Sunday, June 16, 2013

Wheels on the Train

Summer does exist but you have to go an awful long way from home to find it and the moment you cross the English channel on the way home the difference is all too visible.

I scrambled back into a very wet and windy Heathrow yesterday to find that the weather wasn't going to play cricket with the two flights I had scheduled over India vs Pakistan at Edgbaston. These have now been put back to the final next Sunday and I'm hoping I can borrow the Vulcan bomber, presently sitting at Manston in preparation for Saturday's big airshow, to drag something a little bigger across the sky. I wonder if they would notice if it went missing for a morning?

In fact, I spotted two PA25 Pawnees on the tarmac at Larnaca, which would be ideal. I believe the Cyprus government use them for crop-dusting, but I've used one to pull banners and gliders at air shows and it's a perfect aircraft for the job. Unfortunately its very heavy on fuel and I doubt that clients would bear the cost at £2.25 a litre now.

Cyprus Pawnee
I'm just catching up with paperwork, Council mail and more and should be back to regular blogging again soon. It's peak season for me and so finding the time to write can sometimes be a challenge.

I was over in Cyprus giving a presentation at a telecoms conference and in contrast with many other visits in the past, the island appeared very quiet. Fewer British tourists and lots and lots of Russians. You might have imagined that Larnaca's airport was a Black Sea resort instead. Restaurants and bars appeared empty or very close to empty.

Passing through Heathrow T5 on the way out, I was once again picked for a security shakedown along with some rather innocuous Spanish-speaking pensioners. It strikes me that no common-sense profiling is being used at all by the security staff although we all accept the need for such measures.

But what really caught my attention, following the heated uniform debate, which more recently reached the High Court, was one of the female security staff, searching our bags, who was covered from head to foot in a black abayah, complete with black gloves and with only her face exposed. This was no uniform as you and I might understand it. Instead, this made a powerful politico-religious statement and I really can't understand why it was permitted in such a sensitive area and at such a sensitive time, as the other women were at least wearing something identifiable as uniform. Even the Kuwaiti and Saudi girls I was with last week were not dressed in such an orthodox fashion. Next time I see one of our MPs I plan to ask the question why?

Early Morning
While I was away, I read that the Arlington Tesco has been approved by the Secretary of State and that Cllr Ian Driver is demanding that the EU probe Thanet District Council's controversial decision to manage and defer TransEuropa's debt. A number of unhappy and hard-pressed Labour councillors in Ramsgate would I'm sure prefer that the EU 'Probed' Cllr Driver instead, preferably with a tightly-rolled copy of Socialist Worker.

The real business of local government is now looking increasingly paralysed by a handful of issues and Labour really do have to get a grip before the wheels come off altogether.


Anonymous said...

Interesting to see your comment about arriving at Heathrow T5 Simon. We have friends over from Sydney with us at the moment and they were amazed how lax security seemed to be when they arrived. No one even manning the custom 'anything to declare' point at all and they felt they could walk in with anything.
It seemed to them that it had been assumed all checks necessary were expected to have been made at point of departure.

Simon Moores said...

One is security on the way out and the other is customs on the way in!
I'm guessing a Sydney flight has a low risk while a Lagos flight might be quite the opposite with a fully populated customs channel?

Anonymous said...

No idea Simon as I personally have no experience. But, they did say that they would have to go through at least two security checks when they go home!