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USA 2018 (1). The flight out. Here beginneth a series of many blogs on my latest odyssey: to cousin Geoff and family in Bedford, New Hampshire, on the US’s eastern seaboard; Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, (3/4 of the way across the country); and to niece Karina, in Los Angeles County. I was away for a fortnight in total.  As usual, the posts will contain many photos and little text – with perhaps the exception of this first one.

Monday 12th. Having got up at 2.15 am, I arrived at 4.00 am at the super-duper new Silver Line car parking terminal, just a 4-minute shuttle bus from Bristol Airport.  A 25 minute delay before take-off because of weather problems at Schifhol Airport, Amsterdam, was nothing compared to subsequent problems there. ‘SSSS’ on my ticket meant I had been selected for intensive security screening at the Durch airport before boarding my KLM flight to Boston, Massachusetts.  A trainee on her first day ‘did’ me, under supervision, for about 20 minutes, (though subsequent internet research indicated that the investigation could have been much more thorough!)  Boarding was at a normal time, and the pilot announced it would be a long flight because of strong head winds. 20180212_112554001
It started hailing. Whether connected or not, the announced take off time steadily retreated, to one hour late.
The plane started taxi-ing, then stopped after a while. The pilot announced that we must be de-iced. I was amused to observe a ballet of many de-icers, four per plane.



Who are you staring at then?

At last we were on a stand – and our own ballet dancers retreated before they’d even begun. The pilot explained that this was because they must shut down, and go under cover, because of lightning in the atmosphere.
We had no idea how long we’d have to wait. I consoled myself with the thought that Roger Federer was only a little way away, in Rotterdam, where he was due to play his opening match in the eponymous ATP tournament later in the day. (He went on to win the final the following Sunday, and return to the world number one spot, breaking a number of records in the process.)

The de-icers came out again, the sun accompanying them. This time I observed the dance at close quarters, involving two types of spray, the second of which left a greenish hue.

As we moved off, two hours after the scheduled departure time, the captain said it didn’t often happen that he had a complete set of circumstances for the very first time. And not to worry if we saw a pilot wandering around the cabin as there were two of them on board.

Nicole, Geoff’s wife, had been tracking the timing of the plane, so had not been hanging around for hours, but because of the delay we hit the rush hour, and had to go direct to their son’s school to pick him up. A lovely crock-cooked supper took just a couple of minutes to serve, and then it was off to bed, 23 hours after getting up.

Many more photos, much less talk for the next post.