A 12-to-13 hour flight is a bit of a killer. But we did the best we could en route from Singapore to London – sleeping (as far as that’s possible, jammed in our seats in an upright position), reading, watching movies and playing Solitair on that tiny screen, and (at one stage) having a very schoolboyish pillow-fight – which I, of course, had nothing to do with. 

We touched down at Heathrow Airport at 6:20am, and staggered sleepily out into the arrivals area expecting to be met and transferred to our hotel. But somebody must’ve had a bad day at the Orient Lines office a few weeks back, because they weren’t expecting us until tomorrow. Result: we sat like zombies in Terminal 3 for several hours until a motley convoy of cars, mini-vans and black London taxis was commandeered to take us all to the Hilton London Kensington Hotel.

By then, all some of us had the energy for was sitting in the bar, watching the 4th race in the America’s Cup (Bit disappointing, eh!)

04-London Big BenTonight, most of our group shook off their weariness and headed down the road on foot to a restaurant the concierge had recommended. The meal turned out to be great, and the company was, of course, world class. But we hadn’t counted on getting half-drowned in a chilly London downpour on the way there – and we arrived at the restaurant looking like something the dog dragged in (and scaring other patrons away, I’m sure)!

Every tour has a day when the yoghurt hits the fan, and this has been it. Our mad midlifers have kept laughing and coped well with everything that’s come unstuck, but we’re all looking forward to bed (and a chance to sleep horizontal instead of vertical wrong).

TOMORROW: We’ve got a day on our own – to relax, freshen up, snooze, shop, or explore this grand old city in a big red double-decker bus, perhaps, or the Underground. And some oh-so-familiar place-names await us: Trafalgar Square … Kings Cross … Liverpool Street … Piccadilly Circus …

Then, in the evening, we’ve got our Midlife Madness welcome dinner: a luxury Bateaux Cruise on the River Thames – yee-haa!

Talk to you later … JOHN