On Saturday, July 26, Mr F and I left a cloudy Malapensa Airport in Milan to return to a steaming hot Gatwick Airport.
Yes, rainy Italy – sunny England: the words clash in my travel-weary brain.
During our holiday beside the beautiful Lake Orta, Italians joked about how we must be feeling at home with their grey days. If only they could have seen our gleeful return to the UK, staggering from the plane shedding jackets and folding away umbrellas.
FJ and SIL* paused from charging around Europe in their camper van to stay in a nearby hotel for a few days. We shared much food, even more wine, and a terrific thunderstorm which was so bad a local man paddled through the flooded streets to herd us into his home to shelter.
In many ways it was a good break, particularly for Mr F who has been studying Italian (with Hillingdon Adult Education – hurrah!) for several years.
He chatted happily to waiters, taxi drivers and others, while I mumbled the odd ‘grazie’ and smiled a lot – when not scratching numerous insect bites which threatened to turn me into a mad woman.
On our return, we decided to get a National Express (NE) coach to Heathrow, but discovered it was £25 for each single ticket. It had only cost £56 from Uxbridge to Gatwick by cab!
So, just to prove a point, we travelled to Victoria (£8 – still NE, but what a difference), caught the Oxford Tube to Hillingdon (it’s a bus), and then a local cab home. Total cost? £26 instead of £50.
It took three hours though, so cutting-off-nose-to-spite-face may come to mind...
SOMETHING else I must share. On our easyJet’s descent I was glued to the window, thinking about airport expansion.
It seems obvious that - if not on the mooted Boris Island – this should be at Gatwick. Ringed by acres of land, it is a more obvious candidate than Heathrow which is hemmed in by houses.
Boris, Johnson, we now know, could become a candidate here in next year’s general election, so this would be a thorny issue for him.
Everyone, whatever their politics, will miss John Randall, who has been a great constituency MP, but I bet he will be letting out a great ‘sospiro di sollievo’** to soon have more time for his family and many interests.
*Fisher Junior and Son in Law
**sigh of relief
Email me! bm@email@example.com and catch up at www.getwestlondon.co.uk/authors/barbara-fisher/