John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Monday 18 January 2016


14:26–17:29 Cleethorpes–Manchester Airport
Premier Inn, Manchester Airport Runger Lane South

…When the taxi arrived at 2pm it was the Iranian guy who picked us up and took us to the station [cf. Wednesday 16 September 2015]. We waited in the booking-office waiting room till the announcement for our train came over the loudspeaker, when we went out to the platform. The driver or guard passed us just after we reached the door nearest to our booked seats, so minutes later the door chimed to say it could be opened. A couple boarding just before us had two cases somewhat smaller than ours, and put them in the ground level part of the luggage space; but when the man perhaps saw that ours were larger, he offered us the lowest level and put his on the rack above. Looked with Janet at some of the holiday documents that I’d printed, specifically this information: “Before you check in your bags in the UK you’ll need to visit the Thomson Cruises stand. We’ll security seal your bag and attach your cabin number here in the UK to speed up the process at the other end. So there’s no need to collect your bags from the carousel when you land in Montego Bay, just make your way straight through to the Arrivals Hall.” The train was stopped by a red signal ca.3.30pm–ca.3.50pm because of a train that had broken down at Hatfield and Stainforth station, just ahead of us. As a result, our departure from Doncaster station, scheduled for 15:42, didn’t occur till 16:03, i.e. was 21 minutes late. There was another unscheduled halt on the approach to Sheffield station ca.16:29–ca.16:30, and the train was 26 minutes late setting out from there (scheduled, 16:11; actual, 16:37). There’d been a lot of room on the train up till then, but it pretty well filled up at Sheffield. When the at-seat trolley catering service came by, I bought a 500ml can of Strongbow cider, 5% a.b.v. Ca.17:10–17:13 and 17:20–17:21 there were further unscheduled stops. The train was 32 minutes late out of Stockport (scheduled, 16:53; actual, 17:25); and the conductor announced that because of the delay the train would be “express” from Manchester Piccadilly and not stop at East Didsbury, Gatley and Heald Green. At 17:33 there was another brief halt at Ardwick. The train departed from Manchester Piccadilly at 17:39, and arrived at Manchester Airport at 17:53, so even without the intermediate stops it was still 24 minutes late. My watch-bracelet broke as I was struggling to put on my rucksack. We got a taxi from the rank outside the station, and checked into the Premier Inn, Runger Lane South ca.6.15pm. The earliest we could book a table in the restaurant was 7.15pm. We needed help with the heater shortly after we entered our room; after initially delivering warm air it started blowing cold. We went to the bar, ca.6.45pm. I ordered a pint of San Miguel and for Janet a Diet Pepsi. When Janet went to ask them to inform us when the table would become free, they let us in straight away. I had my usual-for-Premier Inn large and filling “New Yorker” pizza and Janet her usual lasagne. I had another San Miguel before we paid up and returned to the room. Back in the room, Janet felt cold, and went to report the fact to reception. We ended up having an additional plug-in heater. (The room already had one.) With the mention of “Exit tax of approx 22 US Dollars per person payable locally on departure”, I checked what currencies are in the countries we’ll be visiting, to see whether any advantage would be served in getting US dollars before we travel (20:28–20:41). Also, because of the warning on one e-mail, “Been to Israel? It's worth bearing in mind that if you have an Israeli stamp in your passport, you may not be allowed to enter some countries”, I tried to check whether that would have any relevance where we’re going, but couldn’t find any information to that effect (20:42–20:47). Janet… went to bed, while I continued [on the computer till] ca.22:40,… and got ready for bed.

[Tuesday 19 January 2016]

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