Friday, May 27, 2005

The Beagle has landed


Dawn at Dubai: a nest of cranes

Short but succinct starting entry.

Left Sydney at 9pm on Wed 25th on Emirates, bound for Manchester via Dubai. A very smooth trip, filled with 5 episodes of Frasier, 3 movies and much squirming for leg room. The Dubai - Manchester leg was in daylight so I was able to take in much of Dubai, the Gulf and Iraq before cloudcover interrupted the view over Turkey. Picked up a fairly clear view around Romania/Hungary and the magnificent Danube River, followed by the counterpane of agricultural blocks over Czech Republic and Austria. The air seemed much dirtier over Germany and Netherlands before hitting clear skies again at the English Channel, and immediate comprehensive cloud cover over all of Blighty.

Landed in Manchester at 1pm - scurried through immigration to beat the landing Liverpool supporters back from a victory in Turkey, and after a too brief reunion with Stuart in the Manchester terminal, flew back to Heathrow to await Bondi's arrival. It wasn't until I emerged on Clapham High Street around 5.30pm - after 3 planes and 3 trains - that I actually felt I'd arrived in the UK!

My host, Jonnie, has been very gracious and after a quick trip to Sainsbury's put together enough lasagne for 12, but after eating enough lasagne for 0.5 I faded into jetlagged oblivion.

Collected rental car from Heathrow @ 1pm today, and then drove around looking for the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre which is really well hidden off an unlabelled roundabout somewhere in the vicinity of the Heathrow cargo complex. I had a bit of wait as some of Bondi's paperwork had not been submitted at the Australian end of the journey but the lad was in high spirits when he got out to see me. We immediately headed back to Clapham along the M25-M4- A4 - Earl's Court - Battersea Bridge route ... and here I am.

Now we're headed off to Clapham Common and dinner!

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