It was a pleasure to get onto the Gatwick Express which not only has electric sockets for charging phones etc, but free wifi as well. The blessings of the 21st century.
The airport chicanes are - frankly - exhausting and questionable. The security lines which are intrusive and oversensitive - bleeping at my reading glasses, requiring me to take my comfortable but awkward boots off. Why? Why? I am a fat middle-aged housewife. I am not a terrorist. They have tracked me through their barriers for twenty years now.... It's just annoying. Then you have to go through that vile Shoppong World thing, a winding corridor with sparkling paving, the air drenched with disgusting artificial scents, people standing around hoping I'll stop and buy their liquor, chocolate or face creams. No!!!!!! Can we not have an alternative route without all this? I think my toxin levels go up 1000% each time I go through, just from the polluted air.
We get lunch in Wagamamas - with lovely service from the staff - none of whom is English, by the way, so if they're all sent 'home' under Brexit, who will come forward to work there? The food is ok-ish. The mango smoothie with chilli is disappointing - really barely a hint of either mango or chilli - but really it just tasty test of pear juice. I The waiter replaces it for me, but it's the same. I tweet about it, and get a swift response from Gatwick Airport. Hmmn. A bit of overkill, methinks. Maybe the airport authority needs to check the quality and customer satisfaction of all their retail outlets.
As we take off, a huge fire is burning on the ground beside an old airplane not far from the runway. It's some sort of training exercise, but the bright orange flames and black smoke are alarming. Sobering.
We hit Dublin in the rush hour and it takes two hours longer than expected to get to Kilkenny. As we crawl along the M50, it feels like we're being easily overtaken by litter, tumbleweed, donkey-carts. Jovial relationships are formed between drivers... cups of tea passed through windows, card games set up......
We get to the flat. Alex has come to meet us in the car park... So much more confident, walking, smiling, murmuring, speaking! Our first grandson. Beautiful. He's grown so much since Christmas.