SHUT UP, I am not listening. Just because the Amsterdam did one flyby doesn’t mean anything. And anyway, we’re not landing and takeoff is easy and the Belgrade went off happily. And I’m not listening, even when the forecast is 100% for rain at 12:40 when BY7534 is due to land from Birmingham. We’ve never had a bad landing here and never been delayed. So there!
You’ll be fine.
Let’s face it, I don’t think any airline pilot has ever said “I’m not sure we can make this, but I’ll give it a go.”
But that’s where it ended. I didn’t really mind that the safety speech was given quickly and poorly, and the captain’s announcements were worse than usual.
But when we landed at Birmingham the farce developed. We landed at 3:05pm and trundled surprisingly less than normal - it’s always about five times the length of Skiathos runway to get to the arrival gate. Much shorter this time, but we stopped short and it was announced that Birmingham wasn’t ready for us so we had to wait for them to prepare the gate. Five minutes ticking over, then we pulled forward and parked. Only to discover that there was trouble with something and no caterpillar came to stick on. Quarter of an hour of people trying to get nearer the firmly closed door, then we spotted an ancient set of steps being wheeled towards us. And after a short wait, opened our door and went down the rickety steps onto the tarmac. Walked to the bottom of steps. The man struggling with walking stick beside me (I struggled without one) asked how many more flights of steps and I replied I had lost count.
Vera doesn’t ‘go’ on planes and I decided not to as we were getting close to landing. So the next miles of corridors were purgatory of crossed legs and prayers. We reached the toilets some 45 minutes after landing - I just managed it without embarrassment!
Then the crocodiles to present yourself to the high tech passport machines which just don’t want to let us in.
The carousel was a long way away. I had a t-shirt printed once saying I was first on a bus in Corfu, and I dream of one day having one saying our cases were first on the carousel. But no chance at Birmingham, the second one beat the last two, just.
Naturally, by the time we got out to the M42, Friday rush hour was well under way. Landing at 3pm should get us away beating the traffic, but Birmingham airport puts the mockers on that every time.
Light at the end of the tunnel? Yes! That was hopefully our last dealings with Birmingham as TUI have introduced Friday flights from Bristol next year.
Did a pilot REALLY say that? We are told that Skiathos is special traing only and only the captain can land there, so I find it odd a pilot saying he didn't realise rain makes it slippery.
Rain makes any runway slippery. Planes don't have wet weather tyres (at least, I've never seen any tread on the ones I've looked at). Skiathos has a problem because it's short and narrow, you don't want to slip off the end if the brakes only skid you and you don't want to slip off the side if you get it slightly off centre and the wheels can't keep you on. So you need to be extra good at it and all pilots flying into Skiathos ARE good at it. But good isn't enough if it's wet and windy. Yesterday was wet and windy, our plane landed during a lull between Thomas Cook flights all going elsewhere, our good fortune and maybe the TUI planes are better able to cope.
What a day Friday was. Take off time 2pm we get to the airport before the rush .Three Thomas cook flights came in one after another, London & Manchester take off. We are on the Newcastle flight, given three different times for departing. We get called to the gate and told that we will be boarding, bus comes to the gate and a lot of activity, doors closed and buses drive off, then they hit us with the news that cabin crew have exceeded there working hours, the rain is still falling. They tell us new crew are on there way from London, we all looked at each other and thought the same the plane will not land on the wet runway. An hour later we are told the we are boarding and refuelling at Corfu and have a cabin crew change then heading to Newcastle which’s we did and we landed at 12.20am. Please to be back home at 1.15am. We are now looking forward to May and September next year (if there is a Thomas Cook)
Just a brief resumption, for Monday 16th September.
Early morning swim was cut a little short as we were collecting our Jimny between 9 and 9:30am - I don't get it delivered so that we are free to swim and collect at our leisure.
So off with the jeep, then fuel up at Victoria and away down to Koukounaries. From there, the coast road to Asselinos, quite an experience for the last part, coming down into the valley where the beach and taverna are - we don't go the Troulos road way, but round those beaches, Mandraki etc and into the hills on unsurfaced "roads".
At last, here's the video I have compiled of The Magnificent Seven Quads - a group of seven fellas came past us twice, really enjoying the thrills of helmetless, topless (insuranceless?) quadding. Certainly adding their bit to the recent rain damage to the surfaces and leaving their dust for us to relish. There are two parts, with the middle cut out, which showed them stopped and would have shown their faces. The music I added is my amateurish attempt to emulate yorkshiremouth and I got a nice silent gap in the middle - it's a mistake, not a pause to let you regain your hearing. Yorkshiremouth should turn up the volume for bangy-thumpy, everybody else turn it down to a pleasant level - I have no idea how to set the volume.
We reached Ligaries Taverna and indulged ourselves in our usual order there, Greek salad and an alcohol free beer each (and a second beer for me). It really is a delightful spot.
Got back to Villa Maria in time for a quick afternoon dip, then ate at Jasteri. My humble apologies for leaving it so late to resume reporting that I cannot recall what we paid for Vera's steak and my gigantes (after the best tsatsiki on the island - other tsatsikis are available). I can't believe I had gigantes - it was just that when ordering I said my teeth are pretty useless, what can I have that they can cope with and he suggested soup. I was at such a low level of charge of brain that I immediately said Gigantes. Silly of me, but I ordered it so I ate it, whilst Vera tucked into a lovely steak. I have lost count of the number of times I get my order wrong and Vera gets hers right!