Houston – Prelude

For once it didn’t seem to matter that we were going to board late; there was just about enough entertainment in the pantomime of people trying to get to the front of the queue – as if the plane was going to leave without them!

Beforehand, I had sat in the lounge trying to etch the skeleton of a poem, something begging to be written based on an incident at the writers’ group on Tuesday. [I’ve had another play with it at 35,000 feet…]

Maps of the flight-path are always interesting, aren’t they? Across the Atlantic, south of Iceland and just fringing Greenland, before cutting across Canada and into the US somewhere over the Great Lakes. Having a window seat, I hope for an absence of cloud.

There is something vaguely satisfying about the fatalistic nature of flying; to be put in a situation of utter powerlessness and about which you can do nothing. Sitting back and enjoying the ride seems the only real option.

As I write this I struggle with time and the residue of a bad night’s sleep (time to try out the flat bed?!). Nearly three and a half hours in – and with six or so to go – this is a kind of nether world which has no real relationship to GMT. Up here, hours ahead or behind don’t seem to matter.

I will try and snooze probably. 

It was a struggle to decide which film to watch with my (very good!) lunch. In the end – after two aborted starts – I settled for “At Eternity’s Gate”, a film about Van Gogh. Willem Dafoe seems to excel at characters who are tortured and suffer; there’s something in him that gives them a depth of credibility and rawness. Though – and this is for my nearest and dearest – it took me at least half and hour to reconcile myself to the fact that Matt Smith wasn’t going to turn up..!

Part Two… unplanned

Arrived at my hotel to find the company had booked me in for the wrong week and they’re full… They can take me from tomorrow, so ‘for one night only’ I’m at another hotel round the corner.

Still, it has a shower and a bar. After, what?, nearly 18 hours travelling, that’s all I need really.