March 31st, 1989

March 31st, 1989

At home

Couldn’t get hold of anyone at British Airways this morning so I left home in the hope that there would only be a delay to the Lagos flight. Didn’t feel quite ready to drive to Heathrow yet, especially during rush hour on a Friday morning, so I once again did the taxi, train, tube routine.

In my mail slot at work, was a note from Annabel, scribbled on a monogrammed correspondence card.

Greetings Miss McGarr,

Did you finally come to your senses and break if off with big, bad Ben? (Oh I do hope so!)

If so, did you meet up with that fetching car chap of yours? (Oh I do hope so!)

I thoroughly enjoyed being flat mates with you in Bermuda and feel we ought to perhaps request a trip together. Thoughts?

Off to The Big Apple, albeit only on a night stop but I wish you were on it. I have a feeling we would find our way into some fascinating territory (I actually do find some Yanks almost acceptable.)

Do get back to me upon your return from LOS (I shan’t say anything about it, I trust you will feel the same.)

She signed it, “Affectionately yours,” with her name in oversized cursive.

 

Six hours after leaving home and spending a small fortune on public transport (when I have a car sitting at home!) I walked through the front door.

Mum came into the hallway from the kitchen with a look of concern on her face.

“What happened?”

“The Lagos flight had a huge delay and consequently I was taken off the trip.”

Ann appeared, “Karen!” she exclaimed, giving me a cuddle. “Nana and I just got cream cakes at the shops. Do you want one?”

“Oh yes please.”

Nana was sitting at the kitchen table. “Hi Nana,” I said, giving her a hug.

“Hello hen. No Nigeria? Was it Nigeria you were going to?” she asked.

Removing my jacket and hanging it on the back of the chair, I said, “Yeah it was but now I’m on twenty-four hour standby.”

“What does that mean?” asked Ann excitedly.

“It means that if British Airways need me for a trip, they have to give me at least twenty- four hours notice.”

“That’s good. Right?” asked Ann. “Can I try your jacket on?”

I nodded my head yes and passed my jacket to her.

“It’s good that I’m home and can see you and Nana again but it won’t be good if I get called away for a while and miss Ben coming home.”

I ignored “the look” mum gave me.

Tonight, we all went to H&M’s for dinner, delicious as always. Lots of talk of the “auld days in Glesga,” with dad and Harry and even Nana got in on the chatter, which was amusing because Nana has a tendency to be more on the quiet side. When dad and Harry are in each other’s company, it’s easy to see why they’re each other’s oldest friends. And when it comes to Glaswegian humour, they’re definitely two peas in a pod.

Suzi and Ann kept themselves occupied playing with Suzi’s many dolls and Disney soft toys. I joined them on the floor and allowed the pair of them to boss me around, telling me how I should “dress that dolly,” and “do her hair like this.” Of course I loved every second of it and did everything they “suggested.”

I got up this morning thinking I’d be going to bed in Lagos and instead, here I am, back at home in my own bed. I can’t stop thinking about Ben and the fact he’ll be home so soon. I think when he’s away, I put him to the back of my head so I can get on with things and not become too distracted. But now I know he’ll be back in less than forty-eight hours, it’s like my feelings for him come to the forefront again and the excitement I feel is palpable. Not to mention the prospect of the many, incredible things we do so well together!

 

 

 

March 30th, 1989

March 30th, 1989

At home

Just had a call from British Airways letting me know there might be a delay to the Lagos flight tomorrow. I hope it’s only a delay and nothing that will disrupt the trip, otherwise I’ll be placed on standby and could go anywhere (or nowhere.) That could mean missing Ben’s first few days back in the country. And that simply cannot happen.

Mum has been full of the joys today after finding out Dustin Hoffman took home the Oscar last night for his portrayal as Raymond, in “Rain Man.” The film also won; Best Director, Best Film and Best Screenplay. Imagine writing an entire movie, what an incredible feat. I guess Ben and I will be seeing “Rain Man,” together in the not too distant future.

Went for a walk with mum, Nana and Ann and ended up at The Victoria Inn, in Bradwell Village, the scene of many a fun evening spent with Lucy and Sarah during our school years. It was one of those gorgeous days where the English weather co-operated and felt so pleasant sitting in the garden enjoying a Ploughman’s lunch.

