The plane was boarded on time. An A380 full of expectant sardines at the start of a 13 hour journey. Despite my careful seat selection I ended up swapping with someone else so they could sit with their companion. The new seat was still fine and I settled in for the journey. I felt refreshed and much more comfortable than on the previous flight.
As it would be another day flight I had no intention of sleeping. Hopefully staying awake would help my body clock. And so began a movie marathon only punctuated by meals and musical interludes. I watched The Immigrant, Requiem for a Dream (another past favourite), The Walk of Shame (unexpectedly funny) and Transcendence.
On arrival I hastily made my way to immigration to get a good place in the queue. It still took a while, but much better than last year. Once finally reunited with my suitcase I walked the endless corridors to the tube station to catch the Piccadilly Line to Russell Square. It was so good to be back on board these familiar carriages. I recorded a little of the station announcements, just in case I can use them for something.
Finding the apartment was easy; only 5 minute walk from the station. It's only a very small studio and, in hindsight, probably not worth what I'm paying. But it opens onto a small park and has a lovely airy feeling.
As soon as I'd washed the travel off me I set to the nearest supermarket to immerse myself in the unknown brands. Walking back with my purchases I got that wonderful sense of being overseas, being on holiday, being back in this place I love.