Finally, we made it home yesterday morning at 11am. I lasted about an hour before going to bed to catch up on sleep - I can't sleep on planes. Apart from a few hours yesterday evening I slept through to this morning.
We left our hotel in Christchurch at 11am on Wednesday so it took 2 days to return, except that New Zealand is 13 hours ahead so if you add that into the mix it actually took 2.5 days to return. It was a long way and most of that time was spent flying (over 25 hours) or hanging around at airports!
I don't understand why when you get off a plane for less than an hour while they clean and refill it you have to go through another security check, which means another hand-check of my film. On the whole trip the only place that would not do a hand-check of my film was London Heathrow. Sydney and New Zealand do checks both going in and out of the country, so that meant 6 hand-checks plus 2 at Hong Kong making 8 in total for my film.
I took 123 rolls with me from the UK, Ilford kindly had another 100 rolls delivered to my hotel in Sydney to avoid some of the possible x-ray scans. Of these, 195 were exposed and the remaining 28 rolls were unused; 99 rolls were processed in Wellington in New Zealand to avoid any possible x-ray damage on the return trip. I would have liked to have had another 80-odd rolls processed but the timings didn't work out.
Unfortunately, staff at the scanners think they know better than anyone what the effects of x-rays on film are. I know differently, having worked for Ilford for 21 years, including running the department that saw a lot of the customer enquiries after x-ray damage to their film, and I have seen x-ray fogging on my FP4 120 after just 3 passes through x-ray machines.
Now I'm wading through the 1648 emails that were waiting for me on my pc, about 80% were spam. I had kept up with most while away using my Blackberry but I have to go through the whole lot again once I return. We also shipped all the book orders today and revived my Amazon shop.
The builders have finished the work on the house. This included extending the gallery so most of today was spent putting things back and hanging pictures on the walls. It looks good now though. Just the computers to move back and it's pretty much sorted.