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Today, to the uncharted depths of Heathrow airport to deliver the parentals to Terminal 3 for their evening flight to Beijing. They're doing one of those Voyages Jules Verne style packages so beloved of the English middle classes, 'Treasures of China,' I think it's called, which means a succession of luxury hotels and guided tours and just enough contact with actual people to make you think you've travelled somewhere without puncturing your Western-Er-Bubble TM. I guess it's probably actually as good an introduction to a country as far removed from our way of doing things as China, but I can't help feeling it misses something. Who am I to talk? With my feet, something like that would probably be ideal for me. I wanted very much to go off backpacking independently at one time in my life, but reasoned I'd probably wind up slipping on rocks and hurting myself unneccessarily.

Heathrow is beginning to bear more than a passing resemblance to a fortress. The last time I was at Terminal 3 it seemed quite laid back, but today there was a huge jam to get into the drop-off zone, there were guards doing kerbside luggage searches, there were policemen marshalling the traffic, there were at least six people in blue Kevlar packing some serious firepower. One hopes they were police as well - the regular cops didn't seem to be making any effort to stop them so I assume they weren't mingling terrorists.

As for Ken Livingstone, argh. I like the guy because he got his revenge on the Dread Harridan Thatcher in the end and that's always a good thing, but sometimes he comes out with the most outrageously offensive shit and you just want to smack him in the face. Friday's shooting at Stockwell is not collateral to chalk up to the baddies, I think rather it's the result of inadequate training and inexperience, and for Livingstone to suggest otherwise is really quite distasteful. One thing I do admit is I'm curious as to why this guy ran. By all accounts he was here legally and spoke good English, so there's no reason for it, unless he thought they were onto him for something else. I have a bad feeling the enquiry is not going to change matters any.

It all makes me feel like I wasn't actually scared before last Thursday. I really wasn't. And now I kind of am.

December 2011

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