Tuesday, 23 February 2010
WEDNESDAY 12TH JANUARY, 1977
"Up at 4.0! Packed and had toast and coffee. John drove me in the bus; had tea at airport - checked in. Unclaimed black bag near us! We told 4 people, including Security, but not bothered! John and Bob are taking the bus off today - making for Europe in 4 weeks - will be freezing trip eg Turkey minus 40 degrees at night! Offered me a lift back and pay at other end if got stuck - nearly had to take it!
Security checks etc - finally on plane. Next to nice ex-British Council man (like Hoppy [Canon Hopkins of Durham Cathedral] though not quite as vague!) accompanying nice little lad back to school. Told him of my adventure - he took half of journey working out the length of the journey!
Stopped at Barhain - swarthy blokes with cloths wrapped round heads and in jumpsuits came on board - no not a high-jack - they were the cleaners! From plane saw Gulf and flat beaches, low buildings - all very oily and drab. Landed at Damascus - armed guard, took ages for people to board. Flat wasteland all around; but when took off saw great snow-capped mountains - flew over Lebanon and then Turkey.
Landed at Heathrow an hour late - journey taken about 13 and a half hours! At Heathrow after customs etc, got bus to Terminus 1 and picked up money plus ticket for Newcastle. Missed original flight. Suddenly the loudspeaker boomed my name and ordered me to Information; feeling important but afraid I went - it was Mum and Dad wondering why I wasn't on plane! I must be the most well-known lost traveller in the whole air flight business!
Had much needed half pint. Plane late (so what' new!) Onto plane finally - ordered Martini and fell asleep, woke to hear we're about to land! No time for drink. Hostress asked me if I was feeling alright.
Dad and Don [eldest brother] to greet me - in their Russian coats! Snow thick on ground. As drove home - told of great Delhi saga! Mum and Barbara [sister-in-law] waiting. Don and Barbara opened champagne for me. Debbie [school friend] rang! Flowers from Jock [Durham friend] and card from "the whole damn bunch"! Torq [brother] phoned; just missed them. Phoned Rory and Uncle Donald.
Wine with slap-up meal. Gave presents - much concern over beedies - obviously hash at least. Don said when you get to the string you bail out! (Dad smoked the wrong end!) After 26 hours finally fell into bed! Adventure over !!!"