Three hours in Manchester Airport. That's the bar then. I line my stomach ahead of time with a bacon and brie bagel and a latte served in a bucket. Which I sorely need as I have a Christmas dinner and whiskey hangover. This was the first of two Christmas dinners I am due to cook this year. It was supposed to take place in "Tyndall Towers" but given Dee's sudden outbreak of what was at first dismissed by her dismissive French doctor as "an allergy" but which later turned out to be Hand, Foot and Mouth disease, we changed the venue to Paddy's house and burned Dee in a trench in the back garden. Dinner went well but it was necessarily a "sausage-fest" - all men barring my delightful sister-in-law. When Cormac turned up with his French girlfriend it was like somebody had sparked up a fire in a neolithic cave. She was like a penned sheep for the rest of the evening, bless her.
So I'm in Manchester Airport. Belfast-Manchester-Southampton-Basingstoke is not an obvious route to take home but in my defence it was not my idea and that I feel I was rather tricked into it by Flybe. It has been noted, pricks. I nearly lose my door-keys in customs black plastic trays as someone runs off with it while I'm replacing my shoes. I have no spares, having broken the other in the lock in a rare and pointless display of super-strength. It would have made for some interesting first footing on my return.
I've only ever been to Manchester once before and I don't remember why I was there and who I was with. In later years, specifically at the end of the nineties when it would have been fashionable, I claimed to have gone to both The Hacienda and Dry Bar. This was not true. I had certainly sat outside the Dry Bar but I never went in. And I never went within the sound of gun-shots of The Hacienda.
Not much people-watching going on at the airport. There is a girl with a dragon tattoo who looks like The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. The tattoo is on her flat and not unattractive stomach and when I speak to her, she is the chief suspect in "operation key-theft", she is revealed to be English. Figures. I've discovered where all the best looking girls in Belfast are: at the Airport, waiting to go home.
On the plane now, boiling hot and sat next to a man reading the Daily Mail and eating chocolate biscuits. I fear we are not destined to be friends.
There is a light winking on the wing of my plane. If it was on my cooker I'd be worried but as it's on the wing of a plane I reckon somebody has it covered. I try not to think about what's going on when I'm flying through the air on the plane. It makes me a very confident aeronaut. Looking out the window you really have to be quite impressed. Say what you like but the world looks very neat from up here. Talk about order from chaos - do we know how to parcel off land or what?
My plane appears to be called "Kevin Keegan". WTF? As they say.