Friday, April 25, 2008

We're home!

We managed to get to Tokyo with no incidents whatsoever. No real trouble with the ticket machines. Managed to get all the tickets we needed. Navigated the stations and the trains. Couldn't see Mount Fuji, for it was swathed in mist. But I waved, for I knew where it was. We got to the airport and immediately onto a shuttle to the Holiday Inn hotel, where we were staying the night, prior to leaving at 11 the following morning for London.

It was all good!

I'm not sure we'll stay in the Holiday Inn again, though. It was clean and comfortable. But at around £100 a night I would expect more than clean and comfortable. Like, for example, wireless internet access. Or at least internet access that wasn't 2 PCs at ¥100 for ten minutes. I might also have expected some information about how things worked. Nobody said anything and there was no information pack in the room. So we didn't realise, for example, that there was a buffet dinner if you fancied it, and ordered from the menu. The buffet looked much more exciting. And came with ice cream! But the hotel in Narita town which we found by accident when we arrived last Friday was much more atmospheric, half the price, had wireless access and had much more interesting food. Assuming we come through Tokyo next time, and assuming I can remember the hotel's name - we might stay there if staying overnight is required.

We got to the airport in good time. Joined the queue (for some reason we couldn't check in online. Again!). Waited. Waited some more. Waited again. Eventually the check in counters opened. e were towards the front of the queue. Got to the desk. The lady asked if we would like a window or an aisle seat. A window seat please. She clicked awa at her keyboard. Then said: If you wouldn't mind having an aisle seat, I could upgrade you to Economy Premier. OK. If you want to. Makes no odds to us where we sit, not really. I've no idea what Economy Premier is, mind.

Economy Premier is more or less what Business Class used to be, before Business Class became more or less an office space. It was very comfortable indeed. Wide seats, plenty of leg room, our own cabin steward shared between 40 of us. And slightly better food, I think - although BA food is generally better than QANTAS'. (Except QANTAS give you an ice cream half way through the fight!) Also, more games to play. Including an anagram game that kept me occupied for *ages*!

I wonder how much it costs to buy Economy Premier (or, if flying BA, World Traveller Plus) tickets?

Transiting through Terminal 5 was a bit chaotic. I understand the need for vigilance, really I do. But I can see no reason why we need to go through a rigorous security check at T5 when we had already gone through such a check at Tokyo. And when we cae from a domestic flight to connect with an international one, no such checks were made. We just walked through - though they did do a passport check before we got into the terminal. Surely, once you're airside, your opportunities to buy naughty things are almost zero? The queues were enormous. And several people had very tiny windows to catch their connecting flights. Happily, we had three hours or so. Less, b the time we'd gone through all the security!

And so on to Manchester, collect The Vixen and make our way home. Marlo was VERY pleased to see us.

Yesterday - it rained!!!!!!! I had forgotten about taking rain into account when planning a day's activities. It hasn't rained anywhere I've been for three weeks, apart from the occasional light shower.

As predicted, the Mac wouldn't talk to my wireless box. Ian tried. I tried. Freyja tried. Nothing worked. I kept getting a "connection failed" or "invalid password" error message. Today (after the universal adapter arrived in the post so I could connect the Mac to mains power) I girded my loins and rang Orange. At vast expense. 5 minutes and £2.50 later, I pressed the 1 button on my wireless box - and the password was miraculously accepted. This is quite irritating. When Julia was here, I consulted the Orange Help Pages for Mac to see why I couldn't get her connected. Nowhere, at no point, not at all does it mention that things proceed in a much more orderly manner - if you PRESS THE 1 BUTTON!

Mind you, Freyja had pointed out that Tabitha's livebox requires that you press the 1 button whenever you add anyone. I can't say I remember ever having to do this with Windows laptops.

So we're back online in The Sidings. And we had bacon sadnwiches for breakfast yesterday. Freyja had laid in bread and bacon for us. And milk so there was tea as well

The Builder's father is poorly sick in the hospital again. I think he has pneumonia. It's all very worrying - although they've put him on a course of antibiotics and seem to be optimistic about his recovery chances. But pneumonia is not a good thing to have when you are 85 and in frail health
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