Oman: Day One...
I'd been putting off packing. After all, each item packed would put me one step nearer to the dreaded take-off. So Paul, God bless him, had to help me pack last night. Admittedly I was a bit droggy (I'd fallen asleep watching QI nursing a glass of Fleurie) so if he hadn't helped me I'd probably have grabbed the first things I'd laid my hands on. And pop-socks aren't the best thing to wear with a suit.
In any event the morning came and despite London Underground's best attempts to thwart me, I arrived at Heathrow on time. Being a nervous flyer I checked the television screens in Departures every thirty seconds for updates. Every. Thirty. Seconds. I. Checked. For. Updates. And suddenly my worst fears where confirmed. They actually changed the Gate. I immediately turned round to tell my travelling companion the news... before realising I didn't actually have one to tell. Silly me. So I spoke to myself very quietly, "They've changed the Gate. It's Gate 12 not Gate 2. It'll be fine." God, I'm sad.
So anyways I board the plane. And one of the air stewardesses clocks me (must have been the eyes darting left and right and jerky head moments). "Your first time?", she says sweetly. "Sadly, no." I reply frowning. She thinks for a moment and says, "Hmmm. Can I get you something? A brandy, perhaps?" I beam and measure out with my thumb and forefinger, "Just a tiny triple!" Off she scuttled. Bless her.
Four hours later we're half way through the flight; I've downed the best part of the bottle of wine, two more large brandies and a gin, watched Batman Begins (excellent) and most of Mrs Henderson Presents (better than I thought it would be) and she says to me, "you feeling more relaxed now?" "Oh yessh. Mush besser, fanks"
Luckily there were no blood tests when we finally arrived at Oman airport.