April 30th, 1989
Flight from BDA – TPA – BDA
Princess Hotel, Hamilton, Bermuda
Sunday night in Bermuda has proved to be a lot of fun. Actually, we’re already four hours into Monday, which means I probably should be asleep.
Spent this morning by the pool enjoying some lush sun, before getting ready for the shuttle to Tampa. Flight was easy and the passengers were mostly pleasant. I rang Miriam from the terminal in Tampa but only the answering machine picked up. I left a brief message then rang Liza but nobody picked up there either, so I left her a message too.
It was after eleven tonight when the crew bus pulled up outside the beautiful pink Princess hotel. It had already been decided that at least a dozen of us wanted to go out, so after a quick shower and change of clothes, I was back in the lobby to meet the majority of what is definitely a fun crew.
The air felt so refreshing as we walked the short walk into town and I expected most places be quiet, given the hour but that was not the case. We started off at one end of the street with the intention of hitting every bar but we only made it as far as the third one.
Alison and Patty (two lovely girls from Manchester) were beside themselves when the karaoke started up. By that point I’d had more than enough to drink and I made the mistake of telling Alison I’d never dared to sing karaoke before.
“Never?” she asked.
I nodded my head no.
“Let’s request something we can sing together,” she slurred.
“Oh no. I have no desire to get up and sing.”
“Come on,” she said, slapping my leg. “It’ll be a laugh.”
Alison slowly eased her way out of the very comfy couch that was swallowing us (I refuse to believe there’s any correlation between the amount of rum we’d consumed and our posture!) Her glassy eyes stared down at me as she smoothed down her sundress, then rolled her eyes and tripped when she turned to walk away. I cracked up laughing and sank even deeper into the cushion. I felt my eyes closing so I tilted my head back and thought it was probably time I stopped drinking.
A second (or minute?) later my eyes darted open when I heard, “Is that seat available?”
I was about to say, “no,” but the guy was already beside me, not really sitting, more like slumped.
“Man,” he drawled, “this thing is plush.”
“Be careful,” I said, “it’ll eat you alive.”
As soon as the words were out I felt foolish and said, “Sorry, that came out wrong. You startled me there, what I meant to say was…”
“Wow,” he said, staring at me from only six inches away. “Where’s your accent from?”
I stared back at him and thought, “shit, he has eyes like Ben.”
“Tennessee,” I said, trying to keep a straight face.
He smiled. “Well then I guess I’m from, uh, I can’t think of any place.”
We started laughing and he held out his hand (what is it with the Americans and shaking hands?)
I shook his hand. “Hello Travis, I’m Karen.”
“Pleasure to meet you, Karen.”
Alison returned, with a drink in each hand. She had a look of surprise on her face as she passed one of the drinks to me, just as the British DJ announced, “Next up, we have a couple of British Airways girls. Come on up, Karen and Alison.”
I looked up at Alison and gave her the evil eye. “I am not going up there,” I stated.
“Yes you are,” she said, tugging at my arm. “Come on.”
She pulled me up off the couch and I turned to Travis. In a tone I can only describe as flirty, I said, “Come with us Travis.”
“Yeah?” he asked.
“Shoor,” Alison said, clearly failing to mimic his accent.
Travis took my outstretched hand but he was able to get up without any help from me.
“What did you request Alison?” I hissed as we made our way to the stage.
“I don’t remember,” she giggled.
The rest of our crew was already standing at the front of the stage, cheering and clapping. Travis climbed up on the stage first and I felt my face redden when I took his hand and he pulled me up. He stood between us and whispered, “I’ve never done this before.”
“Nor have I,” I breathed back.
As soon as the music started, I recognized one of my dad’s favourite songs and felt relieved that I knew the lyrics.
The three of us started swaying in time to the piano intro and sang loudly into the microphones.
“Why do you build me up, buttercup baby, just to let me down and mess me around…”
By the end of the first verse, we had a dance routine down and I have to say, I’m rather partial to a guy who knows how to dance.
“So build me up buttercup, don’t break my heart…”
April 29th, 1989
Flight from LGW – BDA
Presently on crew rest on the TriStar, with a cup of tea and several chocolate biscuits I managed to nick from First Class. We’re four and a half hours into our busy flight, with just over three and a half to go, before we land.
Dad woke me at five thirty am and I knew it would be a very long time before I’d get to bed again. We had a cup of tea together and when dad was leaving for work he said he hoped I’d enjoy my time in Bermuda, to which I replied, “How could I not?”
Arrived at the crew parking lot early and bumped into Jennifer from my training course. She was on her way to Cairo and said she was really excited. I’m happy to hear she’s enjoying flying, it seems to suit her. She looked like she’s lost weight. Unlike moi!
