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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On the road again

OK, for the second night running, lets start with some depressing news, the death last night of Lauren Bacall, at the age of 89. At least in this case it was natural causes, unlike yesterday’s.

Rest in peace, you will be missed.

On a more light hearted note, a few here will know, in terms of US states visited, I’m quite well travelled. 21 visited in fact, not bad for a Brit. I’m sure there are Americans with a ‘full set’, and plenty of others with more than me, but given that 18 of those have come in the previous 10 years, its not bad. Yes, 3 of the New England states, (Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire) were only visited in 1988, but the rest have either been visited again, or for the first time since 2003.

I think the one that would amuse most Brit’s that I havent visited, is one of the most popular states with us, Florida. No, never been there, and to be honest, its not at the top of my list, even excluding the 3 I will add to the collection next month. Kansas, and Missouri obviously, and I’m flying via Atlanta, so I can ‘state bag’ Georgia as well! Unless I get to Vermont in November (that state, and Maine are the only 2 in the North East I’m missing), I’m not quite sure when I even get to halfway.

Most of the misses are obvious ones, Alaska (I’d love to) and Hawaii really are too far, and the ‘redneck/deep south’ states really arent on my list, beyond maybe Alabama, due to someone I know online. Funnily enough, the other big miss is the Mid West, and Rockies zone, but at least I can right that a bit.

I’d like to hit 25 clearly, halfway point and all that. In a sense, I’d love to reach 30, but no idea how its going to happen. But for now, I look on it as a challenge, and maybe one day, probably when retired (and before health insurance goes crazy) I can get to Alaska, by splitting the journey both ways.

But for now, in just 4 and a half weeks time, I’ll be on the road again.

No, not Canned Heat, nor Willie Nelson, though I did consider both. But as a 30’s girl, this is probably far more suitable lol

Beyond the bit on the You Tube page, I know nothing about them

Travel insurance

Yes, for once, a totally different track to the blog. Normal service will resume shortly lol!

In the past, I’ve always taken the easy route when it comes to travel insurance for my trips abroad. Take whatever the online travel company (Expedia), or the airline offer, and leave it at that. I knew I was paying extra for the privilege, but alright, I could do it all in one, so… What I hadnt realised is just how much extra I was paying out.

So this time around, after a bout of recent adverts concerning some cute “meerkats”, and their website they advertise for, I took a look at their comparison site. Single trip prices less than half what I’ve been paying, annual deals for less than I’ve been paying out (sometimes 3 times a year) with much the same cover. So no prizes for working out which route I’m going down this time, the ‘simples’ one. Brits at least will get that last comment lol. If not, just type ‘compare the meerkats’ into Google or somewhere, and watch some of the videos!

An annual is slightly more than 2 single trips, but I’m hoping to get to Ireland for some cricket next summer as well, so… If I dont, the difference is marginal anyway.

I know, these travel people have to make their money some way, but seriously…I’ve learnt my lesson, thats for sure. Just need to get it all sorted now, because 7 weeks from now, I will be on holiday, yay! Its funny, second summer running, the bank balance looks better than it really is, havent paid my share of the accom bill as yet. But I will do so… (in case Kate reads this lol)

So the music video, in tribute to those rich men, and their insurance profits,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETxmCCsMoD0

My first US National Park

Well, I think it is at least, dont remember doing any in ’87, but dont quote me on that, I’m assuming the Niagara Falls area (or White Mountains, NH) isnt one at least? On that trip, me and my partner took one train journey, at that time, my first outside UK and Ireland, from Boston to New York. Nothing terribly exciting there, in all honesty. The only reason we did it was because she didnt fancy driving into New York, and I never blamed her for that.

My first long distance experience of US rail travel, was a much longer journey, between Seattle and Philadelphia, with a change of trains in Chicago. I think the longest journey by train I’d ever done before, was London to Inverness (or reverse), and thats about 11 hours, or was back then. Now apparently the electric trains can do it in about 8 or 9, but those journeys were a long while back, when trains werent as powerful. Seattle to Chicago, about 44 hours on its own!

