Thursday, November 04, 2010

Back in the Land of the Jobsworth

And so, we got up at 5.00AM Greek time, left home at 6.30 to get to Iraklion airport at about 9.00. After the usual waiting around and buggering about a thirty-five minute flight took us to Athens airport where we had to wait around for nearly seven hours for our flight to Heathrow. This was sort of okay, since there were places to eat and drink (though €3.50 for a bottle of coke is outrageous) and we could pop outside the airport for a cigarette.

At Heathrow the numerous No Smoking signs started to, as always, annoy me. Then some officious prick in passport control telling us to remove any covers from our passports annoyed me further. However, the swift arrival of our luggage – first off the conveyor – allowed me to calm down. It wasn’t till we were heading out to catch our cab that my ire started to rise again. There’s not only No Smoking inside the airport, but outside too, even in the multistory parking area.

Now we wouldn’t want any second-hand cigarette smoke there to spoil the aroma of the exhaust fumes from the endless queues of taxis and buses filing across in front of Arrivals, or of the fumes from the cars cramming through the car park, not to mention the fumes from the one plane every ten minutes that takes off from Heathrow, would we?

No Smoking in the taxi too, yeah, okay, it’s not my car. But and those stickers everywhere and a big ‘Thank You For Not Smoking’ plastered across the dashboard?

Fuck off.

11 comments:

Mark T Croucher said...

So nice to have you home. Welcome back.

Pete Hindle said...

Damn. Sorry for not letting you "Roy Castle" us to our early graves. But, anyway, welcome back to the land of free healthcare.

Graeme said...

And Breathe

Neal Asher said...

Get your tongue out of your cheek, Mark.

Peter, forgive my hollow laughter about that 'land of free health care'. Being on-topic, it's 3 euros for an asthma puffer bought from a pharmacy in Greece. Here I would have to see a doctor first and then pay a seven or eight quid prescription charge. Dentistry is cheaper than NHS, and not so damned rushed. Just a couple of examples. There are more.

I am breathing, Graeme, between the snarls.

Clockwork Zeppelin said...

Welcome back neal....should imagine some particularly gnarly battle descriptions coming up in next book....work that ire...

Neal Asher said...

Clockwork Zeppelin, coincidentally I'm just heading towards the stage in Zero Point of writing a big punch-up.

Wraitholme said...

Hey Neal, another fan here discovering your net address :P

I'm curious... they made you remove the cover from your passport?
Not sure if the 'smart' RFID tags in passports have been rolled out on your side yet (The country I'm in is a little backwards that way), but assuming they are, what they really want are more covers on passports... nice metal ones to prevent people with scanners nicking the transmitted data from the tags.

Anyway, hi, welcome back, can't wait for the next book :D

Neal Asher said...

In retrospect the request to remove all covers from passports might have helped speed things up a little, Wraitholme, what with the passport being quicker to identify. However, being utterly cynical, I can't help but have a suspicion that such signs of individuality are frowned on by the jobsworth bureaucrat, and that any sign of nationalism, like a George cross or Union Jack cover are verboten in the the EUSSR.

nick said...

Hi Neal
Long time reader/fan & occasional browser of the skinner:- I too got fed up with the arseholes and queues, and found out one day about a thing called IRIS: big brother issues aside, it makes your trip through UK immigration bearable and pretty quick and there's always a pleasant amount of schadenfreude looking back at the long queues when you're on the escalator to the luggage carousel. There's a link attached and you usually sign up for it on your way out of he country at the airport. Hope it's useful

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/travellingtotheuk/Enteringtheuk/usingiris/registeriris/caniregisteriris/

Xanares said...

Ben Bernanke saw fit to raise prices on everything, just to welcome you back. Food 'n oil going ballistic.

So, welcome back :)

Neal Asher said...

Oh yeah, Roy Castle, who died of cancer unrelated to smoking. That's proof of the danger of second-hand smoke,sure. I just love how so people today don't understand what 'cause and effect' means.