Tuesday : From Wembley to Jersey

Before leaving the Ibis at Wembley I thought that I’d better write a technical note about the fault with the kettle, in case the cleaners wondered why I had acquired an extra kettle (beyond the one kettle that it has been decided is sufficient for each room) from somewhere. I’m a great loss to electrical engineering. Actually, I think referring to a broken kettle as electrical engineering might be akin to when I decided my friend Liam could obviously put together a little table as he is a civil engineer, but there we go.

Waving goodbye to my room. Although I should note that I didn’t actually physically wave as that seemed a bit decadent at 09:00 in the morning. For anyone who is excited to know this, my room was the one at the top right with two windows, on the fourteenth floor. I’m sure many people will sleep better tonight for knowing that.

The cheapest way (other than by walking for three hours, and then the question of wearing out shoes comes into play) to get to Heathrow from Wembley is by using the Piccadilly line as the other routes go into central London and back out, the cost of which is higher. That meant a 20 minute walk to Alperton underground station, a journey into Acton Town and then a change onto the Piccadilly Line to Heathrow T5. I of course waited until just after 09:30 to get the cheaper rate, I’m not made of the money.

Over the big railway bridge near Wembley, looking back towards the stadium.

The Shri Vallabh Nidhi Mandir Hindu temple on Ealing Road, near to the Alperton underground station. This is an enormous building that was constructed between 1996 and 2010, with the limestone shipped in from India. It cost £16 million and has 210 carved pillars inside, it’s certainly something special in the urban landscape.

I can’t recall ever visiting Alperton underground station before, but it’s an impressive building which was constructed in the 1930s and was designed by the infamous Charles Holden.

Here comes the underground train into Alperton and the sun is shining, it was one of those days that everything seemed to be working. Anyway, this train broke down at Acton Town, which wasn’t a problem as I was getting off there anyway. Sometimes the broken trains Gods are just on side.

There was an announcement at Acton Town not to rush for trains as there was a regular service to all destinations every few minutes. Eighteen minutes later a train to Heathrow turned up, which seemed a particularly long wait (relatively, in Norfolk a bus every two hours is marvellous, but in London things usually turn up after a few minutes), but there was no rush, for reasons I’ll mention in a moment.

This annoys me, although I’ll stress I don’t go around all day finding things to get annoyed about (but I’ll note I do have a friend like that). When T5 was constructed none of that metalwork to the right was there, people could choose whether they wanted to go on the escalators or use the lifts. People chose the escalators and that annoyed the airport, so they’ve built this chicane type arrangement to herd people away from using the escalators, which I accept is very effective. But I like escalators, so I went this way.

And “A Warm Welcome to Our Home” which is messaging that they’ve had there since the terminal opened and I’m always secretly delighted to be back here. I say secretly, I mean, I’m openly excited on social media, but I don’t want to rush up to random people and proclaim “I’m so pleased to be here”, it just isn’t British.

I may have mentioned that I wasn’t in a rush, but that’s because I managed to arrive seven hours before my flight. Now, views will differ on this, with the camp unevenly split between those who think that’s excessive and the few, who are correct, that don’t. I argue I can get lots of work done here, watching the planes, having access to power as well as free food and drink. Others will claim I could have got lunch in central London and had a walk about the city centre. Since I’ve spent many days doing that, I opted for the seat in the lounge eating and drinking. I’d add I had a chat with the staff member at the entrance to the lounge on this very topic and he thought it was a perfectly acceptable thing to do.

I had to mention that I spent seven hours in the lounge, otherwise it would look like I had managed to eat and drink a lot very quickly, an allegation that I accept is often very true. This is the garlic and black pepper chicken, with a side of black rice, quinoa and edamame salad. Oh, alongside the Brewdog beer and a cup of fruit tea. I’m not sure why BA are a bit obsessed with garlic at the moment, it perhaps isn’t ideal before a flight, but the food was all really rather lovely. It’s routinely described to as slop on Flyertalk, but I’m happy with it, anything with tender chicken and a decent tasting sauce works for me. Drinks in the lounge are self-service, but the food is ordered via an app and was brought out promptly, they’ve got this sorted to be much quicker than it once was.

Time for afternoon biscuits and decaff coffee. Actually, I couldn’t get the machine to work, so I just got caffeinated coffee as I didn’t want to break anything.

A quick inspection of the spirits and they’ve got the flavoured Ciroc vodkas. To be helpful to the airline, I tried a couple of them and they were at their usual best, which I hope British Airways find useful information.

I thought I should have some sandwiches and crisps alongside another Brewdog Jet Stream beer. BA have removed the crisps from the lounges, they can only be ordered like this now.

A view of the BA Galleries North lounge, not the one that I usually visit, but it’s good to get out to new places and not just rely on the BA Galleries South lounge. Admittedly it’s nearly exactly the same.

And before departure, my evening meal, the Cambodian vegetable curry, which was also really quite lovely.

It’s hard to get away from the very sad news about Ukraine at the moment and the Ukrainian President was making a statement to the House of Commons when I was seated here.

With that short stay in the lounge over, I went down to Gate A5 to board my flight to Jersey.

The area got busier, I’m just one of those people who rushes to the gate immediately in case the aircraft departs 45 minutes early. That hasn’t happened yet, but I’ll be feeling smug when it does. Boarding was by group number and was all efficiently and politely done.

A nearly full flight, I liked the ambient lighting that British Airways put into their aircraft a few years ago. Ryanair don’t do this, although there’s lots of things that they don’t do. I deliberately sat at the back as it’s near the washrooms (not that I used them, but I hate battling to get to them) and I didn’t want an emergency exit row seat for 40 minutes as I needed access to my bag.

The flight was only 40 minutes in length, but they gave a small snack and bottle of water out in that time. I think that’s sufficient for such a short flight, particularly as I had worked my through their lounge menu during the day.

And safely into Jersey airport, on time and the weather on the island was moderate. The aircraft was G-EUOE, which I’ve flown on before in September 2019 when I flew to Berlin. Yes, I really do keep a record, although it’s not a carefully constructed spreadsheet like my friend Nathan would do (with pivot tables and formulas) it’s just me searching my own blog. The flight cost £30 (each way, £60 return) which, given that I had spent most of the day in the lounge, I thought was very reasonable.

Not the best of photos, but this is the front of Jersey airport.

And then the £2 bus journey into central St. Helier on a not particularly busy bus and I was the only person who was using public transport, everyone else seemed to be using taxis. That was understandable given that there’s only one bus every thirty minutes during the late evening and it had departed just as passengers were leaving the terminal.

And the bus, which was one of the dirtiest I’ve seen inside, at the main bus terminal in St. Helier.

I then had the excitement of walking for 15 minutes to the hotel, where I had been sent a code to get in the main door and then pick up my keys from the reception desk. This is where things went slightly wrong as the hotel has acquired for themselves a new touch screen lock for the benefit of customers. This is a marvellous innovation but, to cut a long story short, it doesn’t work with my hands. It has decided that however softly or firmly I touch the little screen that it will simply ignore me.

Someone, who I assume was the owner, came out as she probably wondered why someone was amusing themselves by playing with the lock for several minutes. To be fair, she was lovely and very hospitable, explaining how the touchscreen worked and showing me how it worked with her hands. She made me practice several times until she was confident that I could get in, although all bar one of those attempts was a failure so I had no such confidence. Much as the owner remained friendly and conversational, I got the impression that she was annoyed at my faulty hands.

With that, I got to my room and reflected on my rather busy day before quickly playing Wordle as it was midnight. It’s not all rock and roll this travel thing…..