The Day I met Elvis.
As we approached Heathrow for the 14th time and the pilot had dutifully announced that we were in fact running out of fuel, I pondered for a moment.
Here we were 14'000 feet up in serene silence, 186 of us, just wondering why the first runway at LHR was blocked when unbelievably the co-pilot announced that the second runway was blocked and we could not land.
In characteristically British fashion the co pilot intimated that as we had precious little fuel left, it would be bad manners not to make an effort to land "rather sharpish" at a suitable airstrip or Sainsbury's car park in order “not to make a complete hash of it all” and get on the front page of every newspaper known to mankind.
Quite why the pilot actually made this announcement, fuelled discussion that he may possibly be making hasty plans to parachute out, via the small opening window at the pointed end of the plane.
That we ended up in
Luton gliding in on a wing and a prayer only to block their runway was the kind of irony that you could expect from Dan Brown or Ian Fleming.
However, we were towed to a stand-(still) and the drinks trolley emerged from both ends of the cabin, sharp and blunt!
The time to ponder vanished as the wine and beer flowed, to the point that we had to be careful the dancing in the aisles didn’t get so raucous that the pilot lost all control of the ship and it’s now pissed crew!
We sat and danced and sat and looked out over the vast expanse of the "in transit" portion of Luton airport for an interminable hour until the booze ran out and tempers began to flair as arguments raged over when we would in fact be able to leave and who was going to date the stewardess with the lovely legs and auburn hair…
But, leave we did after a million gallons of refined paraffin-wax were pumped into the wings.
Banking high over
Luton it did not occur to us all, just quite what we were to walk into at the other end.
Resembling 17 football fields worth of people, the arrivals lounge at Terminal 5 was somewhat of a shock. There were denominations of people there that I thought went extinct over 2000 years ago.
This would have been moderately more tolerable had it been that they were not all in the same queue for the only working security X-ray unit, manned by Government-sourced socially deprived immigrants on leave from HM prisons that should have been deported 6 months ago
Quite why people deem it ok to bring the sort of things they apparently did bring with them is beyond me. I mean why would you take a stuffed Llama on a plane as hand luggage? How would that ever go through the X-Ray machine? And another one; is a wallpaper pasting table really relevant? And lastly; A self assembly dugout hardwood Amazonian Canoe...I kid you not.
Losing the will to live, a nervous twitching began to take over. It became abundantly clear that once finally through the x-ray machine this would not be the end of the ordeal stretching out before me and the others.
Once the fighting had subsided between a faction of West African Princesses and Polish immigrants, a small BA lady appeared and shouted so loud even an I-Pod connected student stopped in his tracks.
“Anyone not wanting to stay in the queue should follow her”
I suppose that it was in my favour that I actually understood the Queens English so I raised my hand and 14’000 people looked directly at me.
Unperturbed I stepped forwards.
A night in a posh hotel, free food, beer, and anything else we wanted, providing not too many people turned up.
So and with an aplomb I am not generally noted for, I shouted; "I’ve just seen Elvis Presley, in terminal 5 departures".
Standing by as the rush buffeted me and sucked the stale air out of the security area as the hoards left, I felt pretty pleased with myself. In silence, the BA lady and myself looked at the empty hall, as the last African Princess swept out of view and the security x-ray conveyor squeaked on, empty of Llama's, canoes and boxes of hi-fi's but strangely left with a pair of brown trousers with one leg missing, we shrugged our shoulders and realized that I had better get away from the scene before they came back.
A Witch-Doctors curse I definitely did not need right now.
I turned the corner to get the shuttle bus to the hotel and who should I meet? ©