Through the years when asked where I live, it’s amazing how many people have responded with, “Oh, home of the concrete cows.” Who would imagine an art installation would become such a prominent part of a place? Today, while we were in the field with the cows, we talked to a couple here on holiday from Germany who knew all about the history of the concrete cows and how they came to be. I had no idea the creator of the six landmark cows was a Canadian artist in residence who created not only the cows, but also several other local sculptures.

This evening, we drove to Willen Lake and had a lovely walk around. Ann fed the swans and we took a bunch of pictures around The Peace Pagoda. It was still warm when we got back so we sat in the garden enjoying tea and biscuits.

It’s been a really nice day, enjoying the sights I usually take for granted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 29th, 1989

March 29th, 1989

At home

Jon – I rang him.

“McGarr! To what do I owe the pleasure?”

“I just wanted to say a huge thank you for delivering my car.”

“Not a problem, happy to help and all that. Did you get your insurance sorted?”

“Yes, I did thanks and you were right, they were really helpful. Oh and I owe you money for the detailing.”

“No you don’t.”

“Yes, I do. I left the country without paying you.”

“Consider it a gift.”

“I can’t do that.”

“Why not?” he asked.

“You already negotiated the price of the car down by a few hundred quid.”

“Well if it’ll make you feel better you can buy me a pint or two next time you’re down this way.”

“Phew, might be cheaper for me to pay for the detailing.”

He chuckled. “Are you insinuating I like beer?”

“I’d say you have more than a slight penchant for it.”

“Can’t argue with you on that one. So, how are you finding the car? Is it running well?”

“I’ve only driven it once but that will change today.”

“Where you off to?”

“Not sure yet but I’ll be taking my mum, Nana and little cousin out.”

“Your cousin’s the first kid I’ve met with a Glaswegian accent. She was dead cute.”

“She really is.”

“And shy. Unlike you McGarr.”

 

Pamsy – A few minutes of catching up about Bermuda and Easter, before I said, “You’re never going to believe this, but they caught the people who robbed us in Orlando.”

“No way! How do you know?”

“I rang Miriam on our turnaround at Tampa airport and she filled me in.”

“That’s mental. Do we have to go back and testify?”

“I don’t believe so. Would you want to?”

“Might be fun, like being on an American tv show. We could saunter into the court room in our big shoulder pads.”

I laughed. “I doubt it’s really like that.”

“I’m just kidding. Can you come down this weekend?”

“Sorry, no. I’m off to Lagos on Friday.”

“For how long?”

“I’ll be back Monday.”

“Come down then, I have a few days leave.”

“I can’t, Ben’s coming home on Sunday.”

“He’s coming back already? Didn’t he just leave?”

“Doesn’t feel like it.”

 

This afternoon I took Ann to see “Twins,” with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito. It was a pretty awful film but appropriate for a thirteen year old. Ann laughed her way through it and in between mouthfuls of popcorn and overpriced sweets, she kept telling me how much she was enjoying herself. Mum and Nana saw “Rain Man,” with Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman and mum has literally not stopped gushing about Dustin Hoffman’s performance, so much so that I need to see if for myself.
Tonight, we went to The Vic in Wolverton (having a car really does make going out easier.) Mum told anyone who cared to listen that they need to see “Rain Man.”

When we got home from the pub, mum pulled out some of the old photo albums and we spent hours going through them. I love all the stories behind the photo’s, especially the old ones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 28th, 1989

March 28th, 1989

At home

Nana was first up this morning and we sat in the kitchen, making a dent in the Simnel cake, having a natter over a pot of tea. I rarely get the chance to spend time alone with Nana so it made a nice change.

“When did you say Ben’s coming back, hen?”

“Next Sunday, I can’t wait.”

“Aye, I can see you’re excited.”

“Nana, did you ever feel like that about a boy?”

She laughed. “Oh aye, I was young once myself you know.”

“Was it Granda?”

“Now, now that would be telling.”

“Oh go on, I’m twenty-two, you can tell me.”

“Och, now you’re making me feel old. You know sometimes when I look at you, I still see you as a wee lassie. That probably sounds silly to you doesn’t it?”

“No, it sounds really sweet. Maybe you see me like that because I’m your first grandchild.”

“That might be it.”

“So, was it Granda?”

I watched her look down at the table and smile. “You know, sometimes the first person you love isn’t necessarily the one you marry.”

