Sunrise over Heathrow

sunrise over heathrow jim muttram.jpgThegood thing about a business day trip from Londonto mainland Europe is that you can travelultra-light. Just a presentation on a memory stick and some business cards andyou are done.

Itis an early start, but the backroads to Heathrow are bright with cherryblossom, forsythia and magnolia. Mist is coming off the agricultural fields aroundSunbury. Closer to the airport it must be colder – the trees are still bare. Daffodilsare out in force outside the Cathay Pacific Cargo hangar. At this time in themorning, the journey is just 25 minutes door to door, perfect. I strideunencumbered through airport security.

Atthe airport, the first signs of disruption. The flight is delayed by 35minutes. Most flights on the board are showing delays.

Iask the BA attendant in the lounge why. “It’s the fog,” she tells me,indicating the glorious sunny morning outside. “It’s delayed a lot of theincoming flights.”

I’mnow wishing I’d taken the Eurostar train, but that would have meant leaving thehouse 75 minutes earlier. That is a big time difference at this hour in themorning: the difference between getting up before 5.00 or at 6.00.

Thereare no pesky emails on my blackberry this early on a Monday morning, only atext from Linda to say that she too is on her way from Paris.

Iam fascinated watching what other people are eating for breakfast. Some ofthese bodies must be on very different time zones. Most of us are on breakfastfoods, but one young man is shovelling down two huge bowls of salad. Anotherlarge man is working his way through the wine selection: first a glass ofwhite, then a very careful appraisal of all the bottles open in the silver icebuckets before choosing a red from the cabinet.

Isee with sinking heart that my BA flight is a code-share with a QF and an ITflight, so it will be rammed full. Linda texts back that she will start themeeting without me.

Thesmell of my neighbour’s coleslaw on an empty stomach is quite revolting,although on reflection nowhere near as bad as the worst morning smell of all, afreshly opened tin of cat food.

Lindasends a follow-up text to remind me to stay off the pastry counter as we are likelyto be treated to a very good lunch. Then suddenly the flight is showing asBoard Now, and we all head for the doors.

(photo: Jim Muttram)

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