Journal of a visit to New Zealand, via Singapore

The Land of the Long White Cloud
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Photographs by Gerald England
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This page last updated: 29th November 2005.
Day 34: Home to Manchester

Day 34 We discover that our homeward flight is not via Amsterdam, as we had thought, but via Paris. The leg to Paris will take almost 14 hours. Boarding proceeds without too much hassle. We have seats overlooking the left wing. The plane seems to taxi for a long time and I'm sure it goes round in two circles before finally lifting off.

This is a night flight, but we have to wait to be fed, before we have any chance of getting some rest. The flight crew seem very inexperienced. Their efficiency at serving up the inflight meals leaves a lot to be desired. One saving grace on this flight is that the interactive games console and news channel actually works. This helps to relieve a little of the boredom and discomfort.

Dawn is breaking as we touch down at Charles de Gaulle airport. Many of the passengers depart here. We have about an hour to stretch our legs before the final leg home.

The flight to Manchester takes around half an hour but as we get towards the airport, we are told that we cannot land and must do a circle. I am trying to reconcile the views of the countryside outside with our position as given on the inflight information panel. Being over the wing, though, I can't see too much. However, after around ten minutes, I see the very familiar site of the Longdendale Valley and the Woodhead reservoirs. Traffic on the A628 can be clearly seen.

We are actually flying in over our own home. I spot the town of Glossop readily enough, but it is difficult to see anything else more precisely, as I am strapped in my seat and the wing intereferes with the view.

We touch down at 8.15 a.m. We don't have long to wait to collect our luggage. We wait outside for a taxi. Being a Manchester cab, it costs us 25 as opposed to the 16 charged by local Tameside taxis. But we are home and it is only 9.40 a.m.

The daffodils are blooming under the willow tree. Spring is in the air.

The house is as we left it. There is a handful of meaningless messages on the telephone answer machine. Only five free newspapers and a number of advertising leaflets lie behind the door. I paid to have the post kept back. It will be delivered in two days time. A sackful that will take me four hours, just to open and sort. I'll collect the dog from the kennels tomorrow. For now, we have the whole day to relax, reflect, go shopping for food and finally get to sleep again in our own bed.

We have had the absolutely most fabulous holiday we could ever have wished for.

Journal - Day 1 Photographs - Day 34