“Oh, that’s interesting. Why not?”

“Well, that first flush of love can be very intense.”

In my best French accent, I cooed, “Ooh, and very passionate.”

She laughed. “Aye, that as well.”

“Do you think a love like that could burn itself out?”

“Maybe.”

“I wonder if that’s one of the reasons my mum isn’t hugely in favour of me staying with Ben?”

“You’re an awful wise lassie for your age. Always have been.”

“So you agree?” I asked.

“I think women hold a lot in their hearts they never share.”

“Who’s the wise one now?” I picked up the teapot and refilled our cups. “Nana, did you ever want to get married again after Granda passed away?”

“Oh no, not at all.”

“But you’ve been by yourself all these years.”

“Aye and that’s a choice I made.”

“I don’t remember much about him. I wish I did.”

“Well you wouldn’t, you were only three when it happened.” Her voice cracked slightly but she continued. “Just a wee tot.”

I stretched my hand across the table to hers. “Sorry Nana, I don’t want to upset you.”

“It’s fine hen.” She took a sip of her tea. “Some parts of life you keep tucked away and it’s a surprise when they come out again.”

Through the glass wall, looking into the hallway, I saw Ann’s small figure creeping down the stairs. Right before she came bounding into the kitchen I looked at Nana and mouthed, “Ann.”

“Surprise,” yelled Ann.

“Oh, you scared us!” I squealed.

“Did I?” she asked with a big smile.

“Och, that was an awful fright you gave me,” Nana said, placing her hand over her heart, trying not to laugh.

Ann pointed to the plate with the remains of the Simnel cake. “Can I have a wee bit of that?”

“What’s the magic word?” I asked.

“Please.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 27th, 1989

March 27th, 1989

At home

Home again! We landed early at Gatwick airport after an easy flight with less than a hundred passengers in the Economy cabin. Sat with antsy Annabel on the crew transport back to Heathrow, who literally did not stop talking.

“You must promise to keep in touch Miss McGarr.”

“I will.”

“Promise?”

“Yes, I promise.”

“You’re not just saying that?”

“No, I’m not. I really enjoyed our trip.”

“Wasn’t it just marvelous?”

“It really was.”

As the bus was pulling into TriStar House, Annabel pointed out the window.

“Look! It’s the yummy chap you refuse go out with.”

I leaned across Annabel’s lap to see what was going on outside the window and she laughed. “Sorry, couldn’t resist. It’s not as if your so called boyfriend is going to show up from Italy to pick you up.”

“Ouch Annabel, that was uncalled for.”

“Sorry poppet, I get vile when I’m tired.”

“Finally, you’re admitting to feeling tired?”

“Utterly exhausted. I’m ready to get to the country and relax. I wish you were going in my direction, I’d have taken you home.”

I laughed.

“What?” she asked.
“Annabel, I doubt I’ll ever be going in your direction.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure about that, Miss McGarr.”

It was so nice to get home and see not only mum and dad, but also Nana and Ann. They each asked a bunch of questions about Bermuda and Ann made me laugh when she asked if I felt like I was “On the telly.”

Mum and Ann had boiled and decorated a bunch of eggs and of course mum insisted we take them outside and roll them down the small, grassy hill behind the house. For as long as I can remember, regardless of where we lived, we’ve gone out to “roll our eggs,” as mum calls it.

I don’t know who was more excited, mum, or Ann. Once all the eggs had been rolled, Ann collected them in the new basket mum bought her and we went back inside and had tea and hot cross buns (possibly my favourite thing about Easter, except for the chocolate!)

Dad served up the delicious leg of lamb he’d prepared along with roast potatoes and several veggies. For desert we enjoyed Nana’s favourite, Simnel cake. Needless to say, I’m absolutely stuffed tonight, but in a good way. Oh, and Nana gave me not one, but two chocolate Easter eggs because she said she wasn’t sure which one I’d prefer. She laughed when I said, “Both of them, Nana. I prefer both of them.”

Two letters from Ben (that I didn’t see until I came up to my room tonight.) According to his most recent letter, he should be home next Sunday. Less than a week! Can’t wait for our reunion.

Oh, I almost forgot, my car is here! Jon delivered it (as promised) and whoever did the detailing did a fantastic job, the interior looks so much nicer than it did last week. I must remember to ring him tomorrow and say thank you.

