The run-up to Christmas is set to be hectic, with trips to Glasgow next week, then Belfast and at least one more to Aberdeen before the festivities. Yesterday, with the boat booked for the 14 hour (via Orkney on a Thursday)voyage home, I cracked at the prospect of yet another 'severe force nine' gale, and switched at the last minute to the plane. You can do this because NorthLink Ferries let you cancel right up to sailing time, and give full refunds too.
It was financially viable because of the ADC (Air Discount Scheme) dreamt up by our (currently, and yet again, beleaguered by the media) MSP Tavish Scott. Whose current attempted beard is a result of looming Up Helly Aa cavorting, I fear. This (the ADC, not the beard or Up Helly Aa) provides Scottish island residents with reduced fares depending on the largesse of the airlines involved, and how busy the flights are. So last night I was able to get on the (peak demand) 18.30 flight home for £100 one way. A lot considering the cost of a Greasyjet return to Palma from Glasgow, admittedly, but almost the same as a premium cabin one-way tumble-dry-fast-spin jaunt on the ferry. You can sometimes get the redeye from Aberdeen to Shetland for £20.
A smooth, pleasant flight, but infuriatingly, the bus that's supposed to meet the plane and take you from the airport to Lerwick had left literally minutes before anyone could get their luggage from the carousel. This happens all the time and is an unforgivable piece of nonsense. Fortunately our pal Veronica was at Sumburgh to pick up her daughter and ran me to Lerwick where the Maverick was sitting at the docks, caked in salt from seaspray. The Maverick's a car, not a horse.
As it turns out, the storm didn't hit until this morning, and the boat trip was probably pretty smooth. Still, I'm here, Phenergan-free and relatively awake.