I love airport lounges, lucky for me, our bank gives us access to a nice one in Prague. Normally at Heathrow it is a Pret A Manger soup and bag of kale crisps. The Prague lounge has free booze, nibbles and rolls with a variety of strange looking Eastern European fillings, all of which have mandatory gherkin. There are no announcements, so every word is whispered by those in there. Even phone conversations are hushed. The only screen is the departure board which makes it is quite relaxing. As you read on, which I hope you will, it will become obvious as to why I “had to have” two Budweiser beers in the lounge …..
As I entered the lounge it was impossible to miss the woman of a certain age, who had perfected the art of destroying peace and harmony. With her, I assume, was her long suffering husband. Have you seen the ‘The Best Ever Marigold Hotel’ film with Judi Dench? Well if not, there is a long suffering husband there too. Whilst on a long train journey, the miserable wife mentions that it is their 40th wedding anniversary and she does not know how to celebrate it. A fellow passenger suggests: ‘With a minutes silence’ – the couple I am observing have close similarities. I have not heard her say anything which is not a complaint, from ‘why are you sat here?’ to the state of the food, ‘I’m not hungry and just as well’. She hates the lounge and claims very loudly ‘It is like Ikea in here’! Well it is modern, bright, with unusual geometric seating done nicely. Families love it! She is reading a magazine called ‘Morning Calm’, I must google it later and find out what it is all about, intriguing. Whilst in the warm cosy lounge, she has remained wearing her large dark brown fur hat. A pretty Korean girl has just walked past her cubicle, the look she gave her, made my toes curl, such an unpleasant woman. Her husband has just got his second ‘four fingers’ of Becherovka, (free drinks in the lounge), I don’t know why he doesn’t just bring a bottle to his table. I must make a note to self, not to turn into such a miserable old hag. My children and a few others I know, probably think I am already there!
On the way to the lounge I had an incident with the border control officer. THIS is the reason for the two much needed beers! Probably the rudest man ever, he was sat slouched in his seat, dark, messy hair and I instantly regretted going to his desk. I presented both my passport and boarding pass with the hopeful smile reserved for officials who have your destiny in their hands. I am familiar with the routine. He spat out some Czech at me, I replied with ‘I am very sorry, however I am English and do not speak Czech’. With a swipe of his hand he then proceeded to throw my passport onto the floor. I was rather surprised, feeling angry and upset, and a bit threatened I wondered what was he doing. He then spat our more Czech at me. Well it might have made him feel better but it was at such machine-gun speed, I have no idea what he was talking about. I just heard the word ‘PASS’ ‘PASS’ a lot! He then picked up my passport and I could not resist reminding him it was indeed the property of “Her Majesty’s Government’ and it was there to permit me to travel. What a thug! I mumbled something about people enjoying their work too much as I rushed by into the air-side of the airport. Middle daughter always likes to ask for a passport stamp, even when travelling in Europe. I must remind her not to do so if she comes across Border Thug!
There are many things about flying that irritate me, (moaning old lady syndrome must be catching). It is the small things such as when your neighbour switches on their overhead reading light, with is soooo bright, then proceed to nod off. It is then shinning brightly whilst said passenger is doing a pretty decent impersonation of a nodding dog. Fall asleep by all means, however if that is your intention, in the name of all that is holy, why bother putting your light on. It is preventing me from nodding off. The other, yes there is more than one. It is the toilets. I try not to use them, but today after the two beers in the lounge, nature calls. I really don’t like the seats, why do they have a big gap at the front? They should have men and women loos, as this flight is 90% businessmen, it would be the opposite of the usual, ladies queuing and men just strolling in, having a pee and out again. Anyway on a plane they could be better, I am not seeking luxury, just room to be able to adhere to your task in hand, need I say they are clearly designed by a man. The pilot is now explaining, in a kind voice that we are flying through the friction layers of the Jet Stream, a meteorological lecture is now commencing, he says he wants to reassure the nervous flyers amongst us. I feel he may have just created more nervous flyers in doing so. I mentioned to the flight attendant today that the flight looked ‘jam packed’, his reply was priceless ‘Oh I hope there is a handsome man who wants to sit on my lap for take off!’ I think I know the guy he has in mind! So it is not all bad!