Arrivals Hall

DSCF3904I get plenty of opportunities to drive to the airport and collect the good wife from one of her frequent business trips, typically in the evening hours. The roads are clear at this time, but life at the airport is busy as always. I perfected the timing, watching the airport’s real-time flight updates on my phone, jumping into the car as soon as the aeroplane is shown on approach.

I shall give it five or ten extra minutes the next time, and by that, I mean that I shall leave five or ten minutes earlier.

Why is that, I hear you ask, were you late and made the wife wait?

No. As I said, I perfected my timing. But I quite like being there. It is not the big machines or the hustle and bustle that fascinates me, but the excellent opportunity of looking a large number of people flat and straight in the face, unashamedly day-dreaming about who they might be, where they might come from and going to:

The all-important business traveller, armed with mobile phones, laptop, a serious face of business-like determination and a bottle of duty-free booze.

The stressed-out mum with several children and too many bags and strollers.

The elegant wife whose husband balances an impressive number of bags and suitcases on the trolley.

The lost-looking lady, searching for her friend in the crowds of the arrivals hall.

Tears of joy, of sadness, of loss, of frustration, of relief, or just of exhaustion. Hugs of love, of sympathy, of camaraderie. Steps of determination, tiredness, and uncertainty.

I love watching them all.


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British Water

KettleAlmost any public warm water tap in Britain is accompanied by a sign saying Caution! Hot Water!

Some even read Very Hot Water, and provide even more serious warnings related to the water temperature.

The famous hot water taps in Heathrow airport must have scaled the hands of countless travellers. Can anyone tell me the logic behind maintaining a hot water supply at ludicrous temperature levels? I can see the anti-bacterial effect, but if it requires serious health warnings and causes scalding in turn, plus of course an enormous waste of energy, then I am not so sure.

Is there any reason, of is it just an insane cultural habit?

The Truth About Colleen

Hello Everyone. By the time you’re reading this I shall enjoy the doubtful pleasures of Heathrow Airport, and a Virgin Atlantic economy cabin on a 10..11 hour flight to San Fransisco (the equivalent of several movies), for a prolonged stay in the South Bay area (aka Silicon Valley) to see my manager and the rest of the team. I gather this must be approximately my 30th stay in that area (give or take one), and the wife still doesn’t believe in me leading a second life there!

I keep telling her about my American wife Colleen and our two children, Lucy (5) and Mike (3), our four-wheel drive SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle), our veranda and the over-sized BBQ on the porch, and all she does is laugh!

Given that Colleen and the kids are very camera-shy and do not travel, what can I do to convince her?


MarieI am pleased to report completion of Marie, just in time before my departure to California, where I arrived with almost 2 hours delay because some luggage had gone AWOL in the depths of Heathrow airport. Well, I guess it’s better to wait a little for the luggage prior to departure rather than wait a lot after arrival.

Anyway. I hope you like Marie, which is painted after a drawing that I made during my Life Drawing class in August. The painting is named after the model, not my friend by the same name. The two have never met.

I am reasonably happy with the painting. It’s not 100% where I wanted it to be, but for the first big nude (600x1200mm)… Well, as firsts go, I have done worse.
Some of the details in the figure aren’t how I wanted them to be, and the right foot is unfortunately beyond the point of a broken ankle. Also, the fact that she lies on a cover floating 3 inches above ground isn’t very clear. Hmm. Next time maybe.