Friday, 6 September 2019

Far-fetched goings-on!

Today I listened to the rain beating down when I awoke and decided that I did not feel like running in the rain this morning. My weather app promised some improvement later. This proved to be the case. So we went for a brisk walk instead - maybe not quite so energetic as a run but at least I had company on the walk.

In between times I spent some time being a unicorn. This is what happens when a three-year-old descends on you. I had to turn down her invitation to accompany her and her mother when they went to meet Daddy for a late lunch in Manchester. This led to some pouting, on part of the three-year-old, I hasten to add.

Having taken advantage of the gap in the dire weather, we came back and put ourselves masochistically through the process of booking flights with Ryanair. I am aware that it seems as though we have only been back in the UK five minutes, especially in Phil’s case, but experience tells us we should book early. Our return flights at the end of August / beginning of September cost us far more than anticipated because we were doing some last minute booking. We plan to be in Portugal for a chess event at the end of October, so booking now was a necessary evil if we wanted to travel at a reasonable price..

And evil is the word to describe it. I swear that the airline changes its policy from day to day. We had grown used to the fact that in order to guarantee a place in the overhead locker for a small carry-on 10k suitcase it was necessary to go for priority boarding. That would get you the small suitcase in the locker and a smaller piece if hand-luggage to go under the seat. Now it seems to have grown even more complicated however. The size of the under-the-seat has grown slightly. So out came the tape measure to check the size of various bags.

Presumably this accommodates people like me who might decide to travel really light. Then “priority boarding” has changed its name to something I have already forgotten and entitles you to a hold bag (20k), a small cabin-bag suitcase (10k) and the now slightly-increased-size under-the-seat bag. Of course each extra, such as actually reserving your specific seat adds a little something to the price.

So we juggled our requirements and finally booked flight there and back on our second attempt and after a good hour or maybe more of messing around on the airline’s website.

I was exhausted just watching Phil do the booking!

So there we are. All we need to do now is organise my travel to London for a visit to the southern branch of the family. And, of course, there is the small matter of buying bus tickets from Porto to Vigo to coincide with our flights, assuming they arrive on time.

Oh, the stress! How do people manage this and work full time as well?

So now it seems we will be out of the country for Brexit day, if that event happens as scheduled or if it happens at all. The whole shambolic affair is a little out of control as far as I can tell. And will we get back into the UK without problems?

In the meantime here is a link to the Guardian’s “Long Read” feature  describing the evil doings of the CIA back in the 1950, involving mind control experiments and LSD. And we think the government is up to dirty tricks nowadays!!!

Reading the article I was reminded of those programmes you come across on obscure TV channels in which someone tries to determine the exact spot where Moses parted the waters of the Red Sea.Finding the truth of this CIA matter seemed just as unlikely.

And then it included references to something that went on in 1951 in Pont-Saint-Esprit in the South of France in 1951. Known on France as the case of “Le pain maudit”, the cursed bread, it seemed to have involved the whole village having been given LSD. Mass hysteria and some deaths resulted from this. Now I spent time as a foreign language assistant not too far from Pont-Saint-Esprit at the end of the 1960s. I could have researched the story and written my dissertation about it had I known. 

Too late now. It’s all in the past!

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