Travelling hopefully to Basel

Thankfully she enjoyed her trip over immensely. She couldn't manage all the food on offer. It was only later in the evening we discovered she had smuggled the Qantas cheese plate past border security
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Sydney weather was mot on its usual good form as it rained every day of her visit but it was lovely to have her around and we got out to the Botanic Gardens. Museum of Contemporary Art, Dawn French at the Capitol Theatre the Banksy exhibition and the junior rugby fields of ManlyView attachment 384970View attachment 384971View attachment 384973View attachment 384975View attachment 384974
Good on'ya Mum!!!
Looking forward to the rest of your adventures @andye
 
I do have a soft spot for BA. The little G&T's and the proper tea were always welcome in Y (back in the day), before I'd even dreamed of travelling J.

The crew certainly did their job well enough though you certainly wouldn't say they encouraged you to seek out their service as on my previous flight.

PDB
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And the G&T came quickly
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The tuna nicoise starter was decent if a bit cold
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However, the chicken roulade was possibly the worst course I've ever been served in J (and possibly Y). The chicken was cold and tasteless and the vegetables a 1950s throwback of gooey mush
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The rum raisin bread pudding (with port) saved the day
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And (with a bit of light-hearted negotiation), I managed to secure the cheese plate which was also good
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I rested well on the seat in bed mode though never thought to close the door

We flew the 'wrong' way round over Canada, Greenland and Iceland. A little disappointed I was in an aisle. I do seem to remember it was tricky to choose seats as it was a JL codeshare and I hadn't pushed it in SYD20240511_175156.jpg
The second service was better with gravlax (again chilly)
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And smoked tuna
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The IFE was very good too and much easier to navigate than JL

The full menus
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Although it was great to be able to negotiate SYD and HND together, LHR was a bit trickier

BA8 landed at T5, JL43 at T3. I was due to arrive about 15 minutes before motherandye

However, some aerobridge delays and a long baggage reclaim had me already on the back foot. I needed to take the Heathrow Express between the 2 terminals. Those that have used HEX will know that there are some moderate walks. I also had 3 bags; fortunately you can take a trolley nearly up to the platform but it's still a bit clumsy boarding the train (but not as hard as for the family with 3 under-5s, another one on the way and 7 bags)

Motherandye did have a bit of a wait especially as she had no bags but we met up fine.

We then needed to get to T2 to pick up our hire car. Sixt is on-site in the car park. It is possible to walk between T3&2 but was not an option for us. So we waited for the Sixt shuttle.

You then have to walk to the T2 building to check-in then double-back to the T2 car park to get the car.

I had prepaid (using an Amex Edge travel credit) but being flustered, I fell for the 'kind' favour of a more suitable car that would hold all my bags l ended up paying a hefty surcharge 😠 and the resultant Renault Captur still would only fit one bag in the boot. At least it was a hybrid so ended up mitigating with less fuel used. They also had the cheek to ask me to give them a 5* rating when the quality email came through.
 
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All in all we had taken more than 2 hours to leave LHR and were now in Friday night peak hour. I dropped motherandye off in South London before getting the bus to Paddington where I was staying the night.

Masterandye1 has been working in London for the last 18 months and was lucky enough to secure a not-extortionately priced flat in Westbourne Terrace. I went to Med School in Paddington and we had arranged to meet up and revisit some old haunts.

I had booked a Executive Room at the Hilton Metropole where I had hoped to kick off the evening in the lounge. However the coughulative delays meant that the freebies boat had long sailed.
 
We set off on a nostalgia trip

Our first port of call was the Royal Exchange. This was the rugby club pub and I must have spent the vast majority of my autumn and winter Saturday nights there for the 6 years I was studying.

The publicans were a proper Irish couple called Tom and Mary who loved their horse-racing. The beer of choice was Murphy's Irish Stout.

This is what it looked like after a good win
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I have been back previously and knew it wasn't the same. Tom and Mary had long since retired to Ireland, the raucous young men above are now specialists and professors and GPs..and they've replaced the Murphy's with Guinness.

Tonight there was a Japanese DJ playing all sorts of tunes that would never have come out of the old Elvis-heavy jukebox. Still it felt nice to sit down and have a beer with my son who is a similar age to me in the photo
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We set off on a nostalgia trip

Our first port of call was the Royal Exchange. This was the rugby club pub and I must have spent the vast majority of my autumn and winter Saturday nights there for the 6 years I was studying.

The publicans were a proper Irish couple called Tom and Mary who loved their horse-racing. The beer of choice was Murphy's Irish Stout.

This is what it looked like after a good win
View attachment 385334
I have been back previously and knew it wasn't the same. Tom and Mary had long since retired to Ireland, the raucous young men above are now specialists and professors and GPs..and they've replaced the Murphy's with Guinness.

