Chapter One: Lounging Around



I know this is stating the very, very obvious but Cape Town is a long way away from England. So far in fact that this entire day has been given over to travelling to Cape Town, and even then it’ll be tomorrow before we actually arrive.

Thats quite a lot of travelling.

As I write this, we are sat in the Galleries lounge at Heathrow airport, enjoying as much free food and drink as we can fit in.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves….

The day began at 06:30, when we awoke to complete darkness. Not unusual for this time of year in England, you might think, but when I turned on the light we remained in complete darkness.  We’d had a power cut, and so this whole trip started off with stumbling around, almost blind, looking for the fuse box.  Not the most auspicious of beginnings, but there we are.

The source of the power trouble turned out to be an old lamp that is now in need of repair, and with no time to deal with it, it will be examined and fixed upon our return.

Thankfully we’d finished all of the packing and all we needed to do was drop off Jerry (that’s our Saluki Dog, for those that don’t know) and get going.

Traffic on the M25

It felt like a long drive to Heathrow Terminal 5, probably because we were increasingly in need of the bathroom, and we were so busy chatting (to take our minds off our full bladders) that we drove right by the final service station without thinking and instead had to hold on until we reached the airport.

Having banked on the traffic being heavy, we were pleasantly surprised by how light it was – we only really had to endure a slow down at Stonehenge (as always), and on the M25. In both cases it was busy but moving.

The bus from the long stay car park to the airport

And so we arrived at the long stay car park some two and a half hours ahead of schedule.

There was a slight concern that we may not be allowed in that early (and would therefore have to find the nearest public toilets… wherever they were?), but actually we sailed through without any hold up. We found what appeared to be the only spare car parking space, and seized it quickly.

A short bus ride from the car park and then there we were, standing outside T5. We had arrived.

The airport terminal, complete with water feature

Sure we were ridiculously early, but that didn’t matter, we were going to make the most of it.

A big part of why we were happy to be early was because on this trip, we’d qualified for entry into the Galleries (the BA Silver members exclusive lounge). In this almost mythical place they serve free food and drink constantly, the chairs are comfy, and did I mention the free food and drink?

A horse with a lampshade hat, found outside the lounge. Odd.

Before we could get there though we had to go through the bag drop process – which involves queuing up, having someone scan your passport and boarding pass, then securing a flimsy looking sticker to your case.

And now they offer you, the Customer, the ability to do this yourself – just like a self scan checkout at the supermarket. So that’s what we did (although we did call upon some assistance just to make sure we were doing it right).

After dropping the bags off we were ushered into the fast track security clearance area, which I must confess was very fast indeed, and then into the main area of the airport.

We browsed through the shops, elbowed our way through the crowd, and made our way to the Galleries entrance. Here, at last, was the entrance to our little slice of airport paradise.

Not our actual plane

It was only after the fourth round of little triangular sandwiches and cake that the realisation set in. The lounge was far more comfortable and relaxing than the main seating area (with it’s hard chairs and lack of free food), but despite all of that it still didn’t make the time go any quicker.

The Galleries lounge, better in real life

Anyway I will end it there for today, we are still in the lounge and they’ve just brought out a fresh batch of sandwiches…


8 thoughts on “Chapter One: Lounging Around

  1. I love the horse lamp!!!! Can you bring it home please? Ha Ha!! I am disappointed at the lack of food photos! 🙂 Have a safe onward journey!!

    1. I will see if I can fit the life size horse lamp into Jo’s handbag… and as for the food, I’ve just sent you a couple of shots

  2. Well, memories, memories, I will have to tell Woosy, because we spent a very entertaining hour or so in the Galleries Lounge to the extent that they had to hold the plane up for us as we didn’t realise that we were still a long way from the actual terminal. I hope that if you read this now, you will be making your way to the terminal and don’t have the same panic as us!
    I know just how good it is in there and the food and drinks are all totally free – its VERY NICE!!
    Love the pictures, keep them coming and have a good flight.

  3. Gate now closed, so hope you made it! Got the flight tracker on so will be watching you get airbourne. Don’t forget to exercise your legs all the way.

    1. Some luggage got stuck in the hold, or so they tell us.

      We have landed in Johannesburg with time to spare for our connecting flight – more on that in tonight’s blog.

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