Return To Our Valley

We’re back in Singapore again! Our first flight was really not so bad. With the extra leg room it was very comfortable. We managed about an hour of sleep, which was good but maybe a mistake. Getting kicked off the plane in Changi it was hard to focus on where we needed to go.

I had been looking forward to taking the skytrain through the Jewel shopping centre, over the waterfall, but it had been stopped for the night. The delay in departing meant we should have arrived at 00:20 but we actually got there at 01:40. The skytrain stops each night at 01:30 for maintenance. Oh well, we get a bit of a walk.

We had booked a hotel in the transit side of the airport. If we are doing back to back flights, this was essential for marital harmony, not just sleep. (Way too tired for that, you gutter minds) It was much larger than expected and the bed was like laying down on warm, soft earth and being covered with marshmallow duvet. It was so comfy our brains basically switched off.

Next morning arrived far too quickly, yet naturally. We are used to getting up at 6am in real life. But how did we manage this on the other side of the globe? We are 13 and a half hours flight away from the UK… And there was no option for extra legroom on this one. Unless we dropped £3000 each for an upgrade to business class… nah. I would just have to suck it up, I thought. But upon reaching our seats i found I actually had knee space. Not a lot but 2 inches or so, and that makes all the difference, don’t you know…

And so the torturous journey was a little less torturous. I’ll recommend Singapore Airlines for your next long haul travel because the pleasant surprises didn’t stop there. We had actual metal knives and forks! I can only assume this was to simultaneously cut down on one-time plastic use and increase passenger comfort. But maybe only actually achieving the latter as the green credentials are probably negated by the extra weight the plane is carrying. Who knows, but if that’s an equal trade then I’m onboard, it feels positively luxurious. The other thing that stuck out was that the snacks and drinks were all free, including alcohol. While most people were sleeping, I went to the gally and enquired about some chocolate to placate my grumpy wife. I was offered a whole tray of confectionery from which to help myself and my credit card was turned away. The air steward even brought me a G&T for free to enjoy with my film. Singapore Airlines is therefore HIGHLY rated in my book.

Speaking of films, if ever there is justification to have a movie marathon, it’s on a plane. I managed to watch 4 films back to back!

Ford V Ferrari

This tells the somewhat dramatised story of how Ford came to dominate the Le Mans 24hr race beating long reigning Ferrari. It started a bit crap and cheesy, but it got better and was very enjoyable overall. Hollywood refrained from shoehorning a pointless love story in there which was a breath of fresh air but they must have used Fast and Furious cars that only ever change up a gear… However the director didn’t make any relationship drama of the big bet Carol Shelby took to get to Le Mans. I was relieved and surprised because it would have made a tense plotpoint. I’m not sure how historically accurate the plot of revenge was, but I can believe the rest was reasonably historically accurate. 

Mission Impossible Fallout

True to form, and as expected, this got increasingly more ridiculous and action packed as the movie progressed. You know what you are getting with one of these movies so it was like a comforting and measured dose of action. One thing that really annoys me about bomb diffusing movies is that they always cut a coloured wire. Ignoring the whole last second tension when it’s cut, it’s always some sort of coloured wire that they talk about and have found from some sort of schematic. Is it just me, or if the bombers really wanted to succeed, they would just use all white wires or even better mix up the colours between the schematic and real world electronics. Then any would-be bomb diffuser would have no clue… not that I’m any expert but that’s what I’d do.

Ready Player One

I frickin’ love the book, it’s probably one of my all time favourites. If you haven’t read it, let me know and I’ll send you a copy for Christmas. Mainly because it’s so believable to the point of prescience. And the plot centres around the rapidly evolving technology and subculture of its birth. But the film takes barely the notion of the storyline and runs away with it. It literally opposes the books plot when instead of Parzival entering the IOI headquarters, it’s the love interest Art3mis. And the whole rise of the resistance and reason he goes in there (but now its her) is completely missed. She goes off on her own to do a critical thing to the plot (no spoilers) without any foreknowledge or planning. Its just irritating because the books plot is sublime and didn’t need to be changed. I understand, like the Harry Potter films, elements and dialogue will be missed from a book, else it would just be too long. But this film has destroyed the story and ended up being mediocre at best. Which is a shame because I really want to like it. The main enjoyment I got from it, was spotting all the locations in Birmingham that were used for the set. An unsurprising amount of the post apocalyptic future, looks like Birmingham centre… 

Devils Advocate

This is a film I really enjoy. It’s really well done and the message (that I take from it) is probably overlooked by most viewers. Most people would just see it as the Devil tempting people to commit the 7 deadly sins, in this case Vanity. But I see that on multiple occasions Keanu Reeves chose his work over spending time with or helping his wife, Charlize Theron. Subsequently he is punished because she goes crazy and ends up… NO SPOILERS. I didn’t purposely choose this film because of the message, but it’s interesting that my subconscious led me to it just as I embark upon the maiden voyage of my marriage. However, I was conscious that there is significantly too much nudity to watch openly on a plane full of people. 

Films watched and reviewed, we disembarked at Heathrow and flew through immigration. If there is one thing we Brits do know how to do, its queue. We now needed to get home to Staffordshire as quick as possible because Aimi is starting her new job tomorrow. We toyed with the idea of trains, but we would have to make several transfers, and go in and out of London, with all our bags. It would have been miserable, let alone the high probability of cancelled trains and strikes interfering. So we decided to hire a car for the one way journey. Surprisingly it ended up only being £30 or so more than the trains and we can go direct from door to door and barring any unlucky breakdowns, we could do it when we want, go to the shops enroute and reasonably accurately predict when we would arrive. 

We hired from Enterprise and during the pick up process, I was shocked to have explained to me that if we scratched the tyres (not the rims, the tyres) then we would be charged for new ones. We were allowed to destroy the rims as much as we liked, but the tyres were chargeable. I made very sure that I understood this correctly but I was assured that was the correct company policy. Which makes absolutely no sense. Rims are vastly more costly than tyres. And besides, the tyres contact the road, of course they are going to get scratched! Ridiculous, but whatever.

When we take the hire car back tomorrow, I’ll need to collect her on the motorbike because all the other vehicles we have are out of date on their tax, or MOT, or insurance, or all of the above. So when we got up to Stoke, we took to opportunity to stop in at Tescos to get some food for the next couple days. It was very strange to walk around a shop we recognised and were able to read all the labels without issue. Also we were VERY tired by now, it was hard to concentrate and we just wanted to get out of there as soon as possible and straight into bed.

This morning dawned with a typical British weather welcome. Drizzle was drifting down against the window from a grey sky. I got up and went down to the kitchen, avoiding the bags and letters and boxes of stuff from the party. All that will be dealt with later, but for now, I made a cup of coffee for my new wife and tea for me. We sat in bed and looked out at the damp view we know so well. My real wedding ring, replaced on my finger, tapped against my mug. We are home.