Thursday, 8 October 2020

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 Goodbye 747s as this morning I watched the two take off from Heathrow on their final journey.    I hadn't realised that the tail fin was as high as a 6 storey building although I have flown many times on them.   The staff were all out watching and waving them off on their final journey it was very nostalgic and it set me thinking about flying and the many memories I have.

The first time I flew was in 1951.   I was engaged to be married and Malcolm, my first husband, was nine years older than me and had lived in China, been a prisoner of war in Thailand, convalesced in India after the war so was a seasoned flier.   I lived with my parents in the Lincolnshire Fens and had only been to London once - for the day.   So we went to London for the day on the train from Lincoln.   We were to meet two friends of his, which we did and we had lunch with them at a cafe in Trafalgar Square I think.   I know I had my first omelette (mushroom) - my mother did eggs (we had our own chickens) any which way but must never have heard of omelettes.  It all felt very sophisticated.   Then for the surprise.   My fiancee had booked for us to fly over London for half an hour from what was then London Airport.   It was a tiny plane.   I think it held about eight.  It was a bit scary as it did keep wobbling about and dropping suddenly.  I don't think I took a lot of notice of what was below us.   I remember  when Igot home my parents were very cross that Malcolm had taken such a risk!!

My next flight took place in 1953, the year after we were married, when we had a belated honeymoon = a week in Paris- I remember the hotel was on Le Rue Ceaumartin.  Again we flew from London Airport )I seem to remember it was a collection of very large nissen huts.   I know we flew out on an Elizabethan and back on a Viscount.  This time my parents knew in advance of course but asked not to know which actual day we were flying because they would have been so worried!

After that of cou rse our horizons broadened - many flights to far away places; so many that they tend to merge into one.   That is apart from many internal flights inside what was then the USSR from Moscow to Samarkand or Bukhara or Tashkent - all fairly short flights but often with a lot of babushkas who always seemed to be muffled in shawls (we usually went in mid winter because it was cheaper (our reason for travelling there anyway)) and laden with bags of root vegetables which rolled about in the aisles of rickety, wobbly little planes which often slipped about on the ice when they landed.

I will have taken my last flight now.   It was a short flight in 2016 with my beloved farmer the year before he died.   It was from Durham Tees Valley airport (barely three quarters of an hour's drive from home) to Amsterdam - down the East coast until the Humber estuary then out over the North Sea and ten minutes later views of the tulip fields, landing and cruising the river to Antwerp and back through what used to be called the Zuider Zee.    

Memories, memories - all lovely to recall on wintry days.

25 comments:

Derek Faulkner said...

It would be good to see air travel reduced even more than it currently is. Not only has it contributed greatly to global warming but the speed with which it can help spread virus's such as Covid-19 around the world is something to be concerned about.

Chris said...

Believe it or not I am 72 and I have never been on a plane. We have always travelled overland and ferry. We have always felt that the journey is part of the holiday and many places have been seen thus. I agree with Derek we should all travel less now as the planet is suffering. We will probably never go abroad again

Librarian said...

Your memories always make for an extra nice reading, Pat; I enjoyed this along with my afternoon coffee break. Thank you!
My first flight was at the age of 22, from Munich to Tunisia for a week of honeymooning with my first husband. I was not afraid at all but found it rather exciting. Since then, I have flown many times, both for work and for fun. I love flying with my pilot friend on a tiny ultra-light plane where you do indeed feel even the tiniest bit of air movement around the plane, but those occasions are few and far between.
Also, I very much agree with Derek; flying on the large scale that has steadily been increaing over the past few decades has a negative impact on our planet. My sister and I have been looking for ways to visit my family and friends in Yorkshire without travelling by plane, but both the length of the trip via trains and buses alone and the much higher cost make it rather unrealistic, and so I am afraid we will fly to the UK again when it is feasible to do so.

Sue in Suffolk said...

You are so well travelled so many lovley memories.
My only plane trip was to Spain and back many many years ago - once Col and I were together there was no time or money for travelling far and soon we had 3 children and a smallholding and even less time.

Brenda said...

Awww...memories...love them...can't wait for a vaccine to travel. I have flown so many times that I can't count them...my kids have lived across the country...one year to CA two times...one year FLorida four times...and so on...Not now though...too dangerous...this virus is real here in the U.S. and has hurt so many...I know this personally....keep wriring...

Sue said...

Fascinating to read your recollections of your early travels. My first experience of flying was a flight from Luton Airport to Benidorm in 1976! I was 20 years old.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Librarian I have only travelled by ferry once and I was very ill (I am easily travel sick), As most of my holidays have been spent longdistance - China, Canada, Russia, USA then going other than by flying was not an option. I think seeing the world is so important but I do agree with Derek and Chris - it is a dilemma.

Sue said...

