T is for Titan and Tuscany
As in Titan Airways. I sent them a lovely letter and they didn’t bother to reply, so I don’t know why I’m bothering to give them this mention and invaluable publicity! Anyway, the letter will tell the tale…
Dear Titan Airways
I appear to be alive – thanks to you.
My partner’s daughter decided to get married – in Tuscany. This involves flying. I don’t do flying. I did once do flying in 1970-something. I was so traumatised by the experience that I hired a car and drove back from France even though I had paid for a return ticket!
I thought about the importance of Tuscany very rationally. I’ve had a good life. I have nothing to do that I’ve always wanted to do – because I’ve done it all! I’ll be with the man I love, and my own daughter is well settled with a nice chap of whom I thoroughly approve.
So – with an almost calming feeling of Que Sera Sera, and gripping John’s wrist so tightly that his arm had gone a worrying shade of blue, I committed myself to the terrifying journey down that ‘tube of death’ that leads you to the plane. I had brief thoughts of cattle and abattoirs. It must have been my unnaturally wide eyes and the strange panting I was doing through a semi-closed mouth that alerted the chief stewardess. I had said nothing, but as we boarded, she looked past John and said to me,
“Are you alright”. I said “Yes…Yes…NO”
“Just let me know if there’s anything I can do to help” (I fell in love with her at this point).
“I want a drink as soon as I can”, I said with an urgency that I was ashamed of.
We made our way to our seats. I temporarily released my grip of John’s wrist to allow the blood to return to his veins. An air hostess arrived (from the back of the plane) and asked me if I was alright. With an attempt at sane, controlled, and calm humour, I said, “News travels fast”
“Would you like a drink?”
“Yes please. Any chance of a gin and tonic?”
As the plane hadn’t even moved yet, I thought this was all very civilised.
The Captain announced that ‘Christine’ would be at the controls. I found this most re-assuring. Everyone knows that a good woman driver is far better than a man – and she was obviously a good driver, otherwise she wouldn’t be left in charge of a plane.
Taking off was bad. I started the strange breathing thing again and clasped my hands over my ears. Didn’t like the sound of the screaming engines. I started uncontrollable shaking and spilled some of my gin and tonic onto my lap. Not good. Then we were level and the plane was much quieter. The G and T hostess appeared and asked if I would like another drink. John chuckled and said that the alarm had obviously gone out that the mad woman in Row 18 needed to be dealt with. I didn’t find it funny and didn’t return the chuckle.
I didn’t enjoy the banking thing where you suddenly take a left hand dive or a right hand dive – and John’s hands suffered. I didn’t enjoy the landing – and John’s hands suffered. After surviving the landing, I didn’t understand why we were still going so fast. Surely the pilot should have started braking? – and John’s hands suffered again.
Tuscany was wonderful. The wedding was wonderful. The sun was wonderful.
And then, a few days later, I’m in the tunnel of death once more. But (can you believe it) the same crew were greeting us! The chief stewardess recognised me and asked how the wedding in Tuscany had gone (I was SO impressed). I was even more impressed when the G and T hostess, who was busy shutting overhead storage lockers, stopped to say hello. She had spotted me (panting) and John (with scarred wrists). She smiled and simply said, in polite hushed tones, “Gin and Tonic?”. I love her as well.
Long trip home from Gatwick. But I was in charge. I was driving. I was on the ground!
Will I fly again? Yes, I think so – once the scars on John’s hand and wrist have healed!