Saturday, July 08, 2006

Home, at last!

The crazy events of 7/7 have now affected our London trip two years in a row... only this time London was fine. Dublin was the problem!!!

I'll write about the Summer School very soon, but for now, I just want to focus on the journey home. Getting on the Underground yesterday was a very strange experience. The breakfast news programmes had special editions remembering the bombs from the year before, and showing people who had been affected. In everyone's mind was a sort of trepidation and fear - to an extent - asking could it happen again? Could there be more bombers in the trains?

At the best of times, no one speaks on the Underground - which led to Standeley and me getting some funny looks as we talked away (the loud Norn Irish accents probably didn't help!), but even more so on that day. Thankfully the trains were still running, and on time, so we didn't have any disruption. It looked like we would be abble to get home after the conference finished with no problems.

Until we heard there had been delays at Dublin airport. A suspect package had been found, and a controlled explosion had taken place, leading to the complete evacuation of the airport, and severe delays. So when we got to Stansted, they said there were delays of an hour for our flight. So instead of 21:50, it would be 22:50. Hm... means we would get into Dublin at just after midnight, but shouldn't be too bad.

So we got checked in (they were closing check-in at the normal time anyway...) and went through to the security bit and looked in the shops. Then we went and found our gate... which had been changed from 43 to 56, so away away as far as you could walk. And as we sat, the delay got longer, to 23:45, then to 00:00, then to 00:15 (these were the estimated times on the board). Then the decree came from on high that we should go to gate 48 - so back up to there... But on the way, we got talking to some interesting people - a guy from Dublin who had been visiting his mum in a nursing home in London, and Leaka (pronounced Lika), a Slovakian living in London and coming over to visit her friend in Dublin to go for a tour to the west coast. We ended up talking to her the rest of the time in the lounge and then on the plane, and managed to get the gospel into the conversation several times, just as it naturally arose!

We landed in Dublin at about 1:45, so by the time we got bags and into the car park and away, it was 3:30 before we were back in Dromore. Ouch! Not very pleasant at all - especially with the petrol light coming on at Newry!

So that's the first report from home of the events of the past week, but I have so much more to talk about... it's just finding the time to get it written. Tomorrow night I'm preaching in the Cathedral (8pm), so please be praying about that!

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