Went for a drive with dad and Ann just to see how the car felt, but we didn’t venture too far because I was getting tired. I think it’ll take a while to get used to having a car, it doesn’t feel like it’s mine yet but the thought of no more trains is certainly a refreshing one. According to dad, Jon came with Rickie and more than once, dad mentioned, “They boys are smashing, ye can have a right laugh with them.”

And more than once (prompted by mum) dad shared how he enjoyed a beer with Jon, which we all know is dad code for, “I like him.”

I’m so happy Nana and Ann are both here, we’ve had such a lovely day together. Nana being with us always makes Easter special and seeing her and Ann again makes me realize how much I miss them. I don’t get to see them nearly as much as I’d like to but I don’t think I’m quite ready to drive to Scotland yet either.

 

 

 

 

March 26th, 1989

March 26th, 1989

Night flight from BDA – LGW

Got up early and went for breakfast with Annabel to Harley’s where we met Annie, the Club purser from our crew. We invited Annie to Horseshoe Bay and on the ferry, she sang all the way! Apparently she went to drama school and before she started flying, she appeared on several tv shows. Now she sings at weddings and plans on acting full time when she leaves BA at the end of this year.

When we got off the ferry, Annie said she wanted to show us her favourite spot on the island but it involved taking the bus. A few minutes into the bus ride, she asked the driver to stop and led us through some overgrown bushes to a hole in the fence, beyond which was the most expansive, beautiful beach I’ve ever seen. We spent a few hours there, during which Annie sang her way through several musicals!

I was in my room trying to get some rest before the night flight, when there was a knock on my door. Opened it to find Sam screaming with excitement and that was the end of any hopes of sleeping.

“Darling!” he exclaimed, kissing me on each cheek.

“What a surprise.” I was about to say, “come in,” but he was already in!

“Your room is soooo much bigger and nicer than mine. Who the hell have you been shagging?”

“Very funny. How did you know I was here?”

“First thing I do down route is check out the crew list at the hotel.”

“So you just arrived?” I asked.

“Fresh off the aircraft darling, here ‘til Thursday. The island looks ah may zing.”

“It really is, you’re going to love it.”

“Let’s get a drink by the pool.”

“I can’t drink, I’m on the flight home tonight.”

“Shit, guess it’s virgins for you.”

We reclined on lounge chairs by the pool where, from behind his shades, with only a slight movement of his head, Sam uttered, “Two o’clock.”

I scanned my eyes across the pool to a guy on a lounge chair. “What about him?”

“Would you or wouldn’t you?”

“Absolutely not.”

“Why not?”

“Too hairy.”

“Meow. How about nine o’clock?” he asked.

“Nope.”

“Why not?”

“Too flashy looking.”

“Darling, you are picky.”

“And in love.”

Sitting up, Sam sighed, “Oh sweetums, we’re not still harping on about him are we?”

“Yes we are actually.”

“Oh, oh, four o’clock.”

“Are you kidding?” I asked.

“I don’t mean for shagging, I mean check out the outfit. If she’s not careful she’ll take off in that. What is that?”

“I think it’s called a kaftan.”

“Lordy, lordy, please save us.”

A minute later, kaftan girl tripped right in front of us and was only saved from a dip in the pool by Sam’s extremely fast response to seizing as much material as his slight frame could muster.

“Are you alright?” he asked.

“Yeah I am now, fank you. I can’t even swim, I could’ve been a goner if you ‘adn’t gone and grabbed me.”

“You’re most welcome,” he said, attempting to unravel his hand from the swath of material.

“Blimey, I can’t fank you enough. It’s these bleeding shoes, I won’t be wearing them again,” she said, kicking off four inch, orange platforms.

“No problem, happy to assist,” Sam said, returning to his position on the lounge chair.

“Oh, me heart’s beating so fast, I think I’m in shock.”

Sam sat up. “Would you like a drink?”

“I fink I’d better, just to calm me nerves.”

“What can I get you?” he asked.

“Malibu and coke. Better make it a double.”

Sam gestured to the waiter, who wasted no time coming over.

“Darling?” Sam asked, winking at me, “Virgin Strawberry Daiquiri?”

“Yes please darling,” I cooed.

“Oh, aren’t you two sweet. By the way, me name’s Jade,” she said, taking the lounge chair next to Sam.

