Time Travellers

Such is the miracle of modern transport that we landed at Newcastle airport yesterday at 11.15 am, having left Auckland in New Zealand at 9.15pm the night before. It's a distance of 12,400 miles via Dubai where we changed flights. Excluding the 2 hours we spent in transit at Dubai, that equates to a thousand miles per hour, easily beating the speeds of Formula 1!

The truth, however, is far more exciting because we actually indulged in time travel and that despite leaving the Doctor (Who? No, our son) in New Zealand. I apologise: being out of the country over the Christmas period means that I have, of course, missed the pantomime season.

Between departing the tarmac in Auckland and arriving at Newcastle, we took 2 flights of 17 and 8 hours' duration respectively; ate 2 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner and several snacks; drank numerous glasses of champagne and water (mainly the latter, honestly); watched 6 films and a complete season of a BBC comedy programme; slept fitfully for a total of 6 hours; sipped soft drinks during our changeover at possibly 2.30 am, 6.30 am or 3.30 pm, depending which time zone we felt most association with.

You won't be surprised to know that we emerged zombie like onto homesoil and were greeted by a grey sky and a measly temperature of 6 degrees celsius. After a month basking in the summer sunshine of the southern hemisphere, I’d like to say that the cold shook us back into reality but instead we crashed into a taxi for another hour's travel before entering chez nous in a state best described as verging on comatose.

It is certainly strange how adrenalin can keep you running when you arrive on foreign shores whereas returning home drains the system and lacks that organic superfood boost.

We did make a serious effort to fight the fatigue, managing to open a pile of Christmas cards and brown envelopes heaped on the doormat before retreating to bed for the remainder of the afternoon, hot water bottles in hand. We then forced ourselves to stay up until 11 pm, reacquainting ourselves with the comforts of home all the while incapable of meaningful movement or conversation.

Falling into bed exhausted and aiming for a night of recovery; it was not to be. Time travel is cruel. A meagre 5 hours sleep is all I got, yes just 5 hours and then at 4 am my befuddled brain rengaged, sparks ignited and I was up and bouncing around.

Ugh, I have an awful premonition that it is the beginning of a pattern that will persist for yet a few more days, intruding into the hectic world of retirement where there is still so much to achieve. It is certainly proof that long distance time travel is very much the preserve of those with stamina or alternatively of those with the leisure time to recover; I know which category I fall into. Still I suppose that makes me living proof that in retirement you can achieve what only those with strength and resilience can do otherwise!


  1. Yikes what a long trip! That is why I haven't gone to Australia yet. I did once have an 11 hour layover in Iceland and only managed to fall asleep on a bench in the last hour of waiting!

    1. Yes, the stops to change flights are awful too - have to allow sufficient time to make sure your bags are going to be transferred and a shower for yourself, but anything longer just gets uncomfortable. We avoided that on the way out with 2 days in Dubai but it didn’t ease the jet lag.

  2. I'm envious of you getting to visit Auckland, but absolutely not of that debilitating jetlag. It sounds awful! We just had an hour's time change between Portugal and Spain and that's quite baffling enough for me!

  3. You certainly have travelled a lot lately! I always find the trip home much harder than the trip over.

    1. I do find travelling south breaks up the winter which is beneficial; I’m not so sure about the journey home.


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