Our seats were at a bulkhead. The first row in economy, tantalisingly close to business class and no curtain to prevent us seeing our fellow travellers quaffing champagne and stretching their legs. The girl at the check-in probably thought that she was doing us a favour by giving us these seats. Sadly it was not because I was not able to straighten my legs. The result was that for the full duration of this night flight I could not sleep a wink.
I was somewhat jaded when we went to get the gear from the baggage belt in Terminal 3. Yijan looked wiped out even although she had managed a few hours sleep. So when the tripod did not come off we could have cried. It got worse when I pointed out that it was part of my Carnet. There was a bit of head scratching and discussion at Customs about what to do. In the end I had to leave the Carnet with the Agent for American Airlines to get it stamped when the tripod turns up.
I said goodbye to Yiljan and headed off on my next mission. I had said that I would get my colleague Nick a copy of a magazine that is difficult to get in the UK, Entertainment Weekly. Some of the few places are certain WH Smiths stores at Heathrow T5. After I went up to the top floor for departures, checked in the gear and paid the excess baggage, which was a little less than when I arrived, I went back down to the ground floor to begin my quest.
Nick had been very specific about where I would find the magazine and what would be on the cover. So, I had the perfect excuse to peruse the women's lifestyle magazines with the famous and attractive on the cover. I had a quick scan followed by a closer inspection. Aah! So many potential fantasies, so little time. Breaking my reverie I noticed a white shirted employee leaning in to a delivery cage up to his armpits in boxes of shortbread. Maybe it wasn’t the best time for me to say excuse me a few inches away from his ear. He stood up slightly startled bringing out a few boxes of Petticoat Tails which were instantly arranged in an attractive abstract form on the floor. I apologised and helped put them back in to the cage. He turned his bespectacled spiky haired attention to me. I asked about the mag’. He looked in the section that I had already comprehensively searched and confirmed there were none left. He certainly gave me confidence that he knew his stock because when he replied in a slightly high pitched monotone I was instantly convinced that he could recite the ISBN or whatever the magazine equivalent is for every mag printed. He told me that there were another 5 stores in the terminal and my best bet would be airside.
I checked out the one on the departure level before security. No luck. In the departure lounge another helpful member of staff called around the other branches. Still no luck. I had to call Nick and tell him the bad news.
At the end of an eventful flight and a short taxi ride I got home at 11am Jamaica time, a total day with no sleep of around 27 hours.