Flying, then and now

One of the endearing images we have of early passenger flights is the luxury of the planes involved. Of course, back then, only the wealthy could afford to fly, which may well have something to do with it. Its really only since the 70’s, and 80’s that we even started to have what could be called flight prices that the general masses could afford to pay.

So for those who complain about the lack of comfort nowadays, just remember, 50 years ago, you wouldnt have been able to afford long distance flights, in all honesty. If you consider that flights now between popular cities are no more expensive than they were in the 30’s, and 40’s…you get my drift? Of course, you were treated to a whole different level of treatment back then.

The thing is, despite the comfort, those early flights were a pretty dangerous experience. Navigation was extremely basic, especially at night, and many lost their lives in incidents, and accidents. And to even cross America, let alone the Atlantic, took 4 or 5 stops. Whereas nowadays, flights go from coast to coast, non stop, without any problems. As for crossing the Atlantic, by passenger plane, this wasnt even seriously tackled until the 1950’s!

Mind, I remember a story my late mother told me, of flying home from Bermuda (my father was in the navy) in the early 50’s, and the plane had an upstairs luxury bar, and the works! Now, they prefer you to stay in your seat, whenever possible.

My first flight would have been in the late 70’s, a short hop from Gatwick, to Jersey, and back. My first Transatlantic flight was in 1987, when I flew out from Heathrow, to Boston, and back from New York. After that, I began to fly more regularly, but always in economy.

And since then, apart from the Toronto trip, when I supposedly flew First Class with Air Trans (I would say it equated more to premium economy, than first), I’ve always flown economy class, until now. Yes, this week, and next week, when I return from LA, I will be flying premium economy (Virgin), and economy comfort (Delta) for pretty much the first time.

No, it wont truly be luxury, but a step up for me. If I’d had a job to come back to, post redundancy, I might have flown business class, but for now, better safe than sorry. Maybe if I’ve got one, in September, I might treat myself again, and maybe more?

I’ve been told by Kate, that maybe, just maybe, by flying on a Wednesday, I might get a reasonably priced upgrade on Delta to first class, and that would be a real Jean Harlow type landing into LA. But I wont hold my breath. Mind, I say that, all evidence I’ve seen, Jean stuck with the trains, rather than trusting the planes, but…

So, if anyone from Delta sees this, the 4.20 pm Atlanta to LA flight on Wednesday, look for Ms Nicholls if you start offering upgrades to first class, pretty please!

OK, so this is all about flying, so lets have some Gerry Rafferty. Not a live performance (cant find one, despite single release), so I’ve gone for something involving the brave boys of the military, and Alaska.

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And so, back in England…

Yes, as many already know, I made it safely back without any great problems. Both flights were a few minutes late, but that was all, nothing to drive me to frustration this time around, thank goodness.

And now, tomorrow, is back to work day, oh joy! Throwing in days off, a weeks holiday has worked out to nearly a fortnight away from there. Thankfully most of the jet lag is now sorted, though its certainly taken a while to get to that point. Blessing is, its a short day tomorrow, with an early afternoon start, so I should cope. The bad news, it means the rest of the week isnt so pretty lol! I’ll survive though, I’m sure.

The blessing is, the next flight to the US is already booked, so I can start counting down to that. I suspect that knowing Kate, I’m not going to get too many details about it before I land at Boston Airport somehow! And yes, I’m happy for her to do that, the only detail I will need beforehand being where I’m staying the first night, US immigration get fussy about such things! If she tells me its the robotisation chamber at MIT, well I might not believe her lol! :p

The jet lag has certainly hit me harder this time, I’m not quite sure why. Possibly because my routine was thrown out on the way across, and its never recovered, or maybe its just that I’m getting too old for trying to jump 8 time zones in one long haul? Not a problem I plan to worry about for a while at least, the next few will be nearly all 5, with one 6 thrown in for good measure, which might just be in Kansas lol! I certainly havent got on as much as I hoped on return.

I’m sure Trans Pennine Express have some delights lined up for me travel wise, having got used to the efficiency of the Seattle Light Rail. Still, I’m not sure even they can manage an 11 hour delay, though dont quote me on that!

The song, a tribute to Gerry Rafferty, though yes, its the ‘silver bird’ thing that made me select this song all the same. Given the weather over here, I may be home, but dry is another matter!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfTY02r-H00

 

Until the next time, signing off from the US

Mind, thats not as dramatic as it sounds, all things permitting, that next time will be in September, though a long way east from here! Tomorrow morning is a fine example of why I hate travelling home from the West Coast, the flight leaves Seattle at 8.35 am, so you can imagine the time I have to be up, etc… Mind, apart from packing, and a quick round up, I’m ready to go now.

Its been a lovely trip, seen again a few old sights, seen a few new ones too, and indeed the Amtrak station in the midst of a much needed makeover. One really good point, it wasnt work, I needed the break! I’m not saying I’m ready, or willing to go back there, but all the same… I did see some really nice looking apartments en route to Seattle from the light rail, but was good, and didnt make an appointment to look at them, in case the temptation was too great.