I enjoyed reading your travel memories. Yes, we never forget our first flight. I was already married at 18 and flew from Seattle to Memphis Tennessee to meet my first husband who was in the Navy there. Somehow I figured out how to change planes in Chicago. We had no money for new clothes, so I carefully sewed myself a new outfit for the flight-- a print cotton dress with a matching print jacket. Oh, did I feel sophisticated.
As you say, other trips begin to blend together. Wish I'd kept some travel journals. Nothing like a blog for remembering the past.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

I loved reading your traveller's tales and have happy memories of flying myself. My flying days were between the age of 25 and 35, the last trip being to Morocco. I don't know if it was the contrast between the mud houses of the High Atlas and the glass and concrete of the airports, but somehow it didn't seem right to carry on whizzing round the world. The best flight of all was on a perfectly clear day crossing the Alps on the way to Venice; the pilot very sternly announced that everyone must stay in their seats and then banked the plane left and right to give everyone superb views of the mountains.

the veg artist said...

First flight was to Greece, last to Barcelona. The worst flight was a small plane to Paris, very rough, and so few of us on board that the staff brought out snacks one at a time as they couldn't control the trolley! I love all means of transport, especially boats, and have fond memories of Greek ferries with human and animal passengers, oil fumes belching out everywhere!

JayCee said...

Oh gosh. My first ever flight experience was at the age of eleven. My dad worked for the then BOAC and he qualified for a long-service free family flight anywhere in the world. He and my mum chose to fly to Sydney to visit my uncle and aunt who had emigrated there. That was an experience!!!

Barbara Anne said...

What lovely memories you have and it is a treat to read those you choose to share. I remember reading about the Zuider Zee in the Weekly Reader children's newsletter we got each week in elementary school.
My first flight was from Richmond, Virginia, USA to Washington, DC with my aunt, her friend from work, and two of that friend's children. I was 6 years old and the year was 1957.

Hugs!

Heather said...

I am by no means a seasoned traveller but have flown in a few different aircraft, ranging from the Channel Islands' Aurigny aircraft to the usual short haul holiday aircraft and then an enormous transatlantic airliner. I remember being rather nervous about flying in anything so large - it was quite a contrast to the little Aurigny planes which were a bit like buses with wings and flew quite low between the islands.

Chris said...

My first flight was in a two seater plane over the city and I was sick as a dog! We had decided not to fly here when we emigrated so sailed on the Empress of England from Greenock. I have been on many other flights since then but will always remember that first one.

The Weaver of Grass said...

\glad I have managed to trawl up a lot of memories for you all. They made such interesting reading so thank you all.

Bonnie said...

Thank you for sharing your lovely travel memories! I always enjoy reading your stories of your past experiences. I have taken quite a few flights within the U.S. but never out of it.

angryparsnip said...

Lovely posy today... brought up so many memories for me also.

Charles said...

I flew back from America as a boy, I think I was 9. I had been on a few internal flights in the USA prior to this, I always enjoyed them. My father was posted to the USA as he was in the army, we left in 1966 on the Queen Elizabeth which was much more fun. Since then I have flown a lot, I used to go to Antwerp at least 10 times a year, the same to Botswana, Namibia and RSA and then there was always a business trip somewhere else. I used to like the whole experience but the fun was sucked out by ever increasing security. When I retired the one joy was that at least you could not use the phone so no one could get hold of you, now they have WiFi on board so even that joy is removed.

Red said...

Your flight experience goes back long way. I flew on Viscounts. they were small but very nice planes.

Cro Magnon said...

I think my first flights were in the late 50's, early 60's, when flights to Spain and Italy became affordable to all. All prop' planes in those days.

Virginia said...

I remember reading your report of that Dutch trip Pat. My first trip was as an 8 year old, flying to meet family for the first time. Later I used to ring my mother when I’d got a cheap”standby” seat from Wellington where I was at university, and she’d get in her car and drive, hell for leather, up to Timaru, 50 miles away, wile I flew the 350 miles in the same time. It was very cheap for me to get home that way.

thelma said...

My first flight as a child was to Torremolinos, before it got changed into a modern monstrosity. The plane was very bumpy, and the pilot seemed unsure over the mountains. They looked very near underneath ;)

The Weaver of Grass said...



Thanks to you all - pooled memories make a good read.

Tom Stephenson said...

I didn't fly until in my early 20s. I still get a rush of excitement on take off, but I cannot stand airports now.

Rambler said...

What a very interesting post and resulting comments, all about a variety of memorable flights. My first flight was when I was 49 years old, to Israel where one of my sons had gone for his gap year before University. He was volunteering on Mount Carmel and I was accompanied on my trip by a friend. Didn't realise until too late that he was a very impatient man, resulting in a shortage of photos because we walked/ran everywhere at top speed. He was also useless at being navigator while I drove our rented car, but then angrily blamed me for getting us lost! To cap it all, our flight back from Israel was in an ancient old crate, seemingly held together with tape and rope! Never again!
- Rosemary