Doing it in January, as I was about to discover, only heightened the experience. Given the train leaves Seattle early evening, what happens is that you wake up in the Rockies, and yes, you’ve guessed it, in January, lots of snow! Thing is, trains still run on time, unlike over here when you get a few grains of the stuff lol! Where I woke up, was the Glacier National Park, and what a sight it was, I had never seen so much snow in real life, I guess it was several feet deep, but had no idea from the warmth of the train. But it looked an amazing sight, what little I saw of it, with astonished eyes.

Sorry, thats all I ever saw 0f it, what you could see from the train. So I probably missed a lot of good bits. What can be said is that Montana left its mark on me. Its called Big Sky Country for a good reason after all. But no, I’m not really likely to go back, lets just call it the public transit syndrome of being a non driver, and leave it at that! Its why that though I visit the US a lot, I’ve rarely seen much countryside in all that time, I do city trips for a good reason! There is also the snag that coach trips generally depart the cities early, and if you’re in an airport hotel for budget reasons…well, you get my drift!

That was one bonus last September, I got to see more of New England than just Boston, thanks to Kate, and so appreciated it was too. I suspect I will see more this September too, and looking forward to it. Next year I plan one day to take the coach to and from Buffalo, from Rochester, because the train timetable sucks for doing it that way around lol. I know, it will just be the Interstate probably, but at least I will see some country. I’m hoping to get to see some of Kansas next September, given that hotel rates in Wichita arent so high, so might be in town, and have more chance of coach trips around there?

But lets just say that for a Brit, for whom really cold weather was in the low 20’s F, to experience -25 F was quite something! Minot, North Dakota will always remain in my memories because of that. And yes, that was the mid afternoon temperature there! What the low was that night, I dont want to know lol!

I suppose one day I’d love to visit one of the Alaskan parks, but guess as I get older, its going to get harder for it to happen, especially as I’m cutting down on travelling beyond the mid west for the foreseeable future.

But yes, I will always remember Glacier National Park, and all that snow! The video, well, I dont think this was shot in January lol!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CglkZx5rrlM

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! 😉

Respect Yourself!

This could be a command to someone from Mistress Stevie Lou, but I’m not the one to say that lol! I must say the image of me as a Latex, or Leather clad Domme is more likely to give me a fit of the giggles than anything wholesomely Dominant, but anyway…I guess an image of me clad like that might be fun, but cant somehow see me making a full time career of it somehow! But as an image to play up to, well its as much fun as the robot one, it has to be said!

The thing is, I’m one of those people who typically plod along in their everyday life, nothing terribly exciting, and enjoying a couple of nice holidays each year, but the rest of the year, work hard, not play terribly hard, it has to be said. Just my simple, economic style, and hey, I’m happy with that. The snag is, then someone goes and suggests something lightheartedly, and I start thinking, hey, thats not a bad idea. Which is why I’ve spent time today on Expedia and Hotels.com looking at short breaks to a certain Portugese city. 😉 No, I dont really blame S.B., but I wish I didnt get tempted like this sometimes, though maybe not often.

No, I dont plan to go out there and become his Mistress or anything. Heck, I dont even expect to play at being his Mistress if I do get out there anyway. And for sure I dont expect to be greeted by a latex catsuit lol! But I know he’d like to meet fellow Garden members, last September got me up for doing the same, so…and besides Portugal is far warmer than here at present, been a filthy day to be honest, and havent ventured out at all.

I know, its not a fortune, but I’m not that far away (relatively) from retirement, so probably ought to be hanging on to my money, but…he’s got the idea in my head now, thats the trouble! The thing is, with the holiday only being 3 weeks off, I havent long to think about it, and me and snap decisions, well…not really my style! I know, its crazy, but I’m tempted. Going to think it over to the weekend (incredibly I’ve got a Saturday off this week!), and take it from there. I would love to say its 50/50, but I know how dangerous that is with me! I tend to go yes, lets do it from there!

It was nice to see a pic of S.B. appear this week, I know what a tricky choice that is, I went down the same road myself before posting the one of me. Will I meet him later this month, lets call it a possible, and leave it at that.

The music, some will see the in joke here, others wont. Apologies, Bruce Willis is not the greatest singer (to put it mildly) of all time, but this just seems to fit so well, for more reasons than one. Try to enjoy, or get the in joke at least!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CKsRLu1gnM