John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Sunday 31 March 2013


Bright sunshine, but still very chilly. We usually have the central heating on twice a day, when we get up so that the house is warm, and then later towards tea-time; but today Janet decided to leave it on for the whole morning.
 Intended to update the diary, but assembling my own stuff for packing took up much of the time, with delays when, annoyingly, things kept disappearing, e.g. my notebook, my passport. The taxi — a minibus, actually — arrived a little earlier than the arranged 11.30am. When the came off the motorway beyond Scunthorpe, the road to the airport seemed to wind endlessly through farm country, giving the impression that it was in the middle of nowhere. People were queuing at the Thomson desk when we arrived. Our hand luggage proved to have excess weight, so we had to move aside and hurriedly transfer things to the hold luggage. When I took out the
little feller”, the Maxtor USB-powered HDD fell on the floor. After that our hold luggage had excess weight, so we had to go to a different desk and pay a £48 charge. We went back to the first desk — at least, both times, we could go back to the desk; we didn’t have to rejoin the queue — and the clerk (a different one, though at the same desk) finally gave us our passports back, with our boarding cards. Going through the security scan was uneventful, I’m pleased to say, because I didn’t want the pain of taking my shoes off and hobbling through.

13:23:32 Lunch at the very poor Wetherspoon’s, Robin Hood Airport — expensive cold hamburger with unmelted cheese a speciality!

The Wetherspoon’s on the air-side was very poor; but — as before, when I was dissatisfied at the Grimsby Wetherspoon’s with the almost-burnt steak that was supposed to be medium-cooked — when the waitress came back and asked if everything was all right I answered, “Yes”. First of all, the prices there were higher than our local Wetherspoon’s; then second, they didn’t have any flatbreads, which was what I wanted; and third, the “American burger” (beef patty topped with bacon and cheese in a lightly toasted bun) was cold, so that the slice of processed cheese on the top remained solid and unmelted. Janet went off for a walk, and left me eating it, because she felt so cold sitting there. Boarding was supposed to take place at 14:25, so we went round the corner to “Gate 3”, where there were rows of seats.

14:25:20 Fuelling the Boeing 737 that we were to fly on

14:25:52 Shivering in the cold departure-lounge

14:32:42 Unlikely-looking coiffure

After not too long we were admitted onto the plane. We had paid extra for seats by the emergency-exit doors, with more leg-room than most of the other seats on the plane, and sat either side of the aisle, Janet to the left and I to the right. Takeoff, scheduled for 15:05, was 10 or more minutes late. Janet got talking to the couple to her left, Jane and David. Jane, in particular, a supply teacher, was very talkative, and this took Janet’s mind off her usual anxieties on takeoff.

15:44:46 Waiting for the loo not long after takeoff

15:46:58 Perhaps over Cardiff

I hadn’t got my computer, so had no access to any music. (I wouldn’t have had, anyway; see below.) I read the latest BBC Music magazine, the content of which, truth to tell, is largely aimed at people with more musical knowledge than I possess; and what I did understand, I often could not appreciate, for descriptions of music cannot give to the imagination any real impression of the music itself, as the hearing and experience of it can. During the last part of the journey, the woman of the couple next to me engaged me in conversation. She was deputy head at Wintringham school. She showed me photos on a handheld device of Emerald Lake in Canada, of grizzly bears, etc. (At the start of the journey, she made it known in reply to something we said that they’d been assigned their seats unasked-for (i.e. unpaid for); she pointed out her short legs as evidence that she didn’t need extra room.) We landed ca.10 minutes later than the scheduled 19:30. A man in a “POLICIA” box was giving passports a very cursory glance indeed; and then we were on our way to “Baggage Claim”.

19:55:44 Waiting for luggage at Arrecife airport — ad for “Doktor Magers Praxis” and another to visit Omar Sharif’s house

In a hall on the way to the exit, a Thomson rep told us the way to “Bay 68”. I couldn’t tell whether she said “Bay 68” or “A68”; it proved to be the former. It was quite a long way from there; we crossed several of the entrances to the lower-numbered bays. I guess it wouldn’t have been that long if my feet hadn’t been sore. She also pointed out that there was a lift up to the level of the coach-station, which we used; the alternative was two long ramps with a hairpin bend between them. We got there; our luggage was heaved into the hold; and we boarded.

20:37:54 On the coach, waiting to be taken to Playa Blanca

Our hotel was the “H10 Timanfaya Palace”. I wondered what the “H10” was  some sort of postal or region code? — but it became obvious, at our first stop to let some of our number off and offload their luggage, at the “H10 Rubicón Palace” (9.10pm), that “H10” was the name of a hotel chain, an international one at that. Next stop was “Natura Palace” (9.20pm), not an “H10”; and finally, the hotel of the remaining passengers, “H10 Timanfaya Palace” (9.25pm). We were offered sparkling white wine and canapés as we waited in line for the reception staff to check us in. I availed myself of them; Janet didn’t, obviously. The receptionist who saw us was in a bit of a hurry to get us processed and still leave time for us to go for dinner (the buffet restaurant was normally open, 18:00*–21:30, and it was now past the latter time). She gave us our door key-cards in a little envelope, which was to be our “passport” to prove we were guests of that hotel.
*The information sheet that we were given said “18:00”, but in practice the restaurant opened each evening at 18:30.

Our room, 310, was on the floor below, the third floor; it was strange that street level on one side of the hotel was on the 4th floor, whereas there were three storeys of accommodations below that on the other. The hotel must be built on a considerable slope. There was a bottle of red wine waiting in our room, opened and re-corked, which I took with me to the restaurant on the 2nd floor. Janet sampled several of the foods on offer, including some seafood paella (but leaving out the seafood!), followed by fresh fruit; I just stayed with what looked familiar: chips [i.e. French fries], green beans, and some veal in red-wine sauce, followed by some agreeably ripe blue cheese and various breads, which went well with a glass of the red wine. Unfortunately, when I set up the “little feller”, the Maxtor USB-powered HDD was completely dead — not a glimmer. What’s more, I thought I had some music files on the “little feller” itself, but evidently I’ve deleted them. With what’s stored on the Iomega StorCenter back home, I have permanently lost very little — perhaps a few notes on 30 March — but it would have been good to add this present diary entry to “2013.doc”, rather than having to create a completely new document.

23:12:54 Night view from our hotel-room balcony

Copied today’s photos to the “little feller”, but the Fuji FinePix software that I used didn’t give the image-files names that included the date and time of the photos. I couldn’t work out how to do it; I was expecting a tab to a dialog box that would enable that, but the tab was missing. There were two beds pushed together in the room. Janet complained that we were so far apart, and I suggested she come across into mine. It proved to be wider than our double bed back home.

Monday 1 April 2013]

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