The list of tasks that remained outstanding as I approached the final 36 hours was becoming slightly overwhelming but by 10pm I just about had it under control and even allowed myself an hour to relax with Kirsten and Jyoti in the lounge.
All I had left to do was to transfer some money. As I ate my bit of chocolate cake and chatted I was oblivious to the chaos that was about to unfold.
At about 11.00 I made the transfer. Rejected. Then it struck me. In my haste to be organised I’d transferred the address of my Halifax account to my dads address. The moneycorp explorer card was to my home of 3 years. I was snookered. All transfers were blocked.
Despite a 45 minute plea moneycorp refused to change the address despite the evidence I was able to provide. Halifax were equally baffled at their refusal. By 1.00am the situation was still not resolved but I gave up as I felt I’d have more luck in the local halifax branch near work to sort it face to face.
So at 2pm I wondered down and explained the situation. The lady on the desk nodded and made those fake sympathetic sounds only those in the service industry can perfect. A call was made to her colleague and the block was lifted. I didn’t trust the situation so tried again in branch.
Rejected. She spoke to the lady at moneycorp and eventually they both got the addresses identical.
So I tried again. Rejected. Even at this point, bearing in mind the flight was less than 24hrs away, the time I’d spent on the phone and the hr I’d been in the branch i feel i remained fairly relaxed. Everything can get sorted I kept telling myself. Better that it happen now than on the journey.
Eventually the error was established and whilst the issue is at the time of writing (on the plane) still not fully resolved I won’t bore you any more suffice to say 8 hours before the flight I was still on the phone…which meant after over 6 months of planning and years of dreaming, Departure Day was upon me.
Victoria had kindly sent me a wake up message as did my mum and Caroline. V thoughtful of you all!
Leaving the house was a blur. I said goodbye to Kirsten but it didn’t feel like I was leaving not to return back to the house later that evening.
Before I left I checked the room one final time and realised I’d left my advent calendar behind. The chocolate won’t last till Christmas but will be a handy ration pack. Then as I closed the door one final time I brought my 21kg rucksack down on to my toe. Ouch!
i slowly made my way with all my luggage to south Ealing bashing my leg as I wheeled my rucksack along but eventually I was at terminal 5.
Check in and security were uneventful and so I made my way to the business class lounge. This was a whole new world. Free WiFi, breakfast and drinks. With my old reliable rucksack I felt rather out of place amongst the others who were dressed in suits and I assume actually there on business. Not that that stopped me getting a photo and eating the food and drinking the drink on offer.
The flight was delayed and this is the first time I didn’t care. It meant more time to take in the lounge surroundings and I have to thank Kelly again. No connecting flight no tours; just get to the hostel, plan tomorrow and sleep.
Once on the plane I swapped with the lady behind because somehow her family had been split up and her children were alone. Whilst I hope this journey develops me I’m still not ready to spend a flight playing daddy so it was mutually beneficial to us both. Better still I ended up next to some locals who I hoped would be able to tell me how to find the hostel. Unfortunately they didn’t know that area so well. Initially I thought they could also teach me some Russian and whilst they did teach me hello and goodbye (words i recognised from conversations with two old school friends) my pronunciation was so bad I fear i disgraced myself and may have been swearing. Like if you told someone to say “goodbye” but they said “go*&%£yourself”. luckily i was told “unlike in Paris where people only speak French (disclaimer I know this is a stereotypical view) people in Saint Petersburg do speak English”. They were very interested in hearing where I was going and they gave me some places to see.
Sadly I fell asleep and having probably snored, any chance of further conversation felt like it was over as when I woke they were both reading. Note to self don’t fall asleep unless I’m in a bed as every opportunity needs to be seized!