Woe is me….,

October 29, 2014 at 4:50 pm Leave a comment

cold

I am suffering from a cold. A man-cold. Which, if not as bad as a man-flu, or as media-attention-grabbing as the Ebola virus, is pretty bad. It is right up there with the normal flu that women get, or having to listen to a motivational speech by Ed Miliband….

But, I soldier on nevertheless. I remain productive despite the disturbed sleep, the sneezing and the mucus. There is lots of mucus. I carry on thanks to an unyielding inner strength and regular hugs from my new best buddy, Beechams.

I can only speculate as to the source of my man-cold. I could have caught it from a friend who, at the weekend, was complaining of “being a bit bunged up”. But, it is unlikely, as we did not exchange bodily fluids, limiting the exposure to a firm handshake and a brief man-hug.man hug

I think the more likely source was budget airlines. For my sins I have had to endure two in as many days on flights to and from Budapest in Hungary.

The first, Jet2.com, was delayed for a couple of hours, meaning that I had to endure Manchester Airport for nearly five hours. On the Monday of a half-term holiday week. The great unwashed and genetically challenged stumbled aimlessly around the place in search of fast food, cheap sunglasses and non-existent large plasma screens, suffering the withdrawal effects of being away from Jeremy Kyle TV for longer than it takes to have a pee, a spliff and a can of Tennent’s Extra.

The queues at security were reminiscent of a Turkish border control and the metal-detectors sounded more like a pinball machine as they pinged away to high-heeled shoes, gold chains, watches, loose change, body piercings, and mobile phones in pockets. It is not rocket science people!

And so it was a relief when I finally boarded my Jet2.com flight and settled into my extra-legroom seat in the front row. My relief was short-lived. I was sat next to two ladies who had clearly made the most of an extra couple of hours in Bar MCR, and intended to make the most of the three for £10 offer on red wine on-board. They befriended me. They insisted that I put down my iPad and remove my earpiece and engage with them in conversation. With strangers. On a plane. For three hours. Can you believe it?!?

And so I endured the company of a fifty year-old A&E nurse from Newcastle and her buddy who ran a children’s club in Whitby. I smiled and nodded throughout their full medical histories and the many good reasons why they hate men. But not me apparently. Despite the fact that they were constantly at pains to point out that “We dun mean nothin by it. We ain’t chatting you up. We jus like a chat.”, they apparently determined that I would have “made a lovely da” and should consider adopting, or fostering. They also claimed to have noticed me in the queue at security. Apparently I had stood out because I was smartly dressed and was a “silver fox” who looked like “im off Bake Off”. Now I can see how I must have stood out, as I was one of only few males not sporting football regalia and body piercings. But the feeling of being stalked will linger….

It was a relief when we landed and I finally managed my escape, but only after the two ladies had insisted on giving me a kiss on each cheek by way of farewell. I could have contracted my lurgy right then…

kettlingOr, it could have been as a result of my second budget airline experience. This time with Ryanair. Unlike Jet2.com, Ryanair were prompt in their departure, calling us to the gate a full fifty minutes before the scheduled departure time. Unfortunately, the departure gate was in a drafty old hut where we were effectively kettled like protesters at a demonstration. Bodies pressed against bodies. The holding pens eventually filled up and they had to open the doors and release the throng to a second holding position outside. Fortunately, having acquired yet another extra legroom seat and a priority check in I was at the front of the queue. Unfortunately, this meant that I was outside waiting to board the plane for some thirty minutes in a very fine mist of rain and a temperature of two degrees. Now that can’t be healthy.

Unfortunately, unlike Ebola, the man-cold is airborne…….

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Entry filed under: business travel, Cautionary Tales, flying, humour, middleman, rant, travel. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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