Staring into the Middle Distance 

I may look like my mother but that is generally where the similarities end. My mother likes to arrive at the airport at the last minute, but my approach is different. I had checked in last night and had nothing more to do than to get my carry on case through security and my bum into a seat near a boarding gate at the airport which is ten minutes away from my house. The flight was boarding at 10.30 pm, so I called for a taxi at nine.

My husband walked me to the top of the drive and waited with the two dogs on leads for the cab to pull up. I had made some last minute panic addtions to the wardrobe and was now wearing a fleece jacket, but not the stripey top (which I had stuffed in my case). I was feeling very nervous and wondering if the calming effect of half a Xanax would be worth it for the absolute exhaustion I risked feeling if it took too long to wear off completely.

The cab delivered me and I swung my case with the nonchalant air of someone who was carrying only the permitted seven kilos, but with my teeth secretly gritted because it actually weighed nine and was difficult to swing. The good news was that I was through security in no time, the bad was that I had about an hour to kill before the flight.

It is amazing, though, how quickly time flies when you are staring glumly into the middle distance. I did think about adding to the blog from last night, but did not want to upset the carefully packed satchel that I was using as a handbag to get my iPad out, especially as I had rammed it full of heavy items to try and get my carry on case compliant and it was weighing in at around 15 kgs. I also thought about going into WH Smiths, for old times’ sake because we do not have a WH Smith in Perth as far as I know and I felt strangely comforted by the sight of one in the departure area. In the end, though, I settled for a hot chocolate in the hope that it would help me sleep. I only had four hours and 10 minutes of flight to try and sleep through, so wanted to give myself every chance.

I was disappointed that more people were not in pyjamas, frankly. Anyone would have thought we were leaving at a decent time, rather than 11pm. We shuffled on and I took my seat, amazed that when the door shut twenty minutes later, I still had the whole row to myself.

At first I felt guilty trying to lie down, but then got over it and gradually uncurled across the seats. I got some sleep, but not much more than about an hour – especially as they insisted on feeding us to begin with and flying so fast that we made the crossing in three hours forty five minutes and arrived so early that Sydney airport was not open yet so we had to chuck a lap.

I staggered out into the airport and decided to make an adventure of it by getting the train. Feeling giddy from excitement – or perhaps from lack of sleep – I went into the newsagents, purchased an Opal card and put thirty dollars credit on it. I was on my way.

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