It's stupid o'clock in the morning. I have an early morning flight because the travel office successfully failed to book the afternoon one I asked for, so there's a taxi waiting to take me to the airport at 6am. I'm a little concerned that the effect of of weather and Haj will conspire to make me late for my flight, however the alternative is getting out of bed earlier, so I'll just have to risk it.

As it turns out, I needn't have worried. The taxi driver has helpfully driven down the pavement up to my house (the road's walled off) to wait, and the drive into Jeddah reveals him to be suitably crazy. Highlights include being told by the police at a checkpoint to slow down, and him getting out of the car to move a barrier out of his way to allow us to park right in front of the terminal.

Check in is fast, and security is even faster as the two guards interrupt their chat briefly to wave me through. I'm in the departure lounge about an hour after leaving my front door.

First order of business after getting back is a frenzied search for my whisky in my parents' house, after it's been helpfully tidied. I have a quick unpack and repack to do before getting on a train tomorrow for Runcorn, jewel of the northwest, and I shall be needing to take whisky with me.

I've come back from Jeddah with some exciting virus, and that night is spent with a fever, shivering under a vast pile of blankets.

Just call me Patient Zero.

Add a comment