“I’m Rupert and this is my wife Clarissa.” I smiled over at Jade.

“Bootiful names for two bootiful people.”

“Are you sure you’re ok?” I asked.

She nodded her head yes. “Bleeding hell, imagine if I drowned on me honeymoon.”

“Where is your husband?” Sam asked.

“He’s at the hotel. He had some dodgy seafood last night and he’s paying for it today. Not me, I don’t eat nuffin like that.”

“Are you staying here?” I asked.

“No, we’re staying at the Princess in Southampton. I just came over on the ferry to ‘ave a look about and compare the two. They’re something else aren’t they?”

“Outstanding,” replied Sam, sounding as though he’d just graduated from Annabel’s crash course in elocution.

The waiter delivered our drinks and Jade knocked hers back. “Oh, that’s better. I might need another one of those. I still feel a bit shaky,” she said, inspecting her hands. “Are you one of them modern couples that don’t wear wedding rings no more?” she asked.

Without missing a beat, Sam said, “No, we went snorkeling earlier and didn’t want to risk losing our rings.”

“I won’t be doing any of that stuff, I’m afraid of the water.”

“There are plenty of other things to do here,” Sam offered, “especially on your honeymoon. Right darling?” he asked, brushing his hand over mine. I was tempted to take his fingers and twist them but thought better of it.

Jade continued, “I have to tell you a little secret. Me husband works for BA, you know, British Airways and we’re only ‘ere because he gets cheap tickets, one of the perks of the job and that.”

“Yes, we have friends who work for British Airways, don’t we darling?” Sam said, somehow managing to keep a straight face.

“Lots actually,” I replied.

“Well on the way ‘ere it was touch and go on whether we was getting on the flight or not, but with me husband’s seniority it all got sorted. Them cabin crew were lovely, they didn’t half make a fuss of us. We was treated like royalty.”

“Where does your husband work?” I asked.

“At Gatwick. We’re in Haywards Heath, easy for him to get to work. He don’t half work hard.”

“Does he work on the ground?” Sam asked.

“Yeah, he’s a ground engineer. Bit of a boffin, nuffing like me. That’s what I always tell him.” She let out a hearty laugh. “How long have you two been married then?”

“A very short time,” Sam said, with his biggest smile.

The waiter brought Jade’s drink and this time she put it on the table. Folding her ampleness over, onto her knees, she asked, “Are you used to calling ‘im your husband yet?”

I nodded my head yes and said, “hmmmm.”

“I can’t get used to it meself, then again it’s only been a few days. Jason says I’ll get used to it in no time. This is second time around for ‘im but I told him this is it for me.”

“Well here’s cheers to all the newlyweds,” Sam said, raising his glass.

“Cheers and fanks again. You’re a lifesaver. Jason will probably insist on coming over and shaking your hand, he’s that sort of bloke.”

“Actually we’re only here for the night,” Sam said quickly.

“Oh, wot a shame. I was thinking we could’ve all gone out for a meal together one night.”

“How long are you here?” Sam asked.

“Only ‘til Thursday night.” I watched in glee as Sam winced ever so slightly.

Jade continued, “We wanted to stay longer but, well with the price of the wedding and all that.”

“Thursday you say?” asked Sam.

“Yeah, Thursday night.”

“Here’s the thing Jade,” Sam said, gesturing for her to come in close. She scooted forward and looked up at him.

“We have a friend here who works at the airport for British Airways. He’s, how can I say it? One of the higher ups. What I’m trying to say is, I’ve heard Thursdays are a difficult day for leaving the island. Busiest day of the week apparently. I’d suggest you wait and go home a day later.”

“Oh, that don’t sound good.”

“I’d hate to see you getting stuck at the airport after your honeymoon.”

“I’ll mention it to Jason and see wot he thinks.” She put her hand on Sam’s bony knee. “Cheers for that Rupert, mum’s the word and all that. You know when I spotted you two earlier, I could just tell you’re the sort who knows people like that.”

Oh Jade, if only you knew!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 25th, 1989

March 25th, 1989

Shuttle from BDA-TPA-BDA

Princess Hotel, Hamilton, Bermuda

We operated the Tampa shuttle again and this time I managed to get a hold of Miriam.

