Well I can't deny that the lead in week to the Big Departure was one fraught with the Law of Sod.
If something was thinking about going awry, or threatening to go awry, or even pretending to go awry, it tried but thankfully was no match for Family Dovegrey on form....even down to the hotel room near the airport with NO hairdryer and the lever to the shower coming off in Bookhound's hand, while I curb minor hysteria in the background at the thought of setting off on The Journey already looking like I had just arrived.
But forget all that, it seems like the dim and distant past because I am arrived and hats off to Singapore Airlines. If you've got to sit there for that long then they make it bearable. From the hot towels, to the food and the regular rounds of drinks through the night (or was it day?) the Singapore Girls (and Chaps) were always on hand to assist. Fuelled by four fruit platters (having considered that the 'safest' eating option) and gallons of water, I travelled eleven (or is it twelve) thousand miles sans mishap or disaster.
All your tips came in tremendously useful, and I can only apologise to the lady from Dunedin sitting in the aisle seat next to me on the first leg, who having said 'No worries I never sleep,' when I apologised in advance for my regular walkabouts, then proceeded to drift into a state akin to Sleeping Beauty which I just had to ruin every few hours, because I was wide awake and needing to go for a yomp up and down.
'You can't be British about this and suffer,' I told myself as I nudged her yet again..
Thank the Lord for podcasts I say. Life savers...
I must also thank those recent episodes of The Archers, Desert Island Discs (Sandi Toksvig, thank you..you helped pass the last interminable hour with a smile) , the Book Programme...far too excited to read for myself so listened to others, until eventually this.....well that above because the photo has slipped into the wrong place and I can't move it.
Can you believe that I had tears streaming down my face at my first glimpse of the Land of the Long White Cloud...
All the events of 2015, and then the planning for the trip since August, and the weeks and weeks of excitement and finally I get a glimpse...
These pictures alone, and the breathtaking views from my window seat as I flew in, make the ten hours trapped alongside two lovely but deeply comatose New Zealand chaps (who were a lot harder to wake but by this time there is nothing British and long-suffering about me whatsoever) worth every single second of the discomfort.
And then I see Christchurch..
And I am fit to burst with the excitement.
And then I land...
That's me in there, seat 36A, right over the wheels, I heard them (reassuring.)
You will be pleased to know that my disinfected walking boots were allowed in the country, as was the rest of me, and from Customs it was only a skip and a hop to a waiting Offspringette and the tears and the hugs.
I am arrived.