Christchurch – Sydney – Bangkok – London – Helsinki. The flight time borders uncomfortably upon 30 hours. In silent stupor I stumble down the stairs. O-ohhghd… it is cold. My lungs nearly collapse. Is it a million degrees minus here? My thin shirt flutters in the murderous wind. Well, if not a million minus, then at least -273,16, I calculate.
I wait for the luggage. Yes, I lost it for a while on the way to NZ, but they actually found it somewhere in orbit around Earth, and it was delivered to me a week later. Fugging fantastic! This time, all is well. I click my heels in happiness as I see the grey Samsonite appear through the magic rubber crack in the wall. Am I catching a break?
I have reason to believe so. See, as I left Christchurch, I was told to expect industrial action in that hellhole called Heathrow. A strike, in other words. Where is Mad Maggie Thatcher when you need her? Yeah, I thought, of course, I said, great, I muttered. This is getting old as oak; can I for once travel without a glitch and a hitch?
Turned up in Heathrow fearing a chaos only Spectre could have devised, asked first person in uniform about the strike. The answer blows me away: apparently the powers-that-be called it off at the very last moment. I can hardly believe my luck!
Back in Helsinki, drag my bag – which is full of maori koruru and stones from Birdlings Flat – onto a carrier, and skate it to P3 where the car has been parked for close to 3 weeks. After a little tired wrestling, I settle down in the driver’s seat. Icicles are forming along the southern ledge of the nose, but it does not matter the least. As soon as I turn this key, I will get warm and cosy. Yes. I turn it.
Not even the faintest promise of a sound…
I turn it again. I repeat procedure. I beg. Turn. Beg more. Turn key. Swear to sell my soul exceptionally cheap. Turn turn turn. Eventually I’m forced to face the facts. The battery is dead.
Only a ghoul can scream harder…