An empty flight is a joy to mankind. The vacant seats and the lack of visible activity make the ten-hour flight from London to Houston, Texas an entirely stress-free experience. Best of all, we nip through the dreaded arrivals hall and immigration in a matter of minutes instead of the usual hour’s zigzag queuing. The only hiccup is when an immigration official takes it upon himself to deface Andy’s passport by putting the Houston entry stamp across two of the last free pages. We are all incensed.
I have not wasted the ten hours aboard and have broadened my mind by learning another two words of Chinese (very slow progress here), reading half the new Henning Mankell book and watching two rather feeble films: Lions for Lambs (hopelessly didactic, long political dialogue which doesn’t move the plot forward, and Robert Redford maybe should think again about his anti cosmetic surgery stance), and Michael Clayton (George Clooney brings about downfall of evil fertilizer company, but does anyone care?) Still, I learnt that Americans say “tourniquet” as if it rhymes with etiquette, which will come in handy one day, I’m sure.