Posted by sean on July 6, 2014 at 9:45 pm in Ventures Outside Of Bath with No Comments

I didn’t blog yesterday due to being extremely tired. The reason for my fatigue? A very early morning wake-up call on Saturday – 5am to be precise. I didn’t even know such a time existed until yesterday. The early start was part of a trip involving Claire’s family, where we took her brother, John, to Heathrow airport so he could board a plane to Canada.

The previous evening, we left Bath and made the all too familiar trip along the M25 towards London. All too familiar, because that is the same route I seem to take to almost every Bath City away game on the coach. It was quite a quick trip heading towards London. However, for those driving away from the capital, it was a little trickier – a totally burnt out van caused miles of gridlock on the opposite side of the motorway.

Due to the early flight, we stayed overnight in a nearby Hilton hotel. To say it was luxurious would be an understatement. Like a tourist, I had my phone camera out, snapping pictures of lots of irrelevant and boring things, which I will force upon you on this very blog. Below are photos of a river running besides the hotel, the hotel itself and a few snaps of the very plush lobby. I am going on holiday to Butlins later in the year. Somehow, I don’t expect it to be like this.

Another weirdo taking photos

There was also this very impressive display of Indian spices, plants and an elephant. I liked a lot. I was kind of tempted to nick the elephant, or at least the award plate. Would be good for my Marmite on toast.

After checking in, we went to the bedroom. Wowzers. It was better than our house! I was in so much awe of the room that I totally forgot about the usual trick I do when visiting hotels or bed and breakfasts. Just like in the Channel 4 TV show, Four in a Bed, I look for dust on top of wardrobes, under the bed… just about everywhere. I’m not really that fussy, but it annoys Claire. Even if I had remembered to carry out the checks, I don’t think I would have found any dirt or grime – it was spotless. Something else I didn’t find, or at least until later in the evening, was the light switch, which is why most of these photos look like they have been taken in a cave!

Me in awe of the bathroom. I did want to nick the fancy smellies by the sink, but thought we would be charged £100,000.

I did have a moment of panic, when, after using the toilet, I was unable to find the soap. I later realised the small white box by the sink labelled Face Spa (or something along those lines), was actually just plain, ordinary bathroom soap. Phew.

There was also the customary minibar. We checked the price list. I strictly told Claire not to take anything. Not to even touch it! I’ve heard of such minibars. If you even move a Kit Kat Chunky, you are automatically given a second mortgage on your house and a loan shark knocks at your bedroom door, threatening to break your legs.

It was then time to eat. By this point I was starving. In the past, Claire has told me that I am not starving and that people in Africa are starving, however given the fact it was almost 9pm and I hadn’t eaten since the early afternoon, I was starving. Therefore, when they brought out some complimentary soup, in the smallest possible cup, I was more than grateful. I can confirm that it wasn’t Cup-A-Soup.

We then ordered our main meals. I decided on a Thai Green Curry. It took a while to arrive, but during our wait, we were fed on more free food – this time bread. It wasn’t Warburtons.

I also asked for a drink. A small white wine. OK, it wasn’t just “white wine”, it had a very fancy name which I don’t remember. Something to do with a satellite. John, who works behind a bar, recommended it. I went for a small because I was tired and hungry starving. I also went for small due to the cost of the stuff. I could have bought an entire vineyard with the price of the bottle! Despite asking for a small glass, a large glass arrived. No doubt we were charged for a large. I drank it without complaining, although did think to myself that I would moan about it on my blog.

The food arrived in good time. OK, it wasn’t as fast as McDonalds, but I’ve had slower service. The curry was nice. As you’ll see from the photo, I didn’t know where to start. Did I put the rice into the curry bowl, or did I take a fork-load of rice and dip it in the curry? In the end I emptied the entire curry onto the plate, making a huge mess. However nice the curry was at first, it beat me halfway through eating. It wasn’t the volume of food (although eating half a loaf of bread, with the soup earlier probably didn’t help). It was the richness of the cream in the curry, which was a shame, as I’ve had creamy curries in the past and enjoyed them. If I was to give the chef a Come Dine With Me style rating, it would be 7 out of 10. Good, but a little disappointing.

What didn’t disappoint was the dessert. Sorbet. You can’t go wrong with sorbet. Amazingly, for the first time ever, I didn’t finish all of my pudding. I think the curry (and bread) may have played a part in that.

After eating, I went to bed very tired and slept all the way through until 4.20am, when I was awoken by Claire moving around in bed. In my dazed and confused state, I called out to her, asking the time. When I heard no response, I shouted again, a bit louder this time. I woke her. She told me the time. I didn’t realise she was asleep. Oops. I got my comeuppance, as I couldn’t get back to sleep, knowing I would have to get out of bed shortly after.

I hauled myself from the luxury king size bed at 5am. 5am, I tell you! If I was very tired last night, I was very, very, VERY tired that morning. It was then I was to do something I had never done before (as well as get up at 5am) – go to Heathrow airport. Not only have I not been to the country’s largest airport, but I haven’t been on an aeroplane before in my life. Not out of any phobias – simply because I have never felt the need to use that mode of transportation. The only airport I have been to in the past is Bristol.

We caught a shuttle bus from the hotel. I was pleased at how empty it was, but put this down to the early start. I don’t like buses as I often find myself sitting next to fat, sweaty, smelly people. I was annoyed when we stopped at another hotel on the way to the airport. Premier Inn – far less posh than The Hilton. The commoners piled on, with all their luggage, and guess what? A fat, sweaty, smelly man sat next to me. Fucking typical. Luckily the bus arrived at the riff-raff’s terminal before we got to our destination. They all emptied and I was able to breathe again.

We got to Heathrow. I wasn’t sure what to make of it at the time, but looking back, it wasn’t as impressive as I first thought. The ground floor was a bit like a crap shopping centre. Lots of people and open space, but not a lot of shops, besides a WH Smith and a load of vending machines, selling 3G SIM cards. Upstairs there were many more travellers. It was like a big train station. I suppose it is difficult to comprehend the magnitude of Heathrow Airport by that one visit. I was at just one of the many terminals and I hadn’t gone anywhere near the runways, although the bus did drive past them on the journey from the hotel, and they looked to go on for miles. One day I will travel by plane, but not any time soon.

Here’s an airport snapshot. I would have taken more, but the paranoid section of my brain, which is very large, was scared to do so, as I was worried about being wrestled to the ground by security.

Claire’s brother checked in without problems and he left us, heading for the departures lounge. We then made our own way to Weatherspoons for breakfast. I can never normally eat a large breakfast early in the morning and this was shortly after 7am. However, having been up so long, I had found my appetite, so ordered a traditional English brekkie. It was considerably cheaper than the meal from the night before and even came with free bread!

Spying on people from Weatherspoons

It was then all back to the hotel, to collect our bags, check out and head back to Bath. I took some more photos of the room, having discovered the light switch, and also helped myself to the posh looking complimentary coffee. At least I hope it was complimentary – we haven’t received any loan sharks at our door… yet!

Apparently the chair on the right is for placing clothes on and not a case of The Hilton neglecting to add a cushion.

The picturesque view of a car park from the third floor window

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