Monday 8 August 2022 – So, here we are, on our way. The morning was the usual mix of dread, anticipation and panic as we made our final preparations. We’d done quite a good job of ensuring that we had orchestrated a symphony of readiness – no excess milk, the last of the coffee was enough for the morning jolt, and nothing has been left to rot in the fridge whilst we’re away. But still there was the underlying agitation, inevitable before a major trip, that we’d missed something. Our taxi was due at midday, so we had the whole morning to stew. Much displacement activity was on display, wandering from room to room, picking things up and putting them down again to no apparent purpose. Ah, the joys of holidays! After an agonising wait, the taxi turned up five minutes early, and got us to Heathrow Terminal 2 with no incident.
The terminal was busy, but in a purposeful, rather than chaotic way. There were kind people to point us in the right direction as we looked for the Air Canada check-in desks. These, it turned out, are in Area A and a helpful chap told us to “Go where it says A”. It also struck me that this was very Canadian, as we had to “go where it says, eh?”
A further helpful chap pointed us at the remotest corner of the area where the (#smug) business class check in desk was and we managed to get our bags checked through only to Vancouver, as, left to herself, the lady on the desk would have checked our bags in all the way to Anchorage, and we don’t trust the world’s baggage handlers that much yet, hence the baggage trackers (see later).
It’s not often that Heathrow airport manages to surprise and delight me (often the former happens without the latter), but surprise and delight were the order of the day as we discovered that the Fast Track through security was open, despite rumours that it wasn’t operational at Heathrow. So the security queue was a mere 15 minutes, and staffed by people who were very cheerful and helpful. More to the point, they didn’t regard the technology-stuffed backpack I proffered as being in any way suspicious, which was also a very welcome development.
All that was necessary then was to get to the Air Canada lounge, which, it turned out, was a major walk to Terminal 2B (or, erm, not 2B – that is the question. But the answer was that it was 2B) – a 20-minute slog, during which I discovered that my backpack was so heavy that the shoulder straps began to restrict the circulation to my fingertips. It was nice to settle down with a glass of something cold and a bite to eat as we waited for our flight. The Maple Leaf Lounge, for this is what it is called, is a step up from yer common-or-garden BA lounge in that it features a tended bar,
kept spotless by the staff, who presumably mop up spillages with a Maple Leaf Rag. Thank you. Thank you for reading my Maple Leaf joke. I will try to avoid using the gag again, much, I’m sure, to your re-leaf. But if I do re-use it, I’ll do it as soon as I maple.
Jane has done her usual magnificent job of ensuring that all the paperwork was not only completed but also to hand as needed as we transit over the next two days from UK to Canada to USA and eventually back to Canada. Because of this, we will have to fill our details in twice to the app that the Canadian authorities insist you use – ArriveCAN. As we sat in the garden yesterday wondering what the weather would be like in Canada, I discovered that “there’s an app for that”, courtesy of Environment and Climate Change Canada. It’s called WeatherCAN, but we can’t access it from the UK, so I will load it up when we arrive in Vancouver. I also wonder if the Canadian equivalent of CAMRA, the UK Campaign for Real Ale (I bet there is one), might have an app, possibly called BeerCAN.
It’s now an hour until our scheduled departure and so there’s little left to do except look forward to (in the short term) an opportunity to catch up with some movies on board the plane and (in the longer term future, hopefully a perfect one) two months of experiencing the joys of Canada. Do join us as we go along.