Celebrity, and England of the welcomes

I had a quick visit to London last week, and unusually flew to Heathrow because the Belgian trains were on strike and Eurostar was going only as far as Lille. The flight over was very slow boarding; a lot of passengers were clearly transferring from an African flight, and their visa status was being checked with what seemed to several of them to be deliberate lack of speed.

I was hailed in the queue by a fellow passenger, an Ulsterman living in Slough, who recognised me from my BBC election broadcasts. He was returning to England with his Ugandan wife from Christmas with her family. It seems that there is no longer a direct flight from Heathrow to Entebbe (which I find extraordinary) so the best way is to take the Brussels flight that starts in Kigali and takes on more passengers after a short hop east.

We chatted about Northern Irish politics (I imagine he doesn’t find many fellow enthusiasts for that subject in Slough, let alone Uganda) and then parted company as we boarded; he had to wait for the rest of his family to get through. At the end of the short flight, we were told that the UK Border Agency would be waiting for us at the door and would check every passenger’s passport as we disembarked. They did not check mine, and it was fairly obvious why not.