I have always adored airports .
I realise this isn’t a fashionable idea. Most travellers find them dull, expensive and quite often irritating. But I have always had a fascination with these hubs of aviation!
Perhaps it was my father, who was wont to drive my poor mother, sister and I to the perimeter fence at ‘Heathrow’, and then encourage us to spectate, as the various aircraft did their thing, that gave me this aerial fascination.
I’m not grateful for much of which he imbued me, but for the love of a runway and a hanger, I shall be forever thankful!
After one has cleared passport control and is free of baggage, it is almost akin to entering ‘No Man’s Land’. Terminally trapped until take-off, the passenger has no option but to give in to the artificial country in which one must reside, until they are told to board their respective aircraft.
Shopping, eating and imbibing overpriced beverages seem to be the only way to spend one’s time – other than fingering the testers at the ‘Clarin’s’ counter! And, of course, over spraying, like a bitch on heat, with the ‘Estee Lauder’!
I love it!
By the time I’m flashing my boarding pass to the aircrew, I’m usually stuffed with fast food, half cut, and smelling like a Parisian hooker!
Were I chief stewardess, I doubt I’d let me onboard!
Our latest aerodrome escapade has begun at the bijoux airport in Gibraltar. What it lacks in charm, it makes up for in cheap ‘Stolichnaya’!
We are on route to Luton! That famous airport from which the lovely Lorraine Chase famously made her way, after tanking up on a bottle of Campari! This unfashionable Bedfordshire town is not our final destination, we are actually on route to the more salubrious city of Cambridge, to perform at a birthday function, for a particularly charming couple who came across us on the beach! Not literally, of course!
At present I am squashed into seat 18F, on a particularly turbulent flight. It’s not that the weather is bad, but there is a kindergarten full of screaming toddlers, and the woman in 18D looks as if she hasn’t just chewed a wasp, but has managed to swallow the whole nest! As I asked to pass her , on route to the lavatory, I thought she might attempt to stab me with her plastic fork, with which she was dipping greedily into her airline pasta. An unwise dish, in my opinion, especially as she had the build of a Lancaster Bomber and was already partly blocking the aisle!
God forbid we should need to use the emergency slide, as I believe she’d probably deflate the entire apparatus!
Talking of deflation, I am seated alongside my miserable husband, who does not share the same interest in flying as I do. I would usually blame his malaise on the lack of nicotine, but on such a short flight this doesn’t seem probable, even for a tobacco addict such as him! Perhaps it is the discomfort of being wedged between a frenetic homosexual blogger and Ms Michelin!
He certainly doesn’t look comfortable!
But then, mid air, he never does!
Some of us have good altitude, and others, a bad attitude!
Sadly my long haul lover falls into the latter category. I am dreading our next extended flight to Bombay. Let’s hope I get upgraded!
As the terribly friendly trolley-dolly passed me my gin and tonic he asked if Andrew was OK. Yes, I replied. He’s not always like this at 30,000 feet! I decided to leave out the fact that he can be quite as flighty even when grounded!
Well, it’s not always a smooth flight is it? Even after twenty- five years in the cockpit together!
But I still love it. Flying I mean!
‘In between’. It’s like I have always lived my life like this. Never truly fitting in – but somewhere in the middle. Floating free. Perhaps I should have been a pilot. I certainly thought about it as a career very seriously when I was a boy. But then I decided on another, more interesting form of transport – Cabaret! Taking my passengers to an altogether different destination, though equally as exotic!
As the dreadful tinny voice of the stewardess announces that her next service will be trying to shove charity scratchcards down our necks, an elegant septeganarian comes over to speak to me.
‘Are you off to the UK to do a performance?’She asks. Obviously recognising us.
‘Yes’, I reply,(slightly pretentiously), ‘we have a gig at The Hilton in Cambridge’.
‘Oh, how wonderful’, she responds gracefully.
‘And you?’, I ask, politely.
‘I’m going back for my sister in law’s funeral’, she says flatly. ‘And my mother died six weeks ago! It’s not been a great year!’
‘Oh. I’m so sorry’, I commiserate.
‘We’ll, that’s life’, she responds, somewhat ironically.
Then the aircraft shudders, almost like an intense emotional response to the charming lady’s recent grief, and we are immediately instructed to belt up.
As we shake and stir amid a heady cocktail of air pressure, I sip heavily on my ‘Bombay Sapphire’ and my ears decide to inform me, mercilessly, that we are making our descent!
Sadly it is time to come back down to earth!
And now onto Cambridge – and the reason we have made the journey.
Our temporary lodgings are fortunately overlooking the river Cam.
And we do so love a punt!
So it could be fun!