Saturday, 20 June 2015

A wonderful flight from Düsseldorf to London City in a BA Saab 2000 turbo prop

I checked out of the Friends Hotel in the morning and spent half of the day at the convention I'd been attending, finishing off with a business lunch and then making my way back by tram (the U78) to Düsseldorf Hauptbahnhof (Hbf) where I nipped around the corner, retrieved my bag from the hotel and walked back to the Hbf to catch a train to the airport.

I love the way this shot has captured the propellor blades
While I was driven by a colleague to Düsseldorf (via a brief stop-off in Bruges) I flew back to the UK in a British Airways Saab 2000 turbo prop aircraft and, prior to take-off, was warned of early turbulence due to low cloud. Often, warnings like this fall on rough ground – meaning they are groundless or exaggerated – and it proved to be the case on this occasion. In fact, the only time when I heard the word 'turbulence' mentioned by the pilot (over a crackly intercom) – and then experienced a bumpy flight – was when I boarded an early morning Emirates flight from Dubai to Doha about two years ago.
A nice pen and notebook prompted some long hand writing

Once through the cloud we were greeted by blue skies and sunshine and a very pleasant flight unfolded during which I used a new pen given to me while at the convention in Düsseldorf. I'd also been given one of those Moleskin notebooks so I set about writing something longhand rather than simply stare out of the window.

"The weird thing about writing on a plane, like now, is that there's little much else to do other than look out of the window. Normally, that's what I do because I've realised that I also rather like flying too, especially when the weather is good, like now. Admittedly there was low cloud after take-off, but once we were through it, like now, there's nothing but blue skies above and white cotton wool clouds below, and also a bright sun too."

Well, there's too many 'like nows' in the above sentence and, because it was written long hand on to a piece of paper there's no way of editing out the repetition, unlike on a blog or, indeed, a computer – so I'm left with a piece of writing that shows the joins, so to speak. Also, there's plenty to do on a plane other than stare out of the window. There's eating the airline food for a start, which I love, and then, of course, there's reading or chatting with your fellow passengers (if they're in a talkative mood, they rarely are).
Seconds from touchdown at London's City Airport, Friday 19th June
I managed to write three and a third pages and sip half a glass of red wine (and munch two biscuits) before the plane landed at London City Airport. I'd checked in my luggage for the simple reason that I didn't want to lose my shaving foam, and a colleague had presented me with a Swiss army knife (I've never owned one before). But when I waltzed through to the reclaim conveyor my bag was already there and soon I was on the train to London Bridge. I love the convenience of London City Airport and the fact that it's bang in the centre of London makes it much easier than Heathrow.

The plane had landed at roughly ten past six and there were cotton wool clouds and blue skies.

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