The best part of getting older is having more stories. A to Z – F is for Flying

Ok well next on the list is Flying. Now I have only flown in a planes twice (there and back). It was May 2002, Me and my current (then) girlfriend booked a holiday to Tunisia. This meant I had to board a plane and deal with 3 hours of being locked in a metal tube. If you know anything about aviation history then you may realise this was only 8 months after the tragedy of 9 11, the world was already full of nervous flyers, I get nervous in a car never mind a metal bomb 30,000 feet up.

Before the holiday I went to the doctor to speak to her about my panic regarding this epic (in my eyes epic) flight. I explained my nerves and she gave me some tablets she hoped would help me through this. 10 tablets of 2mg of Diazepam.

I spoke to my parents ( I didn’t think I would see them again). My Mum pasted on some wise words, “Karl you will be fine, It’s just like being on a coach”

My sister had said she would take us to Manchester airport for the flight. In the car I was in good spirits it was only when we drove into the car park I got the nerves. In an underground car park I panicked. Sat down by the car nearly in tears saying I don’t want to do this. My sister told me to go to the bathroom take one of the magic pills the doc had gave me and meet them at the check in desk. So I did.

I came back full of confidence (Diazepam can do that to you). We went for a coffee while waiting for the flight, I quiet liked this, sat drinking coffee while watching planes coming in and out of the airport. It reminded me of being a kid, My parents used to drive us to the viewing platform at the airport to watch the planes, I remember seeing my first Concorde there.

It was then I decided the best thing to do was when they called for our flight I would take one more tablet to get me on the plane. And that’s what I did. Its wasnt long until we were called and I said goodbye to my sister and took the walk toward my destiny.

Now the start wasn’t to bad, it was like going to the theatre, A desk where you handed your tickets over, ready to enter a tunnel to the circle. (less fat british at the theatre to be honest, and far less eager people). We handed the tickets over and took the plunge.

Walking on to the plane was a little like the wise words from my Mum. it sort of was like a coach (a bit more manic though). In that isle I decided that I really really didn’t want this anymore, So I turned around so I could get off but guess what people were everywhere, I couldn’t move, the only way to go was to my chair.

I got to my chair (not a window seat, I had no interest in seeing the floor when we crashed) and fastened myself in and decided to just concentrate on the book I had brought (Silence of the Lambs, 3 hours I read the book cover to cover).

Still with my Mums words ringing in my mind, The captain gave his speech. Now Mum I have never been on a coach when the driver tells me we are doing 500 miles an hour at 30,000 feet. I didn’t remove my seat belt (it was so tight I still have the marks).

Now as i’m sure you can guess we didn’t die, I got brave near the end, as we were coming in to land I even looked out of the window.

When we landed at Monastir airport I was very very relieved. A very different airport from Manchester. There was no nice tunnel to walk down. This was like I was one of the Beatles, A staircase to walk down on to the runway. I was waving like I was a popstar, Glad to be alive. just like the Beatles we were rushed to a coach before the fans could touch us. no wait that’s not what happened, we had to stand in a queue for ages to get a smoking man to stamp our passports. then the coach. All I wanted now was a beer. Now if you remember I had already took two Diazepams, Beer and valium don’t always go together. After a 2 hour drive we got to the hotel and dumped our gear and found out the hotel also owned a bar on the beach. That sounded like a good reward for the horror I had gone through that day.

The bar was through a little snicket, So off we went, On our way down this Alley we came across a couple of young tunisian lads, We obviously looked like we had just landed (we were pale as hell of course) One looked at the other and nodded, I noticed this and my first thought was “Fuck we are going to get mugged here” One of them put his hand into his jacket, I braced ready, from within his jacket he pulled out…. yes you have guessed it!! A leaflet for a golf club!! FFS I nearly twated the man.

We found the bar and I got on the beer. Thanks to the 2 Diazipam I got wankered.

It was a great holiday, We went to an Oasis, To the colosseum where Gladiator was filmed. To some salt flats, and most importantly To Uncle Owen’s house from A new hope, I stood in Luke Skywalker’s bedroom (he wasn’t in at the time).

The flight home was less dramatic, I didnt take any tablets to get home, We had been seated by a door which meant if something happened we would be in charge of opening said door. I didnt ask for that responsibility but the fact The hostess chair was right infront of me sort of made me let them off.

View past blog posts here:

A is for Alistair

B is for Bingo

C is for Concerts

D is for Drink and Drugs

E is for Elephant