Terminal Two, Heathrow: Only a couple of months old and a welcome change from the old one. I made my way up to departures on a very tall escalator underneath Richard’s Wilson’s huge aluminium sculpture: ‘Slipstream’. ‘Rooted in its location….it is a metaphor for travel’ he says of this work. I left it at the top of the stairs, wondering how much it had cost, and made my way into a temple to rampant luxury consumerism.
Glossy shops were surrounded by floor to ceiling videos of glamorous models living in a rarefied world of limousines with blacked out windows, descending regal staircases, and haughtily running away from gorgeous looking men.
Dublin bound for a party, the ridiculousness rubbed off on me and I headed into the Ladies’ to airbrush my face.
Ten minutes after our airplane had cut through the clouds the cabin lights were still dimmed. I struggled to read the in-flight magazine. Unable to resist, I turned to the man next to me: “Ever feel like you’re being kept in the dark?” I asked and then laughed uproariously at my own joke. He chuckled. “Yeah, it’s a bit like the night flight to New York. Here, let me turn on the light for you” he replied.
Drinks were offered and I procured a coffee something akin to rocket fuel. I opened the sachet of milk and in doing so squirted the contents all over my helpful neighbour. “I’m so sorry!” I cried, offering him my serviette. “You’re alright” he said, “Oh, but thanks all the same.”
I opened the ‘Feel Better Freshener’ and unfolded it right out to get the full benefit.
The Captain’s voice came over the tannoy. “Fasten your seat belts please, Ladies and Gentlemen, we’re starting our descent.” “You’re kidding!” I said to no one in particular. “We’ve only just taken off!” A steward heard me: “He’s our fastest pilot. He’s rushing home – it is Saturday night after all!”
One day later and I was pleasingly back on a bike, cycling alongside a lush and green Grand Canal in Dublin with my friend H, keen to find a cafe.
We tethered our respective rides outside Bibi’s in Portobello and took 20 minutes out of a busy day to catch up for the first time in ages.
I was glad we didn’t have to move for a while. Although only a short break with an old friend, it felt like I’d reached a destination at last.