It's time for the great trip home. So much to do this week I might have to stay in bed under the covers. And then, of course, there's the growing eruption in my stomach as I contemplate hurtling over the Atlantic, in the middle of the night, thousands of feet above freezing cold water. In short, I hate flying. I know it's irrational, I'm safer in a plane than in a car etc. but reason goes out the window at the slightest whiff of turbulence. (And the sodding clear air turbulence incident on the Continental flight from South America to Houston today didn't help matters.)
If you sat next to me on a flight, you wouldn't know that I was almost sick with fear. Well, if you glanced at my knuckles you might. I used to think my dread was due to the fact that I was making the journey alone with two very small children. It's almost impossible to travel with all the paraphernalia that's needed - car seats, pack-up cribs/cots, booster seats etc. Disturbingly,(if that's a word - it is now) the fact that all three are now old enough to board unassisted, and more or less entertain themselves on the flight hasn't registered with my subconscious. So it must be just the fact that I'm 38,000 feet above non-solid ground and not driving!
Funny really, because the one flight where I did have an "incident" found me rather calm in the face of it. I took the night flight with my then 3 and 5 year olds, from Chicago to Glasgow. An hour into the flight the pilot announced we were turning back as a light showed that there might be something wrong with a valve. It apparently could have just been the light but they weren't taking any chances. And my reaction? Annoyed that I would probably have to wake my two sleeping kids. Have you any idea how lucky a parent is to have both kids asleep within an hour of taking off? As we approached Chicago the pilot added the "... and another thing" nugget. Since we hadn't been able to dump the fuel on an unsuspecting USA, there would be a long line of fire engines on the runway, just in case.....
we weren't burnt to a crisp, AND they said we could stay on the plane; they were just going to mend it. Normally I might have been a tad worried about flying with a once-dodgy valve, but hey, my kids were still asleep and were actually getting almost a full night as opposed to six or seven hours. We eventually took off four hours after the scheduled departure time.
Then .....(oh there's more) a poor lady went into a diabetic coma of some sort on the floor in the kitchen area right behind our seats. Her family members were frantic and when no doctor appeared to be on this flight, I heard the flight attendants talking about radio-ing Rekjavik for landing permission. I know it's only a two hour flight from Glasgow, but we were all going to have to get off (ie. wake the kids up) and go through immigration. Fortunately for all, the woman came round and seemed none the worse for her experience.
As we approached our Glasgow landing, the plane suddenly aimed for the sky and everyone was pinned back in their seats. Anyone been in an aborted landing? We did another three of these, at which point I decided this flight was not meant to be and consigned myself to the inevitable. (I think I was so tired by this time as to be slightly deranged.) Obviously we were all fine, but when my mother saw my ashen face when I walked into the Arrivals lounge she guessed it had been a long night!
PS. In case anyone suggests I have a night cap - I would love to, except that on a flight when the Queenager was my only one (5 months) we had 3.5 hours of turbulence. I had a glass of wine to steady my nerves - and was filling up the sick bags about 30 minutes later!