Arduously slow progress through the airport at Heathrow. It forever baffles me that people in an airport exhibit no signs of needing to be anywhere urgently; the exact place where dawdling works against you the most. They cluster and block corridors and require others to be professional acrobats to dodge trolley bags that are being idly dragged.
The baggage collection speed was glacial. It turned out luggage handlers were offloading bags from the conveyor to the floor at the other end of the carousel to where most people were standing. Ostensibly to make room but mainly causing people to panic their baggage was lost. Particularly unhelpful if passengers aren't actually told to check the dumping area. Why are systems so collectively incompetent?
I wasn't feeling very charitable after such a tiring week. Luckily I'd arranged to see friends and had maintained the plans despite the last-minute work trip and likelihood of being knackered.
I met an old pal Yinka in St Albans, which we happened upon as a day trip because neither of us had been there. It's a very well-heeled town, which we constantly had to exclaim. Quaint streets, no visible chavs, a bustling market and a general air of prosperity and bonhomie. The cathedral is one of the UK's finest, with apparently the country's 'largest nave.'
We strolled around catching up, drinking coffee (needed after my overnight travel), and revelling in the cheap food at the market. A quid for a huge bowl of grapes that was given to us on good faith as we didn't have change. Good job we had to return later as Yinka had left his iPad there in the excitement over grape prices. They had saved it hoping we'd return to settle our debt. As upstanding citizens we of course did.
I lasted until about 4pm, hoiking luggage from my trip, then headed back to Cambridge. In the evening a rapid packing turnaround for a holiday that starts tomorrow, and a general sense of wonderment that it's possible to travel so quickly to and from Mozambique. Did I really only leave on Tuesday?!
I hung out with my friend Ethan in the evening, drinking pink gin, eating garlic bread and enjoying a night at home.