Apparently, she received a phone call from the Orlando Police department with regard to what Pamsy and I have come to refer to as “Jumpergate.” Otherwise known as “The Time We Were Robbed In Orlando.” The police officer Miriam spoke to, told her there were a spate of thefts at the hotel, all reported by guests. It was enough to make management set up cameras, where they discovered a few employees from the housekeeping department had a racket going, stealing all kinds of belongings from guest rooms. I can’t wait to hear Pamsy’s reaction to this!

Felt so fat today and my hair was just an absolute disaster. The water is soft here and makes my hair feel fluffy and unruly, horrible combination. On a brighter note, I’m getting paid to spend the day in paradise!

Slight delay leaving Tampa so we didn’t get back to the hotel until closer to midnight and

no one was interested in going out. Suzanne claimed she was suffering from too much sun and went straight to her room. Annabel invited me to her room, which was amusing, considering we have adjoining rooms. I was expecting her to order more mixers for the half bottle of rum that remained, but instead she ordered tea and a selection of desserts from room service. As well as a bottle of champagne.

“This is very civilized,” I said, removing lids from the various dishes on the room service table.

“Well of course darling. Civilization is the name of the game. I’ve been thinking how much fun we could have in the city. You must come and stay sometime.”

“Is that where you live?” I asked.

“Yah. We have the family estate in West Sussex but I share a small pad with my brother in Chelsea.”

“I didn’t know you had a brother?”

“Oh yah, two actually, Henry and Hugo. I share with the older one, Hugo. But not for much longer.”

“Why not?”

“He’s moving in with his girlfriend.” She rolled her eyes, “Much to mummy’s dismay. Anyway, enough about family drama. Do tell me more about Ben. Tea or champers first?”

“Tea, please.”

“Shall I be Mother?” she asked.

“Yes, please.” I held up my cup to her. “What do you want to know?”

“Everything.”

“I can’t explain a six year on and off relationship in one evening.”

“Start at the beginning,” she said, gesturing for me to take my pick of the desserts.

 

When I finished the condensed version of my years with Ben, Annabel responded with, “fascinating.”

“That’s all you can say?”

“No, but I expect that’s all you want to hear of what I have to say.”

“No, go on,” I urged.

Sitting up straight in the wing chair, she said, “None of it makes sense to me. Absolutely none of it. You seem so together.”

“I am and to be honest, a lot of it doesn’t make sense to me either.”

“Oh goodie, so at least you’re not stark raving mad?”

“I don’t believe so.”

“What about you? Are you seeing anyone?” I asked.

“Of course,” she said, draining the last of her champagne.

“Go on.”

“I have several on the go but that will all end when I turn twenty-six.”

“Why?”

“That’s when I’ll leave British Airways and join the BBC. Four more years of flying will be sufficient. Five in total.”

“Is that so?” I asked.

“Yes. It is. Actually.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 24th, 1989

March 24th, 1989

Shuttle from BDA-TPA-BDA

Princess Hotel, Hamilton, Bermuda

Not a peep from Annabel this morning, even though last night, stumbling back into her room, she said she’d open her adjoining door the minute she woke up. We didn’t get too carried away with the rum, in fact I only had two of Annabel’s creations. Even she admitted she didn’t know what she was hoping to achieve by adding different mixers and fruits to the rum, but the end result was yummy. Of course throughout the cocktail making and drinking process, Annabel grilled me big time on Jon and then of course Ben (never takes long for his name to come up.)

“Is he Benjamin?”
“No, just Ben.”

“And his family name?”

“You mean his surname?” I teased.

“Yes, yes,” she said, waving her arm around.

After I told her, she responded with “ghastly.”

I couldn’t contain my laughter. “Annabel, you are a dreadful snob.”

“Perhaps,” she laughed.

I slid a note under Annabel’s door this morning before going to meet Lolly. We used the scooters for the last time and found another almost deserted beach, pure bliss. Back at the hotel, we flew kites around the pool and caught up with some others from Lolly’s crew. At one point, Annabel appeared on her balcony and waved to us like she would a crowd at Buckingham Palace.

Flight time to Tampa from Bermuda was just under three hours. Three very hectic hours, where we didn’t stop. In the terminal, I had a quick bite to eat with Annabel and Suzanne then I tried ringing Miriam in Orlando, but only got the answering machine. Next, I rang Liza.

“Hi Liza, it’s Karen”.

