Letter from America

Passengers are advised to arrive at least two hours prior to departure. Evidently this is so that you can spend two hours in a very, very tedious queue at terminal 4 only to discover that the late arraivals have all been told to go stright to the check-in desk. After two solid hours of queuing I would probably attempt to bite an airline employee if they tried to tell me they’d run out of seats – but I didn’t. I smiled and attempted to exude an air of friendly easy-goingness. Not because I’m a friendly or easy going person, but because “you catch more flies with a spoonfull of sugar than a barrel of vinegar” and I’ve never travelled in business class before. Fuck me, it worked. Myself and another girl, who had also been conned by the two-hour rule, were upgraded. Seven hours of “Club World” luxury, coupled with being two seats away from Kate Winslett, really makes the peasant seats seem very sucky indeed. This must be how capitalism works. You get a taste of honey and become determined never to go back to dry bread. The determination is enough to make you forget all of your morals and ethics in one go. Although I have to say that everyone in business class was quite simply a cunt. But I could do that.

An hour before we landed in Philadelphia it started to snow, heavily. The place looks like fairyland now. Just before typing this message I’d checked my e-mail and read several messages about how South East England has had to stop because of the snow. It’s amazing how unprepared the UK is for weather – odd considering how much of it we get. You’d have thought that we could at least handle rain by now. WRONG! It rains, people get flooded. Two months later there’s a drought. A bit of snow and everyone’s snowed it. Autumn comes and the trains break.

Anyway – I’m staying in Helen and Ralph’s new house. It is gigantic and cost about 2 quid to buy. It’s also a two minute walk from a couple of good bars and “Bob’s diner” where I had my first tast of “Philly Scrapple”; basically mashed pigs bollocks, tails and eyelids, fried. Super yummy.

Oh yes, the parrot plan has fallen through. Several reasons behind this probably not suitable for a blog. However another reason is the spectacularly bizarre bureaucracy insisted upon by the various quangos. For the Record, DEFRA were extremely helpful and got us an import licence within a day. No, the problem was that we needed a second licence from a quango I’d never heard of before. They won’t accept a faxed application. However they helpfully suggested that we get someone in the UK to send it, and forge Michele’s signature (seriously)…then they have to spend a couple of weeks faffing about until they have a completed licence, which they can only mail by post. Even then, they can’t process the form until they have a copy of our….US export licence…..WHAT ? EXPORT LICENCE ? WHAT ?
It’s a fucking pet parrot for fucking fucks sake. Oh yes, each one of these licence applications incurrs a charge. Because they can I suppose. Can anyone set up a quango ?

The day before I left, Ian and I had arranged to go and see The Two Towers in the West End. Because I had a load of stuff to do before flying we arranged to meet at mid-day in a pub on Charing Cross Road. Ian was a tad late due to “feeling sluggish” after the night before (q.v.) – but still, we had plenty of time. So we had a pint in the pub, and then a couple of pints. Then we had a pint or two until Ian suggested we find a cinema. The Odeon Leicester Square had just started showing it, so we looked around for somewhere else – and failed. What choice did we have ? We booked two tickets for 7:20 pm (it’s a 3 hour film) and went off for a few pints…it was a great film….and I got home at midnight 🙂 Just in time to pack, wash clothes, finish some coding for Palms and then get up at 6am to get to the airport by two hours before departure…..

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