Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Nipples ... Paisley ... and overtaking Heathrow Express trains

Until I read this morning's Independent I didn't know we had a word to describe those who have chosen not to come home to NI after studying over in the mainland.

In some circles - the press at least - they're NIPPLES - Nothern Ireland Prodestant Professionals Living in England and Scotland. Often described as a Protestant issue - but not exclusively.

The reference was in a piece by David McKittrick subtitled "the Big Man makes a long journey" - describing the road that led up to yesterday's meeting between the DUP and Archbishop Sean Brady.

Earlier in the same issue, Pandora mentions that "Unioist firebrand Ian Paisley has informed Downing Street that he and his wife Eileen celebrate their golden wedding anniversary on Friday" - so he'll have to leave Scotland by 4pm on Friday afternoon to get back to a long-standing family function.

Sitting beside Willie McCrea in the bmi Heathrow lounge, I wonder if I should ask him if he's remembered to get the Paisley's a present!

When I started typing this with my thumbs on a PDA, I was stuck on a very slow Heathrow Express service, that had been crawling towards the airport for over half an hour, with unfamiliar views out of the window.

Definitely not following the usual route. There's a dead train on a track somewhere, and disruption due to the consequential rerouting of services around it.

But it felt quite wrong to be overtaken by another Heathrow Express service. There's always a point in the journey when you look out the window to see a familiar blue-liveried train going in the opposite direction. But not one speeding past you!

Turns out that it set off from Paddington long before us, and got caught up in the backlog on the main line, and has finally broken free. We eventually got into Heathrow T1/2/3 after it cleared the platform. And a strangely quiet Terminal 1 with no queues at security.

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