“Oh what a lovely surprise. Where are you, honey?”

“Tampa. On a very short turn around. We’re staying in Bermuda, this is only a quick hop.”

“Lucky you. Too bad it’s a flying visit, oh excuse the pun.”

I laughed.

“I’d offer to come and pick you up if you had more time.”

“That would have been lovely. How are you all?” I asked.

“Aye, we’re all doing well. It’s funny you should call, because I’m just off the phone with Gabriel. I was hoping he was calling back to let me know he’d be back for Easter after all but his girlfri…Maria didn’t want to…anyway that’s that.”

Uh-oh, I thought, Maria playing up again.

“That’s a shame. How about Scottie?”

“He cannae make it either but I wasn’t expecting him to with his work and that.”

“Sorry, I know how much you love having your kids around.”

“Aye, you know we well. I’m sure your mammy’s the same when you’re around.”

I laughed. “I hope so.”

“Will you be home for Easter?”

“Yes and my Nana and my cousin are coming down from Scotland so I’m really looking forward to seeing them.”

“Sounds like you’ll have a nice Easter.”

“My Nana always spends it with us. How’s Carina, is she about?”

“Do you think I’d get you to myself like this if she was here? She’d have already grabbed the phone from me.”

“That’s too bad I missed her, please tell her I send my love. And Kevin, I mean, Mr. Z as well.”

“Kevin is fine, you know us well enough. And I’ll tell both of them. Just the other night Carina and I were looking through the photo’s from when you were here, saying how much we enjoyed your visit”

“It was such a great time. I’ll never forget it.”

“Well let us know when you’re going to be in Orlando again.”

“I will, sorry Liza but it looks like I have to get going.”

“Ok honey, is that you back off to Bermuda?”

“It is.”

“What a life. Enjoy it all while you’re young and single.”

“Tell everyone I send my love.”

“Take care honey, thanks for the lovely surprise.”

“You take care too, bye Liza. Happy Easter.”

Managed a few words with Lolly when she boarded with her crew in Bermuda to take the flight home to Heathrow. I’m so glad we got to enjoy Bermuda together and we agreed to meet up at home as soon as possible.

It was almost eleven when the crew transport arrived back at the hotel but Annabel claimed she wouldn’t be able to sleep without at least “a few glasses of champers coursing through my blood stream.” So, of course, I walked into town with her and helped her fulfill her wish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 23rd, 1989

March 23rd, 1989

Princess Hotel, Hamilton, Bermuda

I was out on the balcony tonight, taking in the gorgeous view and jumped when I heard, “Evening Miss McGarr.” I leaned over the balcony a teeny bit more and there was Annabel, right next door, with a huge grin on her face.

“I almost refrained from disturbing you. You looked rather pensive.”

“Where have you been all day?” I asked.

“Unlock the adjoining door and I’ll come and tell you.”

That was three hours ago.

The day began with breakfast at Harley’s, with Lolly and Suzanne, who suggested we rent scooters. We designated Suzanne as our tour guide, based purely on the fact she’s been here several times. It didn’t take long to get the feel of the scooter and our first stop was in St. George’s, which according to Suzanne was originally called New London. It was, by far, one of the prettiest places I’ve ever seen. We wandered around town, taking it all in then Suzanne suggested going to a beach.

Fifteen minutes later, we were on an expansive, mostly deserted beach, where the three of us wasted no time getting in the water. Swimming felt amazing and I can’t imagine there are too many other places in the world with water as crystal clear and pale as it is here.

Unfortunately, Lolly couldn’t join us tonight because she was operating the Tampa shuttle again, so I met Suzanne and off we went to meet our crew in the Captain’s room, where there was no shortage of conversation. Or wine.

Most of our crew walked into town for dinner, but Suzanne said she couldn’t be bothered to walk, so I jumped on the back of her scooter (not so easy in a skirt.) Ate at a very nice place called M.R. Onions, amazing food, accompanied by even more wine.

Some of our crew was going clubbing but I wasn’t in the mood and neither was Suzanne. We came back to the hotel, with the intention of having an early night, but once I got to my room and turned on the radio, I perked up a little and thought it would be nice to take in the view and get some fresh air before going to bed.

Of course that’s when Annabel showed up and stepped from her room, into mine, once I’d unlocked the adjoining door.

