I spent a fantastically relaxing week in England. The first four days I spent in London, where I spent lots of money on the inexcusably overpriced Tube. Not everything in London’s expensive, though: I spent a happy afternoon wandering around the Tate Modern gallery (entrance £0), although to my infinite disappointment, the nudes gallery was closed for renovation. The recording of The Now Show was extremely funny, although completely different to how I had imagined it just by listening to the radio.
I spent the remaining four days (yes, it was actually eight days, not a week) in Hertford with my grandmother. She recently had a cataract operation on her eye, the other one having been done some time previously, and, as a result, has to put in some eye-drops four times a day. I helped her with this and spent the remainder of the time reading, listening to the radio, and generally taking it very easy.
I flew back yesterday with Ryanair between two mendaciously-named airports: from London Stansted (in Essex) to Brussels Charleroi (closer to France than Brussels). In fact, Stansted was rather convenient for where I was staying. And as for Charleroi, well, nowhere in Belgium is particularly far from anywhere else, so I shouldn’t complain.
Ryanair was a new experience for me; the first time I had flown on one of the “budget” airlines. It wasn’t that bad, although the bright yellow livery inside the cabin was verging on migraine-inducing in its horrid garishness. However, their insistence on saving money by not printing seat numbers—how does that work? The seats in the aircraft are numbered, and each ticket has a sequence number on it anyway—makes boarding and disembarkation rather nightmarish, a condition exacerbated by the bargain-basement seat pitch, which crams a large number of passengers into the same space.
There’s no food provided on board their flights; instead, they try to sell a range of overpriced products from the trolley. Instant soup for £2.50? You must be joking!
Unfortunately, I have to report that the landing also appeared to be a victim of cost-cutting. It was the worst I have yet experienced. You can tell that a landing was bad when, as soon as the plane comes to a stop, the volume of chatter doubles as everyone relaxes and celebrates their continued corporeal existence.
But we lived.