I’ve two books in my bag to read but instead I do what I always do and buy a film magazine and a copy of Private Eye from WHSmiths. I’ll read the film magazine on the plane, then carry it around with me for the rest of the holiday before throwing it away as soon as I get home.
Apart from a flick through the first few pages the Private Eye will remain unread.
I walk around the departure lounge. Where ze hell is McDonald’s? I want a thin burger. I want a sugary white bun. I want crisp golden fries. Or a Burger King. It’s an unwritten yet universal law that every Western airport must have one, the other, or both. Gatwick has neither and I wander onwards, in limbo.
Reassuringly Weatherspoons remains, as it always will; a squat, solid presence, sulking in the far corner of the airport lounge.
Twenty minutes till the gate opens.
The air conditioning dries my throat and raises the hairs on my bare arms. A conspiracy between airport management and Boots I think suddenly, forcing the unsuspecting, unwilling shopper to pay for bottled water. A more evolved con than the transparent drink/popcorn combination favoured by cinema chains.
Blue vinyl seats beneath a departures screen.