Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

The thing about travelling 10,000 miles, is that each journey feels like it might be the last.

Every time that I have left New Zealand, I have wondered how long it would actually be before I returned.

And each time I’m planning to leave the UK, I wonder if I will actually go through with it.

There’s a curious difference in perspective between those two questions. The difference is that I know I can stay in the UK forever if I choose, but time in NZ must be fought for.

Remaining in NZ forever is impossible at the moment.

On the other hand remaining in the UK forever, is so certain that it will happen even if I do nothing.

So, although I’ve spent most of my life in New Zealand for the past 2½ years, the law still insists that my home must be in the other place.

And the easier option is always tempting…

I kept a lower profile about my visit to the UK this time.

I only caught up with a few friends, like to have another jar with Mickey, ... have a coffee with Uncle Travelling Matt… do some more filming with John, (and to view last October's rushes together)... play Uno with Chris...

...and to beat Herschel at Road Rage.

I also revisited some old haunts…

...and enjoyed the spectacular local weather.

However I also had to look up flights.

Then I had to find cheaper ones. MUCH cheaper ones.

Then I had to actually book them.

I’ve said it so many times before, but I’ll put it yet again here:

My NZ life is harder than my UK one, but I need the challenge, or I stay asleep in bed all day.

The easier option is always tempting.

Somehow, just as the library was closing, I managed to buy a ticket.

So today, yet again I found myself saying goodbye to my mum at Heathrow Terminal 3. We ate some of the cricket chocolates, and vowed to finish the rest whenever I next come back. That’s the sort of long-term commitment my family makes. We’ll watch the next black-and-white Doctor Who story (The Dominators) at some point too.

So I boarded Cathay Pacific flight CX254, sat down, looked out of my port window at the dark London night sky, and waited for it to start taking me back.

It took a while. They had to de-ice the wings or something. So I looked at the mini-TV screen in front of me that would be my friend for the 12 hours to Hong Kong.

For some mad reason it was showing the live feed from the underside of the Airbus A340’s fuselage. I could see the airport technicians walking about just underneath me, vehicles driving past in the distance, and all the de-icing going-on. Between this and the view from the window next to me, it was like a stereoscopic image made for someone with their eyes a metre apart. I craned my head to look at everyone else’s screens, but no, I appeared to be the only passenger on the flight privileged enough to be getting these pictures. I watched, finding great fascination in something that was actually very trivial and mundane.

Eventually we taxied around the airport, and now I found my TV was showing the runway’s big stripes rolling under the plane’s front wheels, like a gigantic conveyor-belt. We increased in speed and bolted up the runway, the stripes now whipping underneath us like a running-machine set-on spurt mode. I had never experienced a take-off like this before. The best bit was that I would soon see London’s twinkling night-time landscape turning beneath us, as we cruised over the capital and climbed higher into the night.

Alas, as soon as our wheels had let go of the ground, the image snapped-off, never to return. Now I could merely see that we had over 12 hours to go until touching the ground again, and that would only get me as far as Hong Kong.

The same phrase as usual flooded through my brain.

“No turning back now…”


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