4am at Heathrow

– Are you up?? 4am!

– Shhhhh bed time Jax

I smiled sleepily into my pillow, and rolled over, forcing a brush through my hair and pulling on yesterday’s jumper. Within half an hour, he had pulled over in front of my AirBnB. The time read 4:37am as we drove into his friends driveway, picking up one straggler and letting the other (who had clearly slept through his alarm) sleep the morning away.

“This is probably the craziest thing you’ve ever made me do,” he said, pulling the hood from his jacket over his head as the morning cold blew into our faces. We were buzzed, excited by the fact that most of London was still sound asleep. Only the giants of the sky were roaring with life.

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A380 after A380, 747 and 777 and a cheeky couple of 787’s blew over our heads, so close to where we were standing, gawking at the sky, then spending the minutes in between each landing shivering and laughing at how ridiculous coming to the airport for plane spotting was at this time.

“I’ve got another spot we can go to!” his friend declared, and so we all rushed back to the car, jumping a hedge to get back towards the road, nearly falling as my bag caught a branch and I bounced atop the dense hedge.

The next spot was decidedly less close, but from here we were afforded a clear view of the tarmac rather than the skies, and were able to marvel at the beauty of tens of BA planes all stationed at their gates.

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As suddenly as there was calm, there was a storm. Police sirens could be heard way back towards the main road, but our eyes remained fixated on the planes.

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“Can you imagine if the police were coming for us,” someone remarked. We all laughed it off – famous last words those were!

Within minutes, the three police officers were strolling towards us. We thought about walking towards them as well, acting as if we were on our way to leave, but thought better of it as they neared our little perch.

“Morning,” they said in near-perfect unison, grinning when they realised we were just three kids out for a morning adventure. “We’ve had a couple calls from drivers worried that you three were out over on the other side of this here fence.”

“Really?!”

“Happens all the time. So, we’ll just need to get your ID and we’ll phone it into the station. No harm done,” one officer said as he began writing our details down on a pad. He saw my Australian licence and laughed one of those big-bellied laughs. “We smashed you guys in the rugby last weekend.”

“…You probably did,” I laughed nervously, wanting to sound welcoming but not really having any clue about rugby whatsoever – thankfully, the boys took over on that one, and steered the conversation somehow back to planes.

“You kids have fun, but don’t stay out too long it’s bloody freezing!” the officers waved as they wandered back to their cars, and we were sat laughing at how our morning escapade had suddenly resulted in us all having receipts for ID checks from British police. Crazy morning!

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