“I had no idea we were flat mates. How exciting,” she gushed.

“What do you have there?” I asked.

“Rum, darling. Yummy, yummy rum.”

“An entire bottle?”

“A gift.”

“From?”

“Some family friends I spent the day with.”

“Do they live here?” I asked.

“Sometimes. You may have heard of them.”

I gave her a questioning look and she held the bottle up.

“Yes, I can see you have a bottle of rum.”

“And the name on it is?” she asked, doing a little spin.

“Bacardi.”

“Well done you. Their company headquarters is across the street you know.”

“I didn’t know that. But then again it’s my first time here, so how would I?”

“Let’s call room service for some mixers and fruits and see what delectable drinks we can come up with,” she said, passing the bottle to me.

I read the label again. “Wait, is this the name of the people you spent the day with?”

“Yes. Now stopping asking questions, Miss McGarr. I want you to sit in that chair and start explaining to me why you’re not going out with the chap who dropped you off at TriStar House.”

I opened my mouth to speak but she put her finger to her lips. “The chap who waited until you were safely inside, before he drove off.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 22nd, 1989

March 22nd, 1989

Flight from London Gatwick (LGW) to Bermuda (BDA)

Princess Hotel, Hamilton, Bermuda

So glad I stayed at Jon’s last night, otherwise it would have been a mega early start this morning. When I ventured downstairs, Jon was already up and he made me tea and toast then offered to drop me off at TriStar House. That was a real treat and saved me from yet another train and tube ride and I know he had to rearrange a few work appointments in order to do so, for which I was most appreciative.

On the crew coach from home base at Heathrow to Gatwick airport, I sat with a girl called Annabel who is, by far, the plumiest sounding girl I’ve ever met. We worked well on the flight together in economy with another lovely girl called Suzanne. Annabel and I got sent on crew rest together and as soon as I pulled the curtain around us, she said, “Your chap is simply divine.”

I thought she must somehow know Ben but I was baffled as to how. Staring at me, she said, “The chap in the rather tasteful car, from which you sauntered into TriStar House this morning? Do keep up McGarr!”

I found myself smirking as she wrapped the band of her velvet eyeshades around her head, “Well?” Is he or is he not your boyfriend?”

“He’s not my boyfriend.”

“Poppycock!” she exclaimed, pulling the eyeshades down, over her eyes.

Most of today’s passengers were coming to Bermuda (or Tampa) on holiday, which meant they were in very good spirits. All except for one poor guy who was ill the entire time. At the end of the flight, he offered Annabel and I fifty quid each to thank us for helping him. Obviously we refused, but when we took our seats for landing, Annabel whispered that we should have accepted and celebrated with some “decent champers.”

Lovely surprise on arrival, when Lolly boarded with her crew, who were taking the flight onto Tampa. We didn’t get much time to chat, but agreed to meet up tomorrow, which I’m looking forward to.

We arrived to the most incredible views of pale pink sand, turquoise water and houses painted in various pastels. On the crew bus to the hotel, the driver had his work cut out for him dodging the tourists on scooters, which I have to say looks like a fun way to explore the island.

The hotel is pink and has an elegant, classic feel to it. I was so happy when I came into my room that I actually sprinted around it in a fit of excitement, that only escalated when I opened the balcony doors to views of the pool and the harbour.

Lovely long shower, with lavish use of the various smellies provided by the hotel. Wrapped myself in the provided cotton robe, shut off the evil air conditioning and slid between the sheets. After an hour’s nap, I woke up feeling refreshed, turned on the radio and waltzed around the room to George Michael singing, “Kissing A Fool.”

Met most of our crew in Robin, our purser’s room, for yummy drinks. It’s interesting how we initially meet in uniform in the briefing room, work together on the flight then show up off duty at a room party (in a different country) in civvies.

Robin looked rather stern onboard, with her hair in a tight bun and her pristine uniform, but tonight her with her hair down she looked much younger and more relaxed. Or perhaps that’s the effect of the rum!

Walked into town for dinner, and everything smelled so fragrant. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant but the food was excellent and expensive. From there, most of us went to the Mariners Club where I enjoyed several dark (black rum) ‘n’ stormies (ginger beer) with Suzanne (so sweet) and Annabel (so posh.)

Thinking about Ben, but making a conscious decision not to for the remainder of my time here on this beautiful island.