Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Tuesday, 18 July 2017
Die with boots on, or off?
The bus to Bristol Airport has just gone past. A few years ago I would have been very envious, but now I just think, 'Poor sods'.
A few years ago, there was no dedicated bus to Bristol Airport. You drove, got a (good) friend to drive you or you took a taxi at £40. It took me about 30 years to decide on the best route to Bristol Airport from Bath, but eventually I became convinced that it is via Stanton Drew. You may not save many miles this way, but you get a last glimpse of ancient British culture before you leave the country - the stone circle. 'Stanton Drew' = 'Stone town of the Druids.'
A few years before that, we drove to one of those cheap parking fields which abused your car while you were away, then picked you up in a rusty Transit on the way back.
A few years before that, we were held ransom by Airport Parking Services. A friend of mine refused to pay the extortionate fee for raising the barrier on his return, so he just took a run-up with his entire family in the back and smashed right through it. These days he would be shot by armed police.
I was in my mid-twenties before I ever flew in an aeroplane. It was when I went to Egypt, stopping off one night in Athens. I got to the Acropolis and lay on a large, flat stone and slumbered in the Winter sunshine. Various ancient Greek philosophers walked past me as I lay there, but being asleep I couldn't talk to them. I could see them, but I couldn't speak.
The next evening we were flying over the pyramids of Giza as the sun began to set, and the pilot made a little circuit, tilting the plane one way then the other so that both sides of the plane got a view.
It was my first sight of the thing which I had been wanting to see since childhood, and the sole reason for the trip.
The air was thick with the dust of the Sahara and freshly-lit kebab fires when we got off the plane in the twilight. It was a very heady and slightly scary perfume.
All those fulfilled desires rolled into one trip. I don't think you could have called it a holiday - it was far too hard work for that, but I suppose most city holidays are, even if you are not attacked - twice - by Muslim fundamentalists as I was.
Having said that, they attack people on beaches these days.