Life, photos but not the universe

Taking flight

Right.  For better or worse, it’s done.

I have booked a holiday, entirely on the internet.  We had booked one last year but Barney broke his achilles tendon the day after it was done and anyway, on that occasion, I chickened out and used some kind of holiday apartment company to whom I was able to speak- you know, with words on a phone to a real live person.  So this time, in fear and trepidation, I looked up flights and hotels and triplist and kayak and reviews and ratings and all sorts.  Very little of it made any sense to me so eventually, we both peered at a screen and pointed at prices,dates, times and baggage allowances, squawked in outrage at some of these as their precise meanings bloomed in our unaccustomed minds and generally behaved like our parents did when first confronted with a real live computer (and the rising prices of rice in China).   It was almost as scary as in the days back when, talking to someone with an impenetrable accent and not being absolutely sure that we really had booked a room in some far away foreign country (France?) or a quarantine for our dog.

After a bit we shook off the Monty Python mode and did it.  Well, I did it.  Next, I suppose we’ll try and find out something about the flights and the hotel (it was recommended by a friend but it looks a bit multi-storey and concrete to me) to see if the descriptions we’ve read so far are like estate agents brochures – full of euphemisms only understood by the cogniscenti.   When we heard about the new Boeing 787*s being grounded I was relieved to recall that our flights are all on Croatia Airlines – almost certainly no new, experimental aircraft there.  Probably no new ones of any kind.  Well as long as they have two wings and a pilot.  I’m certainly not intending to look up any airline safety comparison charts or airport records – I don’t want to know!  Better the devil you know (even if you don’t**) than the devil nobody knows.

We have flown a bit, over the years.  And by that, I mean a little bit.

The first time I experienced anxiety about flying was when we travelled with eighteen month old Eldest from Cologne to London.  On the flight out, Eldest and I had special seatbelts on a big, plush jet and it all seemed like a big drawing room in the sky.  On the way back, we were in a small, rusty jet with casual staff and grubby carpets.  No child seat belt of any kind.  Just me!  I suddenly became aware of the enormous danger to which I had submitted my baby and I’ve never taken a child on an aeroplane since.

Yes I know they’re safer than cars.  Sort of.  Statistically speaking.  But I don’t think statistically when I’m concerned about being unnaturally high above the ground clutching my one and only child and (having worked at the Transport and Road Research lab not long before) being only too aware that a mother’s arms are totally useless as a seatbelt.  Barney has an irrational fear of flying though to be honest I can’t see what’s irrational about it.  Technically speaking the thing ought to work, of course, but really it doesn’t make any kind of sense when you think about falling out of trees.  Anyway, I have the ability to go all fatalistic and blank on most occasions of danger (like driving on the A34 twice a week) and though it’s a pain being unable to control any of the variables that make the difference to the danger of being in a plane, I can sort of mostly ignore it and occasionally hold my breath a bit.  Barney doesn’t have this ability even though he has a much better head for heights than I have.  Weird isn’t it.  He’s sad that we will be in Dubrovnik before the cable car to the mountains is available and I am deeply relieved  (I have a completely rational fear of cable cars – they look flimsy and badly maintained and they are too high!)   Oddly enough, neither of us was at all scared of flying over the Valley of the Kings in a hot air balloon when we went to Egypt.  Although we were a trifle concerned when we nearly landed in Tanzania on a hot air balloon flight in Kenya.  You could tell that the pilot was feeling twitchy and we didn’t begrudge him first go at the champagne when we landed safely inside the border.

Back at home, it’s snowing!  Real snow, blanketing things heavily and still falling briskly.  I never really believe it’s going to do this until the morning when I wake up to that pale light and as a result, I’m now re-planning the weekend and some of next week – it’s forecast to go on for quite a while and already cars and vans are making heavy weather of the sloping lane outside our gate.  Somehow, I don’t think Mr Middle will have gone to Lincoln this morning and  I doubt if the Middles will be coming over for the weekend.  Also, if it does keep coming I can”t imagine that I’ll be prepared to trundle up the A34 next week with all those lorries and speed freaks hurtling up my backside.

On the other hand, it rarely lasts more than a few days around here so maybe by next week we’ll all be out there wondering what it was all about.

After all, on Tuesday it was like this


Now.  Where’s my camera’s raincoat and my waterproof legs?


A bit different today (Friday that was)

*I keep mistyping Boing.  Remind me to tell you about Boing some time

**Much better if you don’t.


January 19, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Oh what a strange world we live in……whoda thunk we’d be arranging all this ‘stuff’ by our little lonesome now a days….by a computer no less! You do realize, of course, that we’re taking jobs from human beings by doing that….. *laughing* Just thought I’d toss that in!

    I don’t have a fear of flying. I do have a fear of getting to that closet bathroom DURING the flight. It’s the ‘getting past people’ and having to invade their space (and mine!) that unnerves me. Strange but true.
    Oh…..but you’re going on an adventure! WHERE you’re going…..no clue! Hahahaha…..but really, does it matter?! Everywhere you go is an adventure!

    Wow. You have my world of snow! ‘Cept we’re suppose to get up to the 50’s today–just a teaser mind you. Next week we’re going to be looking at -20 wind chill. Gotta love winter!
    (Hoping you got those boots out and went for a trek!)

    Comment by Mel | January 19, 2013 | Reply

  2. There are so many wonderful places we haven’t visited yet on these islands that we can forego the pleasures of sitting 8 miles up in a solid metal tomb sharing air and a toilet with 200 other terrified people.

    Comment by Rog | January 19, 2013 | Reply

  3. Well, isn’t Rog a comforting little treasure!
    I was only going to mention the QI episode where Mr.Fry informed us that, since banning smoking, airlines have saved money by not refreshing the cabin air as often.
    Please give my fond love to Dubrovnik. …sigh…

    Comment by dinahmow | January 19, 2013 | Reply

  4. Croatia! I’ve heard it’s beautiful, what a wonderful place to be going. I think you’re v clever to organise it all online not to mention brave …

    I don’t mind flying, it’s the take off and landing that worry me : ) but not so much. Statistically speaking (which means nothing) something else will get ya and a short ish flight is safer than snow in England.

    Comment by Zig | January 20, 2013 | Reply

  5. Have A great time!!

    Comment by rosie | January 20, 2013 | Reply

  6. I won’t believe we’ve really done it till we’re there and back Mel. And wow! the sun came out – even thought it’s still snowing.

    You make it sound quite cosy Rog. (but I think you’ll find they’re hollow)

    I shall try and remember not to breathe Dinahmow. Not too much anyway. And I will, I can’t wait to see it again.

    I’m not sure how much of the country we’ll see Zig, as Dubrovnik is right at the end of the long pointy bit, but it’s stunning all by itself. (eight landings and takeoffs. Quite probably it’ll be fine)

    Thanks rosie – not going for a while yet but I’m visiting it virtually every day and yearning for that sunshine that seems to be there all the time. Though when we actually go, there should be real sunshine too.

    Comment by Mig | January 20, 2013 | Reply

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