Tonight there was a Japanese DJ playing all sorts of tunes that would never have come out of the old Elvis-heavy jukebox. Still it felt nice to sit down and have a beer with my son who is a similar age to me in the photo
View attachment 385335
Lovely story @andye — enjoy the travels
 
BA8 HND-LHR Airbus A350-1000

View attachment 385235

Having left motherandye in the lounge with strict instructions not to go a-wandering, I boarded. I haven't been on BA J since the roll-out of the new SkySuite

It's definitely a step-up from the old 'step-over someone else who you've been forced to be cheek-to-cheek with' seat of old. (Having said that it was one of the first lie-flat J seats* that we have come to expect and I did always sleep well on them)

The footwell is slightly off-centre but I think it's better-looking than JL. And it's got a door (not that I'm bothered)

View attachment 385237

*always worth remembering when people talk of the glory days of flying and devaluations over time
We flew BA Dubai to London last December on the step over variety. Very odd. Agree that it was a big step forward at the time but really tired now.
 
Our next stop was the Sir Alexander Fleming Pub. St Mary's most famous alumnus (followed by Sir Roger Bannister, JPR Williams).
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It was popular not least as it was on the short walk from the lecture theatres to the halls of residence
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It was closed and peeking through the windows likely forever. The bar had been removed.
This is it in busier times (Finals results day 1994)
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In case this sounds like a disappointing recherche du temps, it is as nothing compared to a previous trip to my father's birthplace of Hartlepool. Every single place of familial significance had been buried under brutalist concrete car parks or shopping centres. And the weather was ghastly in a way that coastal North-East England specialises in. (It was fun to depart from Kings Cross next to platform 9¾ though and there is an interesting maritime museum in the port)
 
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We moved on to the Fountains Abbey straight opposite the hospital. Back in the day this was the doctor's pub, no doubt in part because they didn't want to waste time coming straight off a 34-hour shift.
I had a rather retro scampi and chips (dirty lens not tiddly photographer)
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The next day was off to my sister's house for birthday celebrations. All 3 of motherandye, sisterandye and nephewandye share a birthday (first one by accident, second by midwifery tricks).
It was fabulous to see everyone. The food was more gastropub than the previous night. Some dishes:
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Despite a decent run of sociability during the day, both motherandye and I were asleep on the sofa by 8pm
 
I had some shopping to do. I was taken aback that on Sundays the Oxford Street shops don't open the doors until 11.30 and then can't actually sell you anything until midday. The assistants at Selfridges Clarins were expert in using this for an upsell.
I also needed to get a replacement coat-I was expecting the assistants at the Barbour shop to all sound like they'd just finished at Eton but no they were perfectly ordinary.

I had a late evening flight to Switzerland. I set off pretty early though in anticipation of London traffic (justifiably) and the car hire return.

The rental return was largely straightforward though. The hybrid car meant I was happy filling up a bit further away than usual. The on-airport T2 Sixt location was pretty convenient and I had the Heathrow Express a bit better sorted out in my mind
 
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T5 security and immigration was surprisingly speedy. I was a bit taken aback that the VAT refund scheme had been abolished (by Boris Johnson and that was 3 PMs ago).

I went straight into the BA Galleries North J lounge. It's not one that seems to have a lot of friends on the internet but I found it quite satisfactory. The food does tend to slop and sandwiches but the gold is in the scones and spirits. Nachos and bhajis also fine.
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BA756 LHR-BSL Airbus A320

My only Y leg

As usual in T5 it's a fair way from lounge to gate (have had to break into a trot before I got used to it).
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Legroom was tight
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The F&B a far cry from the golden age
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There was also no power and the eftpos wasn't working for anyone who was hungry

But it was an uneventful trip and I was in Switzerland..well Euroairport Basel-Mulhouse is technically in France but it's a bit of a Cameron Corner place where you can exit to France, Switzerland or Germany
 
It was almost midnight when the taxi dropped me off at the Pullman Basel. So no welcome drink available.
It's in a very good location for the Congress Centre (only the Marriott is closer) and as it's right next to a tram hub, would be a good base for the whole city.

It was eye-wateringly expensive but that was a combination of Swiss prices, me booking late (Accor website had said it only available as I had status) and what turned out to be a very well-attended conference.

The room was good if a bit plain for my taste (mrsandye liked the photo as she said it looked nice and clean)

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The conference was well-worth the visit with a number of change-your-practice clinical trials presented.

The management of stroke has changed dramatically in the last decade. It seems we need to be doing even more for the severe strokes and intervening less for the milder ones.
One of the tricky aspects is how this interacts with the frail older person and I attended a interesting symposium on this (not all of it I agreed with)

I didn't have a huge amount of time for sight-seeing but did have a wander around town20240515_184557.jpg20240515_185839.jpg20240515_185539.jpg20240515_190014.jpg20240515_190229.jpg20240515_184333.jpg
 

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