Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Operation Escape Christmas

The Brexit Grinch
Ruins your life, not just your Christmas 😢
Hi y'all. This is going to be one of those live-blogging thingies.

When all your Christmas presents for the foreseeable future consist of packets of paperwork, expense, bureaucracy and uncertainty as you struggle to save some shreds of the rights you cared about and had based your life around, (thank you, Brexit Grinch), it puts you right out of the mood. Consequently, we are attempting an escape to Finland. What Christmas is really about is Midwinter, so where better to go than the Arctic Circle (nearly).

There are no guarantees of success here, what with strikes, winter weather, technical problems on the London Underground, human error, etc, etc. Let's see how this goes.

Booking a trip: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Darned expensive, but since I often organize our trips myself, I have some insight into what I'm paying for. They made it easy.

Compulsory holiday insurance: ⭐⭐✩✩✩
I wouldn't trust these clowns to fork out a cent, but at least they didn't charge us much either.

Procedure for obtaining a child's leave of absence for the last half day of term: ✩✩✩✩✩
I followed the application instructions, submitted a request over a month in advance and received no response, so I assumed there was no problem. That's how it's always been in the past. In the middle of the afternoon the day before our departure, I received a letter saying the request was refused! WTF!!! If they told me even one week ago, I could have arranged a car pickup from the school. Too late now. I emailed them to tell them it was no longer possible to adapt our plans and requested an explanation. But I already know what the explanation is. This is just the kind of efficiency and regard for the impact of decisions that Brexit Britain is teaching us to expect.

Success in getting across London to Heathrow: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Clockwork. One hour and a half of clockwork. Go TFL!

The Heathrow airport 'experience': ⭐⭐⭐⭐✩
Yeah, right? Actually, I like airports, though not as much as train stations. Security was security with no extra badness, just a little light exhibitionism. Come to think of it, I don't like T3 that much. Are there really so many people who like perfume? So we went to the pub, got seats, got beer....

The flight actually succeeds in leaving London: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I think it was 10 minutes late, but it arrived early so who cares.

The Finnair 'experience': ⭐✩✩✩✩
God, but flying is just the suckiesr form of transport. It would be bad enough without turbulence, but there was turbulence. Also the food. We did not expect much, but since we paid 10 GBP per meal, I thought it would be at least as good as when the food was free. Instead, it was so spectacularly bad it was almost a work of art in its own right. Next time we come to Helsinki (next summer) we plan to do by train and boat. Never mind if it takes a week.

The flight actually succeeds in reaching Helsinki: ⭐⭐⭐⭐✩
Because it wouldn't really count as an escape if it didn't. As mentioned above, it was early, but it loses one star because the passengers shouldn't reaaly feel that relieved.

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