For the rant of all rants – see rant section below.
Finally up, up and away in Virgin Upper Class. Great news they have a lovely Primitivio wine, very pleasant meal starts off with Duck and marmalade (a tasty combination), Chicken Kiew and then an excellent port to go with the cheese and biscuits. Then to top the meal off I tootle off to the onboard bar for one of my favorite Baron Otard brandies whilst they make up my bed.
Oh and forgot to mention my exploding tooth. Yet again one of my fillings explodes. Seems a regular feature of flying, or within a few weeks of landing. I assume an air pocket in the filling at sea level pressure explodes due to the reduced pressure at 10,000 feet. And then to top it all Wendy gets the trots. Too much brandy, rich food and tablets no doubt.What a nightmare of a journey, flight delayed an hour leaving Manchester so we arrived 30+ minutes late at JFK; then sit for 20 minutes waiting to cross two runways because they’ve had an emergency on a runway; queues at passport control over 70 minutes, was horrendous; we missed our connection to Salt lake; had to rebook flight for next day flying out at 11am. Amazing no extra charge and they get us in first class.
Then we had to find a hotel for the night. Sat on the floor, no seats anywhere, in a quiet part of JFK, and then along comes about 30 religious penguins and start chanting and genuflecting. Took another hour of nightmare Skype calls, everywhere was full or very expensive. Seems like the same problem Mary and Joseph had in Bethlehem. Eventually got to a hotel …. and got some sleep.
Still every cloud has a silver lining, as we’re picking car up 7.5 hours later I update our pickup time on the Avis website. Can you believe its cheaper. £450 cheaper on car hire and get a full sized car rather than a Kia Soul that no self respecting American would be seen dead in. Go figure!
Nigeria: Muslims murder 50 Christians, abduct 100 more, burn down church, houses, stores
How come the media is not all over this story. The world yawns. This kind of story doesn’t fit the establishment media narrative, in which Muslims are always and in every case victims, so it will get no traction.
What is it with Virgin Atlantic. Once you’re on board the big iron bird and they close the door you’re in a different world of comfort, luxury, peace, quiet and awesome service. But anything to do with their staff or their processes outside big iron bird is a nightmare of incompetence and screw ups.
It all starts with their web sites. Completely lacking in common sense, poor interfaces and obviously never tested. I never knew that a web site could suffer with Alzheimer’s. But Virgin’s can. It constantly forgets your booking reference details and asks for them repeatedly.
They send us email to ask us to use their “Fly Ready” service to record the documents galore you need for Covid USA. Yet when you try they tell you “can’t complete now”. What they don’t tell you is that you can only start the process 24 hours before flight time, not even on the “day before” as per USA requirements. Common sense would suggest a message at the outset informing you you’re too early but oh no they want to help you improve your keyboard skills no doubt.
They send us repeated invites to check in online and yet whenever we try they tell us can’t check in now please try later.
We’re flying Upper Class, separate check in lane and everything supposedly first class. As a reward for being stupid enough to pay the extra for what should be tip top service they keep us waiting for 35 minutes whilst they try to print out our boarding pass.
Finally, after being fast tracked through security we can relax in the 1903 lounge. Still took 20 minutes but nothing compared to the +180 minute queue for cattle class, at last. For the poor soles in cattle class they were queuing all along the check in hall .Absolute chaos! All thanks to Manchester airport’s incompetent management and the efforts of a 7th century religious fruit cake barbarian rag head living in a cave.
Once onboard the incompetence of Manchester airport still pervades our journey. 25 minutes late loading luggage and then 30 minutes fixing a warped luggage cage. So much for the 50 minute faster flight time.
Up early for breakfast. Supposedly opens from 06:00, but what that means is the sloth opens the doors and then starts setting up. Continental breakfast but obviously they never had a breakfast in Europe. Pretty sparse, why not even a waffle machine, have they no American pride and self respect?
Off to the airport. TSA pretty slick and then the luxury of the Delta lounge. First class flight, but first class in America is really not worth it, just wider seats with more legroom, pretty crappy food and you’re trusted with real cutlery that you could stab someone with.Land early. The new airport at Salt Lake is amazing. Off to Avis to pick the car up and we’ve got a free upgrade to a Ford Edge SUV. Not only that it’s brand new. Just love this car it has an iPad sized screen and Apple CarPlay to keep me amused, and of course it’s big.
Anyway we are here now and after an absence of two years and a day I’m one happy chappy back in Paradise.Check our garage storage cupboard and all our stuff is still the, wine, bourbon, brandy, 9mm ammunition and a prized bottle of High West Midwinter Nights Dram although not quite as full as I imagined. Must be the mice or evaporation. Quick trip to a supermarket (aka Grocery Store) then it’s a long awaited trip to Chubasco’s for a Carnitas Burritos. Soon get set up and have a quiet night in watching season 4 of Yellowstone, thanks to a 1 month subscription to Peacock, followed by an early night.
