Wednesday, 4 February 2009

What happened on Monday

Sunday was quite literally manic. 

Although I had packed on Saturday, I still had ten million things to do on Sunday: updating my iPod, recovering my iTunes after accidentally deleting all my music, tidying my room, sending long overdue emails and other bits and pieces.

The one thing that kept me going through it all was the million, billion tiny butterflies inside my tummy that knew I would be on my way to Delhi in 24 hours.

In light of the snow, we decided that leaving at 6 would be sufficient; we had already checked in online, so all we had to do was clear security by 11.15am. The 65 mile journey normally took 90 minutes.

At 4.30am I had a knock at my door, "We need to leave as soon as possible, the M11 is closed and the snow is a nightmare!"

By 5.30am we were in the car and on our way.

I have never seen snow so thick at my house. My street looked absolutely beautiful under a blanket of snow. But the "We're never going to make it" atmosphere in the car meant we couldn't quite savour the moment.

This journey was not going to take 90 minutes.

I won't go into the details of the journey, but here are some of the highlights:
  • The story of the snow covered track
    At the first sign of blue flashing lights, Dad decided it would be best to follow a road that in normal conditions can be described best as a track. So when hidden under six inches of snow this track was lots of fun. But with TomTom to guide us we'd make it through. 

We didn't. 

When we realised that we couldn't go any further without the aid of a snow plow  
        we decided to reverse and turn around. 

Only, the car wouldn't reverse. It was stuck. Mum, Emma and I jumped out of the car and started pushing. Emma (who sensibly opted at the last minute to wear her walking boots instead of flip flops) fell flat on her face in true slapstick style. 

After a couple of minutes the car was unstuck and we went back down the little track.
  • The discovery of Dad's survival bag. 
My dad, if you've never met him, is a legend. And, although he was never a scout, he 
does like to be prepared! When we finally reached the M25 (after taking detours to bypass the accidents) he asked me to reach into the green sports/survival bag in the boot to grab him a pair of socks.

So being the dutiful daughter I am, I obliged, but I was puzzled as to how he would change his socks while driving round the M25 in the most treacherous conditions.

Inside the survival bag I discovered, several bananas, some overalls, socks and the thing that made me laugh the most... a tin of herrings in honey mustard sauce. Genius. 

After three hours on the road we finally made it to Terminal Five. In the snow we said our goodbyes to my Mum and Dad and with the biggest smiles on our faces set off to the departures hall. We would have plenty of time to kill in the airport but we didn't care, we were on our way.

But when we looked at the departures screen, we discovered the worst thing in the world... Our flight has been cancelled. Not delayed... cancelled.

So we got in a queue to rebook our flight. A queue which was about 4 hours long. A queue which consisted of all the passengers, from all the cancelled flights that morning (at least twenty four flights but very well more)

Full of the optimism of youth, we decided that this was no biggie. We'd be able to get on a flight tomorrow and that we'd spend the night in the airport. Easy.

We reckoned that because we were at the airport so early there wouldn't be many people in front of us that were on our flight, thus meaning that we wouldn't have any problem getting on another flight.
 
As we queued I decided that ringing STA might be a good call, given that they were our travel agent. After at least 30 minutes on hold I was told that the next flight to Delhi that we could get on would be Saturday 7th February.

I was gutted. And as Emma was taking a nap I had no one to share this with. Absolutely gutted.

Out of desperation I asked the lovely STA lady if we could change our flight from to Delhi to somewhere else in India... Mumbai, Calcutta get us anywhere! Kathmandu would be fine even.

Forty minutes later my phone rings, and the nice lady at STA tells me that British Airways would only let us rebook on a flight to Delhi. And there I was thinking I was doing British Airways a favour!

The next question was how much would it cost to fly somewhere else? Somewhere else not even in India or Nepal.

Twenty minutes later came this response: If you want to change the destination of the first leg of your Round the World ticket, you would have to cancel your entire ticket and rebook again (and pay again). 

So Saturday it was.

We made our way out of the queue and made phone calls informing parents, boyfriends and friends. 

We were in a state of total shock. The excitement and optimism that kept us going was completely gone. We had five days to wait before we could set off on our trip.

We sat on the floor of the airport in a daze. What we do for the next five days? We were fully prepared and packed, there was nothing left to do. 

There was no rush to get back home, we knew the roads would be bad and coaches would be delayed, we figured the trains would also be running slow.

Getting home was a 'mare. The coach we were waiting for to Stansted Airport (right by my house) was decommissioned, so we were left with the tube/train option to my house. Except the train line was down. 

We ended up travelling from one end of the tube line to the other, Heathrow to Epping. 

It was all a bit rubbish, but we were in good spirits still.

Back home we finished the long day off with a bottle of Asti, cwtched up under blankets on the sofa and a soap marathon that lasted from 6pm till 9pm. 

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