Some five hours after getting into bed, I was woken suddenly by a crack of thunder. Even with the zombie apocalypse shutters down, the fork lighting still managed to push through the machined perforations and illuminate my room; I certainly don’t wish to sound ungrateful, but I am looking forward to leaving this hotel. I’m a fan of ‘sparse’, of ‘minimalism’ if you will, but I imagine my room to be what really posh prison is like. You know, the kind of place they send millionaire tax-dodgers, or the guy who shares the cure for cancer but has to steal a school bus in the process.
Moving along; today is a travel day. The form such a day will take is likely to become repetitive, so be warned dear reader, you may find short blog entries, or simply pictures on days such as today. But as a beginning template, let us explore the average UHTC travel day for Europe 2013, for it is, in truth, quite the special affair in terms of touring. In the morning, a man with a van will show up at the hotel, and into this van we shall load our luggage and bid it a temporary adieu. Shortly afterward, we will board some form of transport, be it coach, vans, viking longboat, or human conga line, and make our way to an airfield at which time we will either board a plane directly, or go through some light security measures beforehand. The plane will take off somewhere. The plane will land somewhere else, safely, gods willing. We will get into some form of land craft and be whisked to a hotel, and at a time chosen by said gods, our luggage will arrive and we shall take to the collective belongings like famished jackals on a wounded ox. What happens in between and afterward, could be relevant, private, or spectacularly devoid of interest.
Today’s flight took a whopping 37 minutes to travel from a quiet terminal at Charles De Gaulle Airport to Biggin Hill Airport in Bromley. The French countryside beneath our wings was lush, tiled in green, a beauty of haphazard geometry; little hedge-lined rivers snaked through towns and villages while the mist and cloud screened our view from time to time.
Serving little glasses of water, and orange juice, the Croatian flight attendants also offered sweet and savoury snacks. And then a thing completely new to my eyes, so far as flying is concerned — they served soup from an old space helmet using a ladle; I didn’t indulge in the soup, assuming (possibly wrongly, you never know) that it wasn’t vegetarian. And that it may have been extra-terrestrial.
After landing, and following an afternoon of frolic in the English countryside, I arrived in my hotel room, and via the magic of the communicative phenomenon known as the internet, I was able to thread together a few interesting facts.
By means of one named ‘France’ (you must know who you are) I discovered that last night’s gig fell on a particular anniversary; on June 18, 1940, General de Gaulle declared:
“the flame of the French resistance must not be extinguished and will not be extinguished.”
It becomes clear why The Partisan received the huge reaction it did last night; and how fitting, today, that we leave one allied territory to land in another, at a very important location of the Second World War: Biggin Hill airfield was home to many Spitfires and Hurricane fighters that defended Britain against Hitler’s spread across Europe. As far back as 1917, Biggin Hill was responsible for London’s defence, and fighter crews based there were on the lookout for these bad boys:
Another June 18 anniversary: it would have been my stepfather’s birthday; it was his first birthday away from us. Davy loved war films, and so there’s a tidy loop in this blog’s thread of history.
—PS — after yesterday’s tumble through the stage, I am feeling not to bad; left arm feeling the need for some wider movement, but worse things have happened. PPS — It wasn’t REALLY a space helmet.