Ah, back in the land of politically-correct wank and bureaucracy for less than 24 hours and already I want to turn round and climb on the next plane out of here. My hackles started to rise in Stanstead Airport where apparently some new legislation applies which dictates that ‘No Smoking’ signs must be placed no more than twenty feet apart, though some variation of their contect is allowed: Smoking is illegal, Smoke here and we’ll take you to a political correction cell and beat the soles of your feet with a rubber hose. However, my hackles really stood up upon sight of the big blue ‘UK Border’ sign with its pale zit-encrusted officials gathered underneath. Beyond the sheer fucking arrogance of that I just knew that beyond it everything was going to go further down hill. I wasn’t wrong.
After going into shock for a while with the cold, the endless roundabouts and traffic, we finally got home to immediately put on the central heating, which took about five hours and probably a new mortgage to take the temperature up to somewhere bearable. For the night, hot water bottles were dusted of cobwebs and filled.
Today, since the car was in cobwebs for a while too, it was necessary to get an MOT. As we discovered on our last return trip here everything costs no less than £50, and this was no exception. Whilst the MOT was being conducted we headed off down the pub … another mistake I won’t make again. No smoking of course, so the four customers and one of the two bar staff were outside smoking whilst a pub capable of holding hundreds had one person inside. Outside we put our cigarettes out in ashtrays filled with water which was not there to stop the ash being blown about by the hot meltemi wind. The glasses weren’t out of a freezer, since that was hardly necessary. On our way away we noted that the pub seemed as ragged, run-down and as fucked-over as the country it occupies. No money to repair the damaged toilets or paintwork; that was all spend on the unused wheelchair lift to convey chairs over the three steps into the restaurant area.