I've thought about podcasting this and have already made a couple of "episodes" which I may or may not publicise, but I'm not entirely happy because they require loads of production and stuff. It's harder to riff when you've got no ability to go back and correct stuff or do it better before publishing. But we'll see. Or hear.
Anyway. Yes. I'm at Heathrow, with Helen, who is yet to dump me in real life but did do just that in my dreams last nght. Apparently in her dreams, I cheated on her. What a secure couple we are, eh? It's her birthday in a couple of days and for a treat I got us a night in the Thistle hotel, attached to T5, sort of, via the pods which link the terminal and business parking lot B. Salubrious it is not, but the way to reach it is by the awesomeness of the pod.
When I first booked it, I said to her, we're staying in the hotel with the pods. And she shought I meant some kind of odd hotel where you crawl into an MRI scanner and kip for the night. But no, these pods are personal monorails. Hear that? Fucking personal monorails. The carriages are standalone and rather than scheduled on a timetable or constantly moving like cable cars, they park themselves and you self-operate: press a button, the doors open, press a button, the doors shut, press a button, you get a recorded voice apologsing for the slight delay, and then are you off on a 5 minute odyssey skirting around the western edges of the runways. Like the tamest rollercoaster in the world mixed wth Docklands light railway. They aren't actually monorails because there's no rail, but I'll let that slide. Suffice to say I was happier than a pig in shit, and even more delighted that Helen too was absolutely loving it - so much so she was disappointed the ride only lasts 5 minutes.
At the other end you walk through the car park, ring a bell to open a steel gate, and through the "grounds" of the Thistle. It's not special on the outside, far from it, all square and grey bricks. Inside is OK, reception were pleasant though did pre-charge me for £120 for things for the room which seemed a bit much. After putting our stuff in 171, which itself was a 10 minute walk from reception but had runway (and pod!) views, we wandered to the bar and perched on their planespotter terrace directly opposite T5. I totally nerded out with flightradar24 and we spent a good hour playing the 'guess where that plane is going' game.
The restaurant opened, so we went inside and ate. The burger was surprisingly nice, as was the fish and chips. The Guinness was OK too, in fact the whole place is definitely worth a £59 stay for all the nerdiness on top (mind you, the pods cost a fiver too - but you can ride them for free if you just go to the car park and back).
Up and at 'em at 5am, we showered and got ready because it was first class o'clock. But what little I have to say about that (so far) must wait, because we've got a plane to catch.