So, off to Stansted early Thursday morning to catch a flight to Prestwick. Did my usual thing of stopping at the 24 hours garage before setting off and checked the oil, water, tyre pressures etc. (this does become relevant), then drove to Stansted, parked up in the long stay and jumped on the flight.
Arriving at Prestwick, I was surprised nobody met me off the flight as usually happens (I don’t have a security pass, so cannot go airside). I wandered up to the information desk (doubles as security) and asked if they had a number for the Ryanair hangar, explaining I was working there for the day.
“You can;t go airside without a pass.” said the (un)helpful woman behind the desk. I explained that I knew that, I just needed to get in touch with the hangar so someone could pick me up (it’s a few hundreds yards to the hangar airside, but about 3 miles to walk landside). I realised within minutes she wasn’t gonna help me, so I wandered off to where I took my security induction 6 months previously…
Helpful bloke there remarked that I didn’t need another induction, so I smiled and explained that I just needed a number for Ryanair’s hangar.
“Och,” he said (poetic licence for the Scots), “I’ll run you round there maself.” and he did – top bloke 🙂
So, got to the hangar, met up with Davie and got my list of stuff to do – a number of jacks to be tested, and several items of tooling to be inspected – quite a full day’s work, but I was in no hurry being as the flight back was the next day and I was being put up in a hotel overnight.
So I set to work assembling the test rig using a forklift provided.
I should note at this point that all 5 bays had aircraft in them undergoing routine maintenance (slow time of year for airlines so they tend to service the aircraft ready for the summer rush), and so had scaffolders in to provide working platforms around the aircraft.
Having finished with one jack, I turned to see someone had pinched my forklift – I spotted it the other end of the hangar and wandered over to get it back. As I jumped on it and started it up, one of the scaffolders came up and said he needed it to move some scaffolding as the aircraft in bay 5 was going out, and another coming in. He said moving the aircraft out and the new one in would take about 45 minutes.
I was in no hurry so remarked I may as well go for a coffee. “That’s where we’re going too.” he said, so I joined him and his 3 mates (I’m no good with names and had forgotten theirs within 20 seconds).
As we walked to the canteen, I got a text message from Harriett: “Call by later, I have to tell you about what happened in the Tudor last night.” In the canteen, as I had some spare time, I called her back and got a story that, in a nutshell, involved a bully and a small bloke – typical Tudor stuff.
The scaffolders had heard my side of the conversation, words like: Tudor Rose, Psycho Tony, Pete, bully – there may have been a few references to drugs. You get the picture.
After hanging up, one of the scaffolders looked at me and asked where I was from. I told him St Neots and he mentioned how he’d worked there for a while, lodging in the Red House, and had gone into a pub on the market square for a drink – the infamous Golden Ball. As he recounted a fight he witnessed in there, his mates all sat there looking dumbstruck listening to people being thrown through windows, bar stools being used as clubs etc.
He also remarked how he’d drunk in the Tudor Rose (it was a decent club back then with a committee and everything).
I told him the Golden Ball had closed now, so he asked where the guys who used to drink there went now – my reply? “The Tudor Rose.”
“Ah,” he said, “now that phone call you had makes complete sense.”
Got back to work and the scaffolder who’d pinched my forklift bought it back to me with the words “Sorry mate, if I need it again, I’ll ask you.” *snigger* the bad reputation of St Neots wins again!
Now, still bear in mind I didn’t have an actual pass to be in the hangar – most of the Ryanair people know me so it wasn’t really a problem until later that afternoon – some guy got a small cut on his head and the Health & Safety guy rang for a medical team to check him out, but he didn’t say “He’s got a small cut” oh, no – he said “We’ve got a head injury”
OMFG…outside the hangar across the taxiway came a fire engine followed by paramedics. I stood looking bemused at it all, then, as I turned to continue my hunt for a winglet sling I was supposed to inspect, I spotted 2 coppers just been escorted through the gate of the hangar.
“Oh shit” I thought (If they spotted I had no pass, the hangar manager and me would both be in deep shit), so I turned away from themas they passed. Checking they’d gone, I noticed a Ryanair guy grinning at me. I grinned back and said “In my town, you see coppers coming towards you and know your taxi’s here.” he laughed and we both got on with things.
A somewhat full and eventful day then. Got a taxi to my hotel (the Glen Park Hotel, in Ayr) and checked in. I went straight to my room to have a shower and freshen up, then wandered down to the bar for a pre-dinner pint. Very friendly place – everyone treated me like a local and a pleasant time was had. Dinner was superb, and I wandered back to the bar for a few beers prior to going to bed.
Got chatting to a group of lads and went into my bullshit mode trying to convince one of them I’d had to put my phone time forward 10 minutes because of the time difference* – he wasn’t buying that at all, and the conversation finally came around to music, he liked 50 Cent.
“Ah,” I cried, “Do you know he’s called 50 cent because his real name is Arthur Dollar?”*
Oh yes, I totally convinced him this was a fact – and I giggle to myself thinking of him passing this gem on 😀
A few pints later I went to bed and woke up about 3am streaming with sweat having had a dream that ended with a mate (Smiler) parking my car for me and ending up totalling it. As I lie there, I realised my car was safely in a CCTV covered carpark and was safe. I went back to sleep.
Next morning, had my breakfast and got a taxi back to the airport and caught my flight back to Stansted.
Just as I approached my car, I got a text from a mate saying he’d meet me at 3 in the Tudor, I texted back “no problem – see you then” and spotted that my rear nearside tyre was flat (only at the bottom mind).
Fucksocks was the thought going through my head. I reversed the car out just enough to have room to change the wheel, and got onto the M11 heading home listening to Radio2 as I went.
Got to my turnoff (the A428) and after a couple of miles the traffic became heavy and VERY slow moving. The radio hadn’t given any traffic alerts so I thought it would clear, so passed a turnoff which meant I could get on the back roads to home. Did the same a mile or so later thinking the traffic would clear (from the M11 to St Neots takes about 25 minutes usually – this had taken me about 45 so far). The traffic news finally came on and I found out a chemical spill on the A14 had closed the road and the emergency services had declared a 10 mile exclusion zone – I was caught up in the aftermath.
Fair enough, I took the next turning to take me through the villages and home. Checking the time, I had 15 minutes to drop my wheel at the tyre place for a repair, then meet Russ.
The traffic through town was jam packed due to the spillage – drivers now clogging up all the surrounding areas, but I got to the place. Guy took one look at my tyre and said it couldn’t be repaired as I’d run on it flat. I argued I’d only rolled the car back 2 feet to give me room, but he was having none of it. Enquiring about a new tyre he quoted me £80+. I decided to run on the spare for a while.
So, am I dreaming of things to happen? I dream my car gets totalled and end up with a puncture that needs a new tyre, and caught up in a huge traffic jam.
I have to try to dream about the Lotto numbers…
Off to Sweden next week – surely nothing can go wrong there? 😉
*Both courtesy of B3ta QOTW – ‘Bullshitting and bullshitters’