This is the story of how I got to England.
I chose to fly with Qatar mainly because they have one of the fastest routes to London. But I'd also read good things about their product. And after last year's splurge in business class, I couldn't talk myself out of doing it again.
The flight departed Adelaide at 10:30 pm, so already it was a different experience. Working all day knowing you would fly overseas that night was exciting - lucky I had a fairly busy day ahead to distract me. However, when the time came to go home I found myself in a bit of limbo as there was no point getting to the airport too early.
When I got there and through the automated and much faster customs, the plane was patiently waiting.
In the prior months I'd flown interstate for work a few times and each time this flight was waiting, teasing me. Now it was my turn to get onboard.
It's an A350 and I'd never flown on one before. They are very slick, inside and out. There are no compartments above the middle seats in business class, giving it an open, airy feeling. I had selected a seat by the window.
The controls allowed me to morph the seat in almost any way imaginable.
Along with a set of un-glamorous but very comfy PJs, I received an amenities pack with face mist, moisturiser, lip balm, eye mask, ear plugs and socks.
Soon after take off they offered us dinner. Although, with Qatar, they have a dine anytime service which means you can request anything off the menu at any time throughout the flight. It's a great idea, though sometimes it's nice just to be fed.
I chose the snapper.
I decided to force myself to stay awake for a few hours. I would be a 13 hour flight and I wanted to start adjusting to London time. I watched a couple of movies: Arrival and La La Land. Enjoyed both, but in very different ways.
When bed time came I got into my (roomy XL sized) PJs and settled down. With eye mask and ear plugs I managed to get 3-4 hours of interrupted sleep which is a major achievement for me. The seat folded down was really comfortable and the cabin had a good temperature for sleeping. I was happy with that.
A few hours out from Doha (in Qatar) I opened the blind as the sun started to rise. At first the sky and clouds were all soft pastel blues and white but closer to Doha the bright orange sun cut through the clouds.
I only had a short stopover in Doha. Just enough time to freshen up in the lounge and take in some more water. While waiting to board my second flight (an A380) I noticed the hazy skyline of Doha in the distance.
The second flight was shorter, only 6 hours.
It was a breakfast service and by this time I was ravenous.
I chose the greek yoghurt followed by the scrambled edges.
Even though it was a daytime flight, most of the cabin seemed to want to sleep. I resisted as part of my body clock reset strategy, though eventually I felt obliged to close my blind. Apart from some snow capped mountains over the middle east, there was thick cloud the rest of the way so I didn't really miss out.
Both flights landed on time and a fast track pass from Qatar Airways saw me through customs in no time. From there I took the Piccadilly line into London, then the high speed rail to Ashford.
The moment I got on the first train it almost felt as if I had never left. It was a comforting feeling of familiarity. Both train journeys took about 1.5 hours in total.
I chose Ashford as my first destination because of its central location in Kent. It would make a good base. I wasn't quite sure how far it would be to the hotel and it was drizzling a little, so I decided on a taxi. The hotel is nice but nothing special.
I had intended to head down to the restaurant for dinner but as it got closer to 6:00 I felt myself fading. I decided to head straight to bed instead and was out cold the moment my head hit the pillow.