It took nine hours, two buses and a forty-five minute changearound before we got to Gatwick. It was cold and empty, and all the shops had closed. We lay across metal benches, steel arm-rests for pillows, kept awake all night by the sound of hoovers and Eastern Europeans.
I woke up when we landed at half past nine, then stood for an hour in a low-ceilinged hall with public-toilet tiles and bored-looking staff. Somewhere behind a phone kept ringing, unanswered. Otherwise there was just an occasional stamp and the shuffling of feet as we edged towards the faded red line.
Outside was greener than expected but every bit as hot. There were beige-coloured taxis and a bus was waiting, engine running. Snow-capped mountains hung like party decorations above the city. There wasn't a cloud in sight.
At last, Marrakech.