references and extra information
TURN LEFT AT THE MED
“How was the flight, Your Majesty?”
George VI: “Have
you ever flown?” “Yes.”
“Well, it was like that.”
Well, it wasn’t
quite like that in July at the T5 Baggage Drop heading for a family
holiday in Virginia fixating on the Rappahannock River Oyster
Restaurants. We booked as
BA World Travellers Plus - mainly for the Plus legroom.
But they mistook us for pharmaceutical physicians or other
business royalty. Hence
Peter Ustinov said
he joined the Tank Corps because if you have to go to war you might as
well do so sitting down. In Tub,
oops Club, we found you get to go places backward at 550mph Ground
Speed, 2530 Miles to Destination, lying down – in a sort of bath
potentially filled with champagne.
It’s halfway between a womb and a tomb (an apt metaphor for
business today, maybe).
Press buttons randomly in search of the reading light, and a flight
attendant is instantly there to sort you out (so I asked sheepishly for
a cup of tea). And you have
lotsa legroom (a grateful Plus for us of the 1,2,3 buckle my shoe
In a way it was
wasted on me. I don’t drink
a lot (I spill most of it).
The menus meant Decisions – and I’m on holiday from them, thanks.
But I can appreciate great
benefits on a really long haul. The
over-businessed lady on my right – as closely intimate as in a double
bed - didn’t want to chat over our garden fence and blanketed herself
out all the way from Newbury to New York.
My preference remains the childlike plane on the map etching its
way serenely before that sudden swivel overhead Dorking.
And looking out
the window has always kept me happy – even seven miles up.
Though it’s not the same as at
5000ft across France in a flying boat, from Southampton Water into the
heart of Genoa harbor – one of my first journeys.
Passengers took turns on to the Observation Deck, gazing at the
ox-bows, paths on mountains, vineyard patterns, how big the countryside
and how long the Rhone and how small the towns and people looking up at
welcomed me into the parlour-like cockpit.
They had their feet up, and cups
and teapots and novels and ashtrays.
“Like to fly the plane?
Sit here, hold this but don’t touch that.
The Med’s ahead, so tilt us left, lad.” My bragging portfolio now
includes “Short Solent”.
The personality of flying’s since changed. And passengers? Returning from Virginia, we were plain Plus; comfy enough. Departing Dulles, all the window blinds except Anne’s were down. Even in daylight descending over Devizes, we seemed to be the only passengers interested in Britain from above. Has the scope of curiosity become just the distance from eyeball to I-pad – in office as well as plane? (Discuss.)
oysters were great. Are they a
staple in First? Just asking (on
behalf of King George VII).
Short Solent set for family - note the cot, curtains, big windows and crockery.
Brochure for Madeira flight schedule - the diversionary landing place if Southampton Water was blocked out by weather (frequent).
The aviation museum at Southampton includes a Solent that you can walk around inside - plus lots of other good planes. Highly recommended for day out.
Oysters by the Rappahannock River in Virginia. Highly recommended for holiday!
See more at http://www.rroysters.com, which lists their three restaurants - in Washington, Richmond and by Chesapeake Bay.