I’m rather confused, and slightly concerned, about what exactly happened to the three hours it took me to get home on Friday. I left college at 15:50 and arrived home at 18:50, which makes a three hour journey, yet when I add up the sections of the journey (eg. walking to the station – 25 mins, first train leg – 50 mins) I can’t for the life of me get a total of more than two hours. This is disconcerting. I have to wonder whether perhaps I actually set off at 16:50, or perhaps arrived home at 17:50. Either way, I’m cleary losing my marbles.

My brief sojourn in St Albans is in order to see my sister, who, as I mentioned previously, is back this weekend from 9 months in Tanzania. She was due to land early on Saturday morning, but when her flight out of Tanzania was delayed / cancelled / temporarily misplaced, she missed her connection at Muscat (the capital of Oman) and had to spend a night at a luxury hotel (at the airline’s expense). This wasn’t too much of a chore, and meant we could meet her at the much more civilised time of 8 o’clock Saturday evening.

I was thinking, and I reckon I’ve only twice been to meet people at an airport. The most recent time was my brother returning from a school trip to Iceland. (That’s right, I said Iceland. I know! In my day Geography field trips were to Dorset, or perhaps, if we were very lucky, the wild and exotic mountains of Wales. Kids these days, eh? Spoiled rotten…) The other time was when I was very young, and we were collecting my grandmother from the airport. It’s one of my more traumatic childhood memories, as my sister and I were seperated from our Mum by over-zealous lift doors. They ascended a full 4 floors before finally coaxing the lift back down. We were looked after by a very nice lady, into whose face we proceeded to scream loudly, and for many a year afterwards I was very nervous of lifts.

No such drama today, other than the usual stress that accompanies any family outing. It’s not that we can’t, as individuals, get ready, but that we never seem to be ready at the same time. It is suprisingly easy, after a couple of minutes waiting, to find that actually, you’re not ready at all; that you simply have to go upstairs for some vitally important thing, which strangely seems to have gone to ground in a dark and inaccesible part of the house. We seem to take shifts standing by the door, or perhaps sitting impatiently in the car, until random chance eventually dictates that we coincide, allowing us to finally be on our way. Though somewhat delayed in our departure, we were in plenty of time, even depsite the only traffic jam I’ve ever seen inside a multi-storey carpark. It was jammed pretty much solid, but fortunately a space opened up right in front of us. The people pulling out could barely move far enough to let us in, but that’s not our problem, is it?

To cut a long story short, or at least not much longer than it is already, Emily arrived safe and sound. Looking a little sunburned from her brief and unexpected sightseeing trip round Muscat, but otherwise well. The hardcore anti-malarial drugs she was given seem to have done the trick, and the journey wasn’t too arduous, despite the delay. In one way it’s very strange having her back, but in another it’s already like she never left. Whether this is because, fundamentally, she hasn’t changed in her nine months abroad, or whether she has simply slipped rapidly back into being the same Emily she was before she left, I don’t know. If she has changed, I suspect it’s that she’s even more driven, and passionately determined to help the people she got to know. I’m back to Cambridge again tomorrow, so I wont see her for long, but maybe I’ll suggest she comes to visit me some time this term.