags.  That necessitated the purchase of a 4th bag during our final shopping day.  Particular care needed to be taken with the packing of the pottery as the luggage bags were all made from vinyl (my old army kitbags).

Our youngest son kindly drove us to Manchester airport on Wednesday morning.  He just dropped us off rather than parking and staying to see us leave.  That was at our request.  We were rather surprised to subsequently hear the drop off cost him £3.  Manchester Airport would be the first we’ve departed from where there was a charge for a drop off!

An interesting situation then developed with the weight of the luggage.  We had an allocation of 30kg each, however the check in assistant failed to realise there were four bags allocating the first two to me.  They had a combined weight of 25kg.  When I reminded him there were two other bags he weighed those at 36kg allocating the weight to Jan.  Then he told us we were 6kg over our allowance.  I pointed out we had a combined allowance of 60kg but as he had entered two sets of bags as different transactions he couldn’t combine the weights.  A discussion ensued before he called over his supervisor.  The supervisor had the required computer access level to combine both Jan and my luggage weights.  that meant we were at 61kg…… 1kg over our allowance.  I was prepared to remove 1kg from the hold luggage and add it to our cabin bags as they were both almost empty but the supervisor accepted we were under our baggage limit.

Jan was concerned we would have our two blue foam rubber squares taken off us whilst I was prepared to argue to retain them.  In the end no questions were asked although we had numerous curious glances from fellow travellers.

The foam rubber squares proved to be a lifesaver.  Halfway through the flight we could have sold them to other travellers for 10 times what they cost us.  I had checked the width of the Qatar airways economy seats and then cut the foam one inch narrower.  That probably wasn’t necessary as there was room to spare.  Whilst we started the journey sitting higher than surrounding passengers the foam slowly compressed over time.  It was interesting watching others wandering around the aircraft cabin attempting to excise the pain from their posteriors Smile  We’ll remember this trick for any future long haul flights.  Yes… I took the foam with us at the end of the flights.

We arrived home in the dark (it’s winter here) at 7:45pm to find a dusty house with lawns full of weeds (observed in the moonlight).  Of course we were jet lagged and whilst I only had 45 minutes of sleep during the previous 36 hours we both still woke at 3am after only four hours of sleep. 

Jan now has plenty of housework to keep her busy whilst I recommence home renovations. 

So what did we make of our return to the UK?  In England you are almost always close to a canal.  We actually tried to avoid them.  Not because we didn’t want to see canals, but rather because we had already visited that area.  We were reminded just how fortunate we were to have those years on board Waiouru.   However your memory does tend to focus on the good times and it takes more thought to remember less interesting period.  For my part I remember those miserable days where we stayed inside Waiouru basically either reading a book or researching ‘life after canals’ on my laptop.  I don’t think I could permanently live aboard for the remainder of my life!  Summer in Australia followed by summer afloat in the UK does appear, however the flights; and more importantly; the remote maintenance of a vacant house in Australia is a major obstacle.  I think we have both accepted it was a wonderful period in our life together, but it isn’t going to be repeated.  Besides, there are many other experiences to be had!  

2 comments :

Don said...

I see in the news tonight Qatar Airlines has been awarded the World's best airline award. Did you fly Qatar?

Tom and Jan said...

Indeed we did Don.

We can't fault the service or price and there was plenty of leg room. The seats were wide but we found them very hard after the first couple of hours. Perhaps we are getting heavier and our rear ends softer?