So far so good. Up betimes thanks to MasterB who anticipated the alarm by two minutes, making me wonder if he some special sense of when it’s about to go off. Breakfasted, showered, cat litter replaced, coffee grounds and banana skins deposited in the garden compost bin, crockery washed up and put away, and, with MasterB’s inimitable aid, bed stripped and remade with clean linen for Birgit.
I was going to call this the last leg, but that will be Heathrow to Home, and even this penultimate leg divides in separate parts however you look at it.
I was early to bed and earlyish to rise. With only five Singaporean dollars to my name this morning, the hotel blow out buffet was never an option. But I had a very good vegetarian selection at a nearby Indian café last night for a princely almost five dollars, and had the sense to ask if they did breakfasts. The answer being in the affirmative, once washed and my bags rearranged for the nth time, I set off.
It was obviously a breakfast venue popular with locals too.
You may not find Dynamic Dining in any of the eating guides to Singapore, but I recommend it for good food and friendly service. There was a slight hiccough with my coffee which was served already sweetened, but my food was great from the word go. It turns out one of the cooks used to work for P&O as a chef. The before and after pictures of my meal tell their own story.
This chap arrived by motorbike just as I was paying.
Then back to the hotel and a quick trip to the eighth floor for some last views of Singapore.
Marple and Fido are still small cats but they are over six months old now. They are no longer frightened by Westie Boy, and the three of them rub heads and hang out together in the garden. I should have some photos to share soon.
I left London in sunshine, and as we descended towards Belfast the clouds were pierced by blue sky. But as we headed west, the clouds above us grew grey and beneath us cars had their headlights on as they moved along wet roads. In the distance a curtain of heavy rain shielded the view. We landed and the spray flew up from the plane’s wheels. I was impressed by the foresight shown by many of the passengers who produced stout waterproofs from their hand luggage. But by the time I got off the plane, there was just drizzle and the sky was split between clouds and blue.
Late afternoon and the sun is gentle over the airfield. My flight will be called in around twenty minutes, so I have found an out of the way seat near a weeping fig, to pass the time.
Hopefully I’ll be back again in the summer and see how the kittens have grown. The ginger and white is, predictably, my favourite. He bounds over to say hello when you go out of the door, and seems to be bigger and more robust already. His sister is friendly enough, but more absorbed by her toys. He is the footballer of the pair, which is maybe why Westie Boy was watching with such concentration from the window this morning. Westie Boy is no mean player himself. A bit greedy with the ball I’d say. The opportunities I had to participate in our game this morning were rare enough for me to gather kindling between kicks and leave it by the door, ready for a fire I shan’t see. I took some wobbly footage which I’ll look at when I am home. Continue reading
It was a cold day in London, but sunny. By lunchtime, the trees and bushes that had begun the day pretty, their branches topped with a festive layer of snow, were bare again and the pavements were clear. But just twenty minutes out of Liverpool Street on the Stansted Express, fields stretched whitely and the snow had a more settled look. Horses, wearing warm blankets, stood grouped together, and watched the passing train. At the edge of one field, just inside the gate, was a wicker shopping basket, empty and incongruous.
At check-in, I explained my foot troubles, and my boarding status was upgraded to priority. That didn’t speed up the passage through security. Slow minutes in a winding queue. I stood on one leg, and hoped I wouldn’t have to take my boots off.
Back in the day, air travel was considered glamorous, but a lot has changed from those select, elegant few walking across the Tarmac at Croydon airport to the hoards standing in their socks and rethreading their belts at Stansted.
Flights to Belfast are from one of the more distant gates. I made my way down there slowly. My plan was to be in the right area long before the gate was announced. It worked. Soon I was comfortably settled in a near deserted seating area. Gradually it filled up. Flights to Belfast and Glasgow were leaving at the same time. Glasgow passengers were called first. Belfast passengers remained seated. Then some silent signal spread through the passengers and they hurried to form a bunched queue. I sat on.
When the flight was called, I joined the parents with toddlers and pushchairs to board slightly ahead of the hoard.
It was a two second advantage. More able passengers raced behind us and surged passed us. Those who had been first were now in the middle.
By some miracle, I got a window seat at the front of the plane. The sun was setting as we took off, and the countryside below looked enchanting; even the snaking lines of headlights on the dark roads. The snow lay bright and undisturbed in fields outlined by black trees and hedges. I sat back and relaxed.