John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Saturday 8 June 2013

07:00 Alarm set
14:05 Humberside
18:05 Naples
Villa Serena, Castellammare di Stabia, Naples

Day 159 Sat 8 June Prov 16-18

 Was awake for quite a proportion of the night. Was asleep at 7am, though. Janet was awake and set the alarm on the clock to “off”.…
 Janet was in a bit of a panic because she’d asked for a pint of milk to be delivered this morning so she could put it in the fridge to be used when we got back, but the “milk git” (as we call him to ourselves) still hadn’t come; so she left a note next door asking Amanda to dispose of it.
 The taxi arrived at 9.30am and took us to Pier Road, the departure point for the Humber Flyer, which we boarded at 09:40, according to the time on the bus ticket. The bus arrived at Humberside Airport ca.10.50am. Janet got us a drink and me a fairly substantial baguette sandwich and we sat in the café, but just then the check-in desks opened. No queue! — just one party in front of us. We requested extra leg-room, for which we were sent to a nearby counter to pay £40. Resumed sandwich and drink in the café, before going through security to “airside”. They seem to have stepped up security at Humberside; indeed Janet was taken aside to have her bag searched and probed with handheld sensors.… When the bar opened at 12 noon, Janet went there, braved the very slow service, and got me a large glass of red wine. She had a Diet Coke. Later, she also bought me a bag of crisps. The plane was late arriving. It was frustrating that we were just kept waiting there with no announcement or update of any kind. A small, white, jet-engined passenger aircraft landed, unmarked save with identification number, and I overheard “Isle of Man”. When our plane arrived, the other passengers had to get off, etc., before boarding commenced.

Saturday 8 June 2013 — 14:07:16
Still in the departure lounge, Humberside airport, when our aircraft should be taking off

Saturday 8 June 2013 — 14:08:06
Departure lounge, Humberside airport

Saturday 8 June 2013 — 14:12:20
Our Small Planet Boeing 737 arrives, 7 minutes after its scheduled take-off time.

Saturday 8 June 2013 — 14:16:22
Unloading the baggage from the aircraft

Saturday 8 June 2013 — 14:46:58
Refuelling the aircraft

Saturday 8 June 2013 — 15:01:40
Boarding at last!

 Among the other passengers boarding were our neighbours from across the road (“the man who works at Asda,” Janet wrote, “and his wife”).
 The plane was a Boeing 737, perhaps an earlier model from the one we flew on to Lanzarote. It lacked the other’s winglets, and didn’t have flight-information monitors in the cabins. It had overhead luggage compartments with swing-up covers, preferable, actually, to the swing down compartments of the previous one. And it had two centre escape-doorways, i.e. one on each side, near which we sat, one on each side of the aisle, not four which the previous one had.
 The plane reversed (3.20pm), started taxiing (3.25pm), and reached the end of the runway prior to turning round (3.30pm) and taking off.
 When I turned on the “little feller” and plugged in headphones to do a Bible reading, the next reading up wouldn’t play. I’d made a copy of “Documents” [i.e. my primary information-store at home] on both the [external] HDD and on the “little feller’s” internal HDD to avoid having to fiddle about plugging the former in on the flight, and to save power. I don’t understand what was going wrong: Windows Media Player could see the playlist file but not open the items in it. Yet when I looked in the folder containing the Bible-reading playlists, I couldn’t find this particular one. Others were there, but the most recent ones were missing.
 I was about to get up and use the loo, when the “Fasten seat-belts” light came on and we started to descend (ca.5.45pm, 6.45pm local time).…
 I wished I could have my tripod seat when we waited at the baggage-claim carousel because my feet hurt. Still, they’ve been much worse, even as recently as in Lanzarote. Anyway, we eventually were out, and one of the Newmarket people standing there with clipboards pointed us to the right coach. Got the first sight of Vesuvius en route. It was confusing, because the Newmarket rep on the coach who addressed us spoke about everyone making their way to the “Foreigners’ Club” in Sorrento tomorrow morning for a meeting. After we had been deposited at our hotel, though, our own rep, Jane, told us when we asked her that there’d be no meeting tomorrow and that she would tell us what would be happening at dinner this evening. Evidently, what the first rep said was just for the people who were staying in hotels in Sorrento.
 When we got to Castellammare di Stabia, the coach deposited us in a car park behind a gated fence at the back of a derelict large spa hotel. Time was when Italians could get spa treatment on their national health service, but now that that had been stopped, this particular establishment had gone bust. The Hotel Villa Serena was a short walk away, through another gate in a high mesh fence. Not very encouraging!

Saturday 8 June 2013 — 20:01:54
Vesuvius seen from the coach from Naples airport

Saturday 8 June 2013 — 20:46:04
Sunset and cloud-shrouded Vesuvius from the hotel bedroom balcony

 We checked in, waited for our turn for the one lift to take us up to our room, dumped our stuff, and shortly afterwards went down for dinner. There were about half-a-dozen of us from Humberside. The full party was twenty-two persons, plus Jane the holiday rep or manager. Janet and I were seated at a table at which there was already another couple, John and Kay. They’d arrived from London this morning, though, and had almost finished dinner because they were not late arriving for it as we were. There was a printed sheet on each table, on which one had to tick choices for the following day. Janet wasn’t happy that the meals were to a set menu and not a buffet. I’ve found, though, that when I’ve been faced with many choices, sights and odours, I’ve lost my appetite.
 I guess the place was clean enough; it was just a bit run down. The porcelain trim on the brass handle of one of the wardrobe doors in our room was missing. When Janet looked in the shower cubicle she thought one of the doors was going to fall off, because it was loose at the bottom, not fitted in the runner. Janet wrote: “Unpacked a bit, then decided to have a strip wash instead of a shower as the shower is bloody grotty. I’m not pleased. I just hope the next hotel is better.” “What a dump!” she also wrote elsewhere: “The worst hotel we’ve stayed in on our recent travels. Even worse than Tel Aviv. I don’t like it. And neither does [John].”…
 There kept being loud bangs outside, all over the town, from fireworks — some religious significance. Did Day 154’s Bible reading (to 22:57, local time), this time using the [external] HDD plugged into the “little feller”; evidently, therefore, the “Copy Job” from “Documents”… to that HDD worked…! Copied today’s photos to the [external] HDD and edited them with Photoshop (23:23–23:30). Started a PowerPoint presentation of the photos (23:28). Took another photo from the balcony at midnight; copied it from the camera (00:03), edited it (00:10), and added it to the PowerPoint (00:14), before going to bed. Whatever its artistic value might or might not be, it shows that the environs of the hotel are tatty and slummy.

Sunday 9 June 2013 — 00:00:06
Midnight view east from the balcony

[Sunday 9 June 2013]

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