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Tuesday - Home by way of Tikka Mix
[Okay, let's get this finished off, finally. Time for the last day...]

Our flight on Tuesday was late afternoon; Kate and Peter were both nervous about how much margin we needed to leave for the joys of Heathrow, but it was clear that we had a few hours to start with.

So we wandered back to Walthamstow Market (last seen, closed and quiet, on Sunday) again. Now, things were bustling and crowded: people and stores of every imaginable ethnicity crammed in side-by-side:
You'd see a Polish restaurant next to a Halal butcher, next to a stand that just sells naan. It was fascinating, although after half an hour of it I actually started getting rather claustrophobic.

So Kate hauled me into a nice little sort of Indian cafe-slash-sandwich joint. It was there that we discovered the wonder of Tikka Mix:
I had known intellectually that Tikka Masala was the national food of England, but this was a revelation: chicken shredded in a rather good tikka sauce, plus a bit of corn and scallions to provide some extra complexity. They served it in a number of ways. Kate got it on top of a jacket (baked) potato. I had it as a grilled panini with cheese, which was surprisingly excellent. Basically, they treat chicken tikka as a sort of alternate chicken salad, only far yummier. I will have to make this myself at home.

When we got back to the house, Peter reminded us that we should look for scotch at the duty-free. He recommended a particularly excellent one that apparently is mostly found there:
Having tasted a good deal of his scotch during the trip, we took that advice quite seriously.

And then, Tube to Heathrow. Of course, since we were certain that the lines at Heathrow would be horrible and long, there turned out to be nothing at all -- we breezed right through checkin, baggage and security in just a few minutes. I hypothesized that the date (which, if you've been following carefully at home, you will note was September 11) had convinced a lot of people to not fly that day.

So with time to kill, we wandered into the duty-free to sample Scotch. They did indeed have the Glenrothes Peter recommended -- for 80 pounds. It was at this point that we understood that he has *much* better taste in Scotch than we do: we seriously considered it, but decided that that was more than twice the most I've ever paid for a bottle. So we instead picked up two bottles of good-but-not-*that*-good scotch (one of them a different Glenrothes), and vastly too much chocolate.

The flight itself was more pleasant than expected -- no business class this time -- mostly because it was pretty empty. It was the first widebody 747 I've been on in some years, and we were alone in the middle part of the row:
So with much-welcome elbow room, we settled in for the six-hour flight.

I mostly entertained myself with the surprisingly decent movie selection, which included no less than six movies on my "to watch" list. I started out with Dark Shadows. This was, to put it bluntly, bloody awful. I expect inconsistency from Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, but this was just mixed up -- they clearly couldn't decide whether it was a straight melodrama or being played for laughs, with the result that it didn't work on either level. The cast was quite decent, but couldn't do anything with the wretched script.

Fortunately, the second movie was one that had *not* been on my list, but which Kate encouraged me to check out, Snow White and the Huntsman. Just as Dark Shadows was astonishingly bad, this was surprisingly good. Not terribly deep, mind, but a nicely nuanced portrayal of the story, with great leads. Snow White comes across as a sort of Joan of Arc in training more than an ingenue (a very consistent interpretation nowadays -- everyone seems to have decided that Snow White is the tough fairy-tale lead). But the show gets almost completely stolen by a brilliant portrayal of the evil Queen, who comes across as almost sympathetic on a regular basis -- only to remind you that she is, in fact, bugfuck insane. Recommended, especially if you like Once Upon a Time or Fables.

And that was about it. No crises on the way home -- no lost luggage, no problem finding a taxi, just home, unpack, and *splat* into bed at about 2am London time. Trip completed on a good note, just as we were getting about ready to be Home for a while...

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I don't check bags, I don't buy anything at duty free. On Monday (the 15th) the time it took me from walking out of the tube at Terminal 3 to being in the shopping mall where one waits for gate listings was 20 minutes. No line at the boarding pass machine, 10 minutes to get through security. This is typical of my Heathrow experience, but of course I dutifully allow the suggested hours just in case. My recollection is that the pre-September 11th security checks took a good bit longer.

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