So what have we learnt from this fiasco?
1 Try and avoid Manchester airport.
2 Allow a minimum of 3 hours between flights.
3 Avoid JFK. Airport is hell; longest lines, hotels are expensive, mediocre and fully booked.
4 Have a “Survival Kit” in Hand luggage. USB A lead; USB C lead; watch charger; hearing aid charger; 2 USB A chargers; underpants; toothbrush.
5 Don’t wast money on Upper Class, it’s going down hill, stick with Premium economy.
6 If you have an Avis booking try going into modify pickup timetable to see if prices drops.
7 If you need a hotel then just rely on Booking.com. Keep it simple.
8 If you must go through Manchester then book fast track through security.
So good to be back after 2 years to the day’s absence. I’ve been chomping at the bit to get back to paradise.
I see Macron is strutting on world stage in hope he can be seen as a contender for Nobel peace prize and win the election. Why would anyone be daft enough to try and negotiate with a dictator.
French commerce typically is not pulling out of Russia, typical chauvinistic self interest.
In the evening we’re off to Steve and Barbaras for cocktails and Jeree and Diane have also come round to greet us. A lovely evening just catching up and putting the World to rights.
The social life has begun.
Up early again as our body clock is still rebellious.
Off to Walmart, “where all the crazy people shop”, to get some essentials for our rental. Oh joy another supermarket.
Our friend Bob and Marilyn (B&M) arrive around 14:00, can you believe they set off at 01:00 in the morning for their 12 hour drive from San Diego. So good to see them after 2 years. Great that they’re staying with us for a week.
Go round to Ruth’s to pick up one of my bikes that she has very kindly been storing for us. Gentle ride home.
Dinner is pizza and plenty of wine with B&M.
I go for my first bike ride. Down to the old barn and then up to Park City Mountain Resort for a well deserved Dirty Chai – sadly Eva is no longer there to look after us but the dirty chai is still as good. 7,000 feet of altitude certainly takes its toll on us sea level land lubbers.
Evening dinner is Lasagne with Bobs special sauce, one of the best ever.
A new American phrase to add to my language skills:
1. To sit or meander about (whether in life as a whole or at a specific time) with no apparent purpose, direction, or desire for either.
2. The act of choking on a lollipop.
3. A term used to describe a singer’s voice who either has no vocal talent or who appears to have no idea what they are even singing about.
1. All those bums ever do is lolly-gag around the park all day.
2. He was lolly-gagging like a cat on a hair-ball so I gave ‘im the ol’ heimlick.
3. Turn that lolly-gaggin’ crap off before my ears start up-chuckin’.
Don’t you just love sanctimonious Germany. They continue to buy gas and oil from Russia, $30billion of it since the start of the war in the Ukraine. But they’ve given a $1billion in aid to soothe their guilty conscience.
Europe, which gets about a third of its natural gas needs from Russia, has been wary of the economic impact a total ban on Russian energy – which Ukraine says is needed to force a peace deal .
Oh and now Europe are going to add more sanctions by setting a date when they stop buying coal from Russia – bully for them. They said they’d ratchet up sanctions more in the future. For gods sake what more does Putin have to do to warrant total sanctions. Everything possible should be done right now, no if, ands or buts. If Europe is stupid enough to rely on an enemy for their stragic power needs then they deserve all they get.
Back to the gun club. Awesome.
Why is Biden wanting to re-open the Iran deal. They’re a bunch of liars. They’ve even told us they want to kill us why don’t we believe them.
And to top it all the Islamic revolutionary guard is no longer declared a terroirs organisation.
In the afternoon we’re all off down to Heber City for a trip to the sportmens warehouse for more 9mm ammunition; Wendy and Marilyn go to Walmart yet again; then pick up some fresh bagels; drive round for a viewing of B&M’s nearly finished condo; then liquor store for some more E&J XO brandy, it’s amazing and on special at $13.99 a bottle.
A few well deserved German beers. Salmon for tea followed by some High West Campfire, very tasty.
A new American phrase to add to my language skills:
bros before hoes
men always back other men.
brose before hoes:
A woman didn’t come home one night. The next morning she told her husband that she had slept over at a friend’s house. The man called his wife’s 10 best friends. None of them knew anything about it.
A man didn’t come home 1 night. The next morning he told his wife that he had slept over at a friends house. The wife called her husband’s 10 best friends. 8 of them confirmed that he had slept over and 2 said he was still there.
In the liqour store we’re served by a guy with more make up, piercing and tattoos than a circus clown. Claims he’s left wing, not a democrat, they’re too middle of the road. Wants to live in Europe, prefers Germany, Sweden or Ukraine after the war, rather than this shithole. First time ever we’ve encountered an American who hates this country. Told him to go to on holiday to Europe, he’ll soon want to come back. We’re shocked.