I’m not looking forward to the flight back for several reasons, though they say lightning doesnt strike twice in the same place lol! Unfortunately the knee has stiffened up again, and I know that a pair of long flights (even with decent leg space) arent going to do it any favours! Its my own fault, I’ve done too much walking lol! But all matters, its not hard to see why this will be my last West Coast trip for a while, its just too much for the body, at my age. I know, but all these injuries I’ve had dont enjoy long distance travel.

So thats it, until September at least. I know roughly where I’m going then, though I’m sure Kate will happily keep most details top secret until much nearer the time, or later lol! And there I will stop, need to start packing, then one last round up, then bed. Need to be up by about 5 in the morning (10 pm now), so…

See you all, God willing, back in England very soon.

One big change

No, I havent suddenly developed cleavage that would make a basketball seem tiny or anything, thank goodness lol! Actually I’m talking about Seattle, where I will be flying to on Saturday.

I suspect in fact that there are probably a lot more changes than that, since I was last there, the Sonics scooting out of town for Oklahoma being one obvious one! And the local WHL Ice Hockey team has also scooted out of town, though only to Kent, and still calling themselves Seattle anyway! I suspect a few shops will have disappeared, new ones arrived, and all that, though still plenty of coffee shops I suspect lol!

I remember from my first visit, a massage place in the Pike Place Market which was still there the last time I was in town about 4 years ago, I wonder if its still there? That was my first ever massage, and my back has been grateful for it ever since lol!

But no, the change I’m talking about is my daily route from the hotel (I always stay near the airport, habit, plus the fact they are cheaper than downtown) into central Seattle. Since my last trip, the light railway has been completed, and I’m really looking forward to trying it out. Judging by the film I’ve found, its nothing exciting, just something new for me. And alright, by the end of the week, I’ll probably be longing for the old bus route again lol!

I’m looking forward to seeing the city again, though I suspect it will be a while this time before I go back again after this, as I find it harder year by year to do really long flights, and the West Coast is about 50% or more again as opposed to East Coast destinations, and the body really is beginning to object to matters like that. Add on the flight boredom, and the extra jet lag involved, and you get my drift. Mind, as I can make a case for Wichita, Kansas being East Coast…on the grounds its only an hour or so extra from Chicago, well…thats not until September 2013 anyway lol!

So granted, this film of the light railway will have you saying, been there, done that, and indeed so have I, many times. But it will be a first in Seattle, thats for sure. First journey on it, heading to see the Mariners play, that will be nice. During the rest of the week, downtown, thats for sure.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KmEwqK-QQQ&feature=related

3 weeks from now…

I will be sound asleep, it will be 4.51 am in the morning, so I certainly hope I am at least. I have no idea if these things time date, so lets just say that in my current time zone, at the time I started typing this, it was 12.51 pm. Well everything permitting I will be at least, its only 2 years ago that a certain Icelandic volcano ruined all those plans for me, so never assume, I guess?

Yes, I’ve been counting down towards this holiday for a long while now, I might have had breaks from work in that period, but havent had a trip away from here since that memorable trip to Boston last September. And when the NFL pull their finger out, I’ll book for this years trip to New England as well! Definitely looking forward to that, it has to be said.

But for now, its Seattle to look forward to, I wonder how much has changed in the 5 years since I was last there? 2 obvious things, the Seattle Sonics are no more, they are now in Oklahoma City, and seemingly doing quite well there too. The other big change will be getting from the airport area, where I will be staying, into downtown Seattle. Back then, you rode a bus into town, a decent service, every 40 minutes or so (midweek, daytime), that took, yes, a while to get there. Now there is a light railway into town which I’m looking forward to trying out. What else has changed, no real idea, will be interesting to see when I get there.

It is a city I love, and if money was no object, and working in the US was an easy thing to do, I’d love to settle there and work. But yes, comparing Seattle to the likes of other places I’d love to live and work (Wichita, Rochester, Albany, and several in New England), its an expensive place to live! Probably cheaper than San Francisco, but is that saying much? Why do I love Seattle? I guess its because the climate is similar to here, maybe? Also, the people seem friendly, easy going, and generally a great place to be. It has to be said that the only one of those things that Boston or Toronto fail on is the weather one, lol! I would comment on the other 3, but as I have never visited one, and the other 2 were only visited nearly 25 years ago, well I have nothing to go on there!

