It might have ben the union demonstration (above) which was the last thing I saw in Spain and I must have been a bit tetchy. My last act was to explain to the captain of the airport guards that his country needed tourists and the attitude of one of his men could bring international bad press.
The lad had merely responded to my Inquiry as to whether anyone spoke English by asking in a surly way: why didn’t I speak Spanish? In retrospect a good question.
Then Heathrow City…..oh yeah, you know you are in a great city when you see the huge number of international aircraft coming and going to all corners. Despite my Irish biases and genetic resentment of the Poms, I do have two English ggranddads, one a captain in the British navy, one who still eludes me. The women were Irish though.
And those Irish Mercy nuns who had me from 4 to 16 they taught mostly English history. Perhaps it was the demands of the curriculum? Anyway there is a strong sense of the familiar and perhaps relief after grasping for the Spanish. The hypochondriac in me especially sees the advantages.
Like my Irish ancestors before me, it did not take long for me to trick the Poms. The queue to let us foreigners into their realm was horrendous, so I just ducked under the rope; went into the first class passport queue and was let into the imperial realm as quick as lizard drinking. (Well, I deserve the best and after all, I did fly to Spain first class).
And so to hire a car. I must have still been scratchy. When I charmingly tell Europcar they have a terrible reputation in Australia, the lads bend over backward and give me a new little Mercedes. I beetle down the M4 and resisted the urge to take the signpost which lead to “Windsor Castle and Legoland“. An unfortunate juxtaposition.
Finally I arrived up at the home of the son-in-law’s parents. It is strangely comforting being with extended family after so long on the road.