John Edward Cooper’s Notes

HomeContentsAlphabetical listingWhom I’d like to meet in eternity…

Friday 25 September 2015

[Thursday 24 September 2015]

11:05–13:40 Malta–Manchester 14:55–17:50 Manchester Airport–Cleethorpes

4* Preluna Hotel & Spa - 124 Tower Road, Sliema SLM 1605, Malta.
Contact number: 00356 21334001
11:05–13:40 Malta–Manchester
14:55–17:50 Manchester Airport–Cleethorpes
Day 9: Malta to the UK
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK.

Revised itinerary

…I reopened the window a crack, and the wind wasn’t as noisy. When I woke up … ca.5am, Janet did so too; so I mentioned my thoughts to her about going down to the lobby earlier than our planned 9am. She adjusted the alarm clock accordingly, but found she couldn’t get off to sleep again. She got up ca.6.45am. …She did the last of the packing. We went down for breakfast. I had grapefruit juice (all the juices at breakfast were from a dispensing machine, and were reconstituted from concentrated, and either thin or over-sweet), bacon, sausages and baked beans, crusty bread dipped in oil and balsamic, and black coffee made as strong as possible by removing the cup when the flow started to run clear. I remember many years ago when we called cheap instant coffee “slimo” /ˈslaɪmo/; this was “Sliema slimo”! We went back up to the room, to do last things and collect our luggage.

Friday 25 September 2015 — 08:33:48
Views from the hotel room window

Friday 25 September 2015 — 08:33:56
Views from the hotel room window

Friday 25 September 2015 — 08:34:10
Views from the hotel room window

Down to the lobby ca.8.40am to check out, and as soon as I’d done that and was heading for the settee, a man asked if we were Mr. and Mrs. Cooper. I think it was the same driver as on the outward journey. He’d only just arrived…, so we hadn’t kept him, or the one or two others already in the minibus, waiting. It was sunny and already very warm outside. The minibus was more roomy than the ones on the daily outings, but only seated about 12 so wouldn’t have sufficed for our party of 17.

Friday 25 September 2015 — 08:43:14
Leaving Sliema in the minibus

He dropped us off outside the airport terminal building. There was no “assistance at check in… given”, but we didn’t need it anyway. The EasyJet desks didn’t have a “speedy boarding” line as they had done at Manchester, but we weren’t queuing up for long. No problems at security and passport control. We seated ourselves in the Costa café airside, and I had a large latte then an espresso doppio.

Friday 25 September 2015 — 09:40:42
In the Costa café, airside at Malta International Airport

When boarding started some of the passengers were turned away by staff from the “Speedy Boarding” queue, which we joined. The shuttle bus conveyed the relatively few “Speedy Boarding” passengers to the aeroplane; none of the regular passengers boarded it.

Friday 25 September 2015 — 10:35:50
Boarding EasyJet flight number EZY1998

According to FlightAware, the plane departed at 11:00 CEST and landed at 13:22 BST. I think these times are from parking to parking and include taxiing time. I availed myself of EasyJet’s “Meal Deal”, and I had a “Deli Delight” (miscellaneous snack items: seeded flatbreads; cheese; a pack of sultanas, dried cranberries and white-chocolate coated biscuit); olives; etc.), a little “cylinder” of paprika-flavoured Pringles, and an Orangina soft drink. I read Josephus’ The Jewish War and finally got to the end of “Chapter 1: Herod’s Predecessors” (as the translator G. A. Williamson divided it, disregarding the “traditional” division into books and chapters, etc.). At Manchester Airport there was a short walk down the ladder and across the tarmac. The sun felt quite warm when one was out of the cool breeze. There were crowds and crowds trying to funnel in to the passport checking area. A number of flights had landed more or less at once. There was a near-accident on the escalator up to that area — we’d used the stairs — because it was trying to feed its people into an area already packed. The crowd then divided into three parts: left, non-EU; centre, UK and EU passport-holders; and right, electronic passport-holders. Our passports are electronically “chipped”, so we went into the queue to the right; but it didn’t seem to move at all, so when there was a gap in the steadily moving centre queue, we switched to that. It was what I call a “snake”: the people were directed by barriers right and back left and right again. There may have been 20 such turns before we were fanned out to see one of the officials in a row of booths, but if so the line was moving at least 20 times faster than the “electronic” one. One case appeared quickly on the baggage-claim carousel, and I waited till it came around to me; but while the second was still at the other side, the conveyor stopped, so I had to go round to get the case. Thence straight through customs, then via the tubular pier to the railway station. I had a weak Americano at the station buffet, before it was time to board our train. There was no space in the luggage rack in our allotted coach, “Coach A”, so the cases had to stay on the floor in front of the rack. At least we had seats reserved. The coach filled up and there were people standing from Manchester Piccadilly, and even more from Stockport. There was barely any sign of autumn in the Pennine hills; most trees were still green, though one or two here and there were starting to turn yellow. The coach almost emptied at Sheffield, and most who boarded there found seats. However, that was not the case in Coaches B and C: for after Janet went to the loo, found the one in Coach B blocked and stinking, and went through to use the one beyond First Class in Coach A, she reported that people were packed in the aisles and sitting on the floor. We got off at Grimsby Town Station (17:37, according to the timetable) because of the ease of getting a taxi from there. The driver was from Afghanistan.…


Comments: Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]