After my 12 hour wait to get a Ryan Air flight from Brussels Charleroi to Liverpool airport before Christmas, a friend with a soft spot for national stereotypes remarked that I had got what I deserved: “If you trusted Irish, Belgians and Scousers to get your family home for Christmas what did you expect?”
Well on Friday we flew back back on two Ryan Air flights via a different route – out of Blackpool and Stansted. The old reactionary will be feeling smug – both flights left on time and arrived before schedule. I do enjoy using airports such as Blackpool and Leeds-Bradford – it feeds my not-so secret fantasy about an Independent North, especially when on domestic flights. If only they asked for passports at Stansted.
And if only they didn’t ask for passports at ‘Milan-Bergamo’. We had an hour and a half wait at passport control there as our arrival coincided with a flight from Russia, full of people with complicated looking giant visa stamps. 90 minutes – that is a personal record, comfortably beating the previous best produced in the late eighties by the East Berlin border control. Why is it that officials of communist states spring to mind every time I suffer at the hands of Italian bureaucrats in uniform?
Anyway having given Ryan Air the thumbs-up for doing half a job right (I still don’t forgive them for their totally unprofessional behavior in December), I feel I must put the record straight on another issue. Despite giving my backing to Stephen Pollard’s campaign against New Years Eve parties as usual I bowed to peer-group pressure and went out on the night itself.
A small group of us gathered at a village pub near snow-covered Pendle Hill in Lancashire. Five quid a ticket including a free pint and a pie and pea supper. Apart from a few fools in fancy dress and the ritual whooping at midnight, you wouldn’t have known it was New Year.
It was a perfect evening out. Good food and drink (Theakston’s best on tap, pickled red cabbage with the pie and peas) and above all good company. The Landlord restricted entrance to ticket holders not to cash-in but to restrict numbers, so the pub was busy but not crowded – just right. Oh and a five mile taxi home at 3am cost a tenner.
So they you are. Ryan Air can get you from A to B cheapily and on time and New Year’s Eve can be a good night out. Never let it be said that this blog doesn’t change its mind on the big issues.