But no, unless you have a need to know, or your name is Kate, or James, I’m not saying where I’m staying at Seatac lol! But if you do have a need to know, then feel free to ask. This is my last planned west coast trip for the foreseeable future, not because I dont love the area, I do, but as my body ages, the journey time is just getting too long for my body to really enjoy. So it will be much further east for the foreseeable future, though some might say that Kansas isnt that far east, all the same. But the other 2 planned trips for the next 20 months are definitely much more easterly than that! I do hope to get back to San Francisco again some day, and maybe at some point another return to Seattle, but they will definitely not be as regular as they have been. Thats why I wanted 1 more trip to Seattle before cutting back on them. But I certainly hope the old body can hold up to East coast trips for a good while yet.

Well, unless someone wants to solve the whole need for me making Transatlantic trips of course, lol! 😉

I am a lineman for the county

No,  I havent started playing American Football lol, but those, other than maybe any really young readers will probably get the significance of the line anyway.

When I first heard that song (Wichita Lineman by Glen Campbell, for the very young), I had no idea where Wichita was, it was just a placename in a song for me. Now I’m seriously thinking of going there next year. Why, anyone that knows me a bit, and knows the whole Louise Brooks history thing will know the answer, but for those who dont…

Yes, she was born in Cherryvale, but that place is about as easy for me to reach as the North Pole.  Yes, if you can drive, not so hard, but if you dont, nigh impossible to reach without a very long walk! But her family moved to Wichita in 1920, and she stayed there until 1922. She returned in 1940, until sometime in 1943 as well. There probably is no remaining trace of her time there, but hey, it will be fun walking in her footsteps, if not literally so. If I can find a friendly chauffeur to take me across the state, then great, but that will only be a ‘what will be, will be’ moment if it does. Yes, I know, someone has made an offer at this point, but we are talking 21 months time, and a lot can happen in that length of time.

Well, now at least I know where Wichita is, if not a lot more than that about the city. Slightly more than that, thanks to the tourist website, but you get my drift. And not a single mention there of the legendary lady unfortunately. Judging by what Kate tells me, I’m not going to freeze to death at that time! Its only a shame she didnt get into my head earlier, I might have used a different surname when I did the name change if I had. A second Louise Brooks, albeit of the Stephanie kind, as opposed to the Mary type, in Wichita, now wouldnt that have been something?

No, I wont tease about the song, I’ve already mentioned it, so whats the point? Just enjoy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B49YDR6OMIE

What would it be like?

To be whisked back to the 1920’s, and dress flapper style? Mind, at my current age I’d probably be too elderly to be such a rebel anyway, even if I was. And yes, you’re right, I’d definitely miss the internet now, if that did happen to me lol! Its funny what you get used to, just about 12 years ago I thought a computer was a luxury I could happily live without, but now…maybe not? 😉 Mind, what they cost then, as opposed to what they cost now, quite amazing really, especially if you compare the capabilities of a modern computer as opposed to those of just 10 years ago.

No, seriously, I’d probably find the lifestyle back then very restrictive, and very basic compared to what I’ve now got used to. And lets face it, the concept of transatlantic air travel wasnt the norm, in terms of passenger flights, it didnt even exist! It didnt really exist in terms of passenger travel at all, let alone flying from Manchester to Chicago non stop, in just over 8 hours!

So alright, maybe going back to those days on a permanent basis for a modern middle aged woman wouldnt be fun! But alright, maybe a quick visit, just to meet someone before returning…that might do nicely! 😉

But lets hypothesize on an intermediate step. Back when I was a child, early teens apparently, due to help from Wikipedia with the dates, there was a series called Mr Benn. Wont mean a thing to the vast majority, if not all my readers, because as far as I know, it was only ever shown in the UK. Basically it was a short animated series based around the visits of said Mr Benn to a fancy dress shop run by a mysterious man, dressing up in an outfit her found there, and having an adventure as such, before returning to his normal life at the end of the programme. Now wouldnt that be fun, dress up as a flapper girl, walk out of the changing room, and find myself temporarily in the 1920’s as a young flapper girl. Hopefully getting to meet Louise Brooks, but at least being able to find out what her life was like at least, before walking back into modern life.

I know, there are fancy dress shops as such, but lets face it, most, if not all are more into ‘fun’ uniforms than 20’s outfits. But most arent interested in photo shoots dressed up or anything like that, let alone having the magic powers of the one in Mr Benn. But yes, getting dressed up, and being made up to look like a 20’s flapper girl, yes, I’d love that to happen. But I suspect that no place where this sort of thing can happen really exists? I know there isnt around here, thats for sure.  But in Seattle, New England, or somewhere else I can visit in the future where I could fulfil this dream, any ideas, anyone?

I wouldnt want anyone to get me wrong, the robot fantasy still stands, especially if involving a transformation scene, but currently the whole 20’s thing seems to have infected my thoughts greatly, especially one woman, but I’m not complaining about that in the slightest!

So yes, no prizes for working out who might be seen in the video tonight! A Cole Porter song, sung by the Maestro which sums her up perfectly.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_QqaqXTirg

The plan is one more post before the end of the year, so I will leave certain comments until then. The video I use then might be a slightly apt one, without a sighting of Louise Brooks lol!