We are collected for our final journey across Christchurch to the airport. Bag drop next and it turns out that we could hardly have packed better. We have exactly 53kg of belongings and although one bag was 23.2kg, we made up for it with the others being 15kg and 14.8kg respectively. Common sense prevailed and we were not asked to redistribute anything.
The flights home are largely uneventful, although three flights, each longer than the last, is less favourable than the opposite, which we experienced on the outgoing journey. Unfortunately, the thirteen hour flight from Singapore is full and we were unable to secure aisle seats, so the occasions when we can leave our seats are governed by the habits of the young lady (with the bladder capacity of an elephant) on the aisle. Aeroplane food is never exactly haute cuisine but that supplied by Qantas is better than most. I do wonder when the recent wave of anti-plastic feeling is going to impact on airline catering, which involves a ridiculous amount of single use plastic. Our belongings are swabbed for explosives. Fortunately, this is restricted to our hand luggage. We speculate what will happen if they test our cabin luggage, which contains the clothes Chris wears to fire the musket. Fortunately, they don’t seem to have done this.
It seems really odd to be away from our New Zealand conference routine and the friends we made there. I keep wondering where Maurice is and wondering why I can no longer hear an Irish accent in the background. Many of us will be reconvening for the Unlock the Past Alaskan Cruise in September and we are certainly looking forward to that even more now. I give up trying to work out what time my body thinks it is and intersperse dozing with Suduko solving.
We now have six and a half hours to wait for our coach. Time is spent waiting while the luggage carousel is fixed, it having jammed when only two-thirds of our belongings had been retrieved. We were expecting to be too hot in our New Zealand appropriate winter clothes but the coach station is chillily air conditioned and not the most comfortable place to wait for such a long time.
I manage to pass the time on the coach by falling asleep. One minute we were in Heathrow, next I knew we were at Tiverton. Despite having a wonderful time, it was good to be home, even though I have come straight back to full-on job we must not mention. The tropical weather while we’ve been away has had a drastic effect on the garden and the grass is now two foot high. It will have to wait until other catching up is done.