The good thing about a business day trip from London to mainland Europe is that you can travel ultra-light. Just a presentation on a memory stick and some business cards and you are done.
It is an early start, but the backroads to Heathrow are bright with cherry blossom, forsythia and magnolia. Mist is coming off the agricultural fields around Sunbury. Closer to the airport it must be colder - the trees are still bare. Daffodils are out in force outside the Cathay Pacific Cargo hangar. At this time in the morning, the journey is just 25 minutes door to door, perfect. I stride unencumbered through airport security.
At the airport, the first signs of disruption. The flight is delayed by 35 minutes. Most flights on the board are showing delays.
I ask 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 the incoming flights."
I'm now wishing I'd taken the Eurostar train, but that would have meant leaving the house 75 minutes earlier. That is a big time difference at this hour in the morning: the difference between getting up before 5.00 or at 6.00.
There are no pesky emails on my blackberry this early on a Monday morning, only a text from Linda to say that she too is on her way from Paris.
I am fascinated watching what other people are eating for breakfast. Some of these bodies must be on very different time zones. Most of us are on breakfast foods, but one young man is shovelling down two huge bowls of salad. Another large man is working his way through the wine selection: first a glass of white, then a very careful appraisal of all the bottles open in the silver ice buckets before choosing a red from the cabinet.
I see with sinking heart that my BA flight is a code-share with a QF and an IT flight, so it will be rammed full. Linda texts back that she will start the meeting without me.
The smell 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, a freshly opened tin of cat food.
Linda sends a follow-up text to remind me to stay off the pastry counter as we are likely to be treated to a very good lunch. Then suddenly the flight is showing as Board Now, and we all head for the doors.(photo: Jim Muttram)