The passengers in the economy cabin are really nice but unfortunately I’m working with the most awful Purser ever. His name is Walter and he’s an absolutely vile old man. He’s probably about fifty or so and comes across as very disgruntled and unhappy with every card life has dealt him. He’s also a total creep. I’ve been in the cabin for most of the flight, if only to keep my distance from Walter. I can guarantee that to this point none of the passengers are hungry or thirsty. The second the call bell rings, I’m on it. If not before.
Really looking forward to getting to the beautiful island of Bermuda and resting my weary head on a super soft pillow at the Hamilton Princess.
April 28th, 1989
Today was a massive eating day and now I feel really stuffed. I don’t know why I do it but once I get started it’s hard to stop. When I was in Florida at the beginning of this year, I watched a tv show, where people talked about their “eating disorders.” I don’t think I have anything that extreme but if I did, then who the hell would I talk to about it? Some of the people on the show talked about gorging themselves until they got sick. I certainly don’t do that but I do feel extremely sated after everything I scoffed today. My weight doesn’t fluctuate much though, so maybe I just need to stop being such a glutton (especially where certain foods are concerned.)
Went to Willen Lake with mum this morning. We took Tini and he loved the walk but on the way home, he got really sick all over the back seat of the car. Poor little thing. I felt so sorry for him, even when I had to clean up the mess.
Had a lovely chat to Nana on the phone tonight. Mum suggested we ring her because she’s been feeling a bit down recently but she sounded good to me. I wonder if she gets lonely living alone? I don’t think I would like to live by myself. It might be ok for a short time but certainly not something I’d want when I’m Nana’s age, which I can’t imagine ever being. I wonder if it’s just me or if other people also have a difficult time imagining what they’ll be like when they’re much older?
It’s Friday night and I spent it alone in my room, writing an epic letter to Ben. It took ages because I kept stopping and starting. Sometimes I don’t know what to write to him and there are other times when I feel I could write for days on end. I feel such a sense of the distance between us right now and I hate how far away he is. Tomorrow night I’ll be in Bermuda, putting even more distance between us.
To console my sad little heart, I watched Sting’s “Bring On The Night” video. It never disappoints. I love the opening scenes in Paris with all the landmarks but of course the best bits are any time Sting has screen time. I’ll admit, there was a fair amount of drooling involved! I can’t believe that after the amount of times I’ve played and rewound that video cassette, it still works!
April 27th, 1989
Lovely day catching up with friends and writing letters.
I finally got to meet up with Jojo, after a lengthy absence. She’s pregnant! I was delighted to hear her news, so exciting. She’ll be such a lovely mummy. We reminisced about our days working together in the dreary lawyer’s office and both agreed that we never want to work in such an environment again. It’s been months since I last caught up with her but it felt as though we’d just seen each other recently. I think that’s what true friendship is, when you can just pick up from where you left off with no effort, regardless of how long it’s been.
Busy afternoon on the phone with;
Carl – Always has a funny story to share about his trips. There was talk of me possibly spending time at his during my next block of standby, which is coming up shortly.
Sam – What a great character he is. He’s off to Kuwait tonight but clearly wasn’t looking forward to his trip.
Jon – Still teasing me about how “tipsy” I was the other night. He asked if I wanted to go out again this weekend but I told him I’ll be in Bermuda.
Simone – Still as mad as a hatter and by far, the best landlady I could ever have hoped for. I really miss her and the tenants at Birch Road. Must get down there and visit at some point soon. There was never a dull moment living in that house, it was the sort of place books are written about.
Pamsy – Another weekend invitation I can’t accept. She’s anxious for me to get back down there so we can go clubbing and enjoy the beach.
How could I ever be bored???
Mum has been saying for ages how much she wanted to see “The Dead Pool,” so we finally went to The Point to see it. She loves Clint Eastwood as Harry Callahan and with the way she gushed over him, not only during the film, but also all the way home, I’d say she enjoyed it.
When we got home, I played my new Gipsy Kings cd and mum and I danced around the living room, pretending to be flamenco dancers! Mum is a fantastic dancer, she has so much energy and gets really into it. I sat down long before she did!
I really hoped Ben would ring, but it was not to be. I fear he may revert back to last year’s behaviour, when he was in Spain and kept forgetting to get in touch with me. I hated how little we spoke to each other and when we did, it felt strained and unnatural.
I love Ben so much but when we’re together I sometimes feel that I’m not as easygoing as I usually am. He winds me up something rotten and I need to learn how to not let him get to me and just brush things off, so, I’m going to make an effort to change that about myself.
April 26th, 1989
Mum was full of the joys when I finally surfaced this morning (is half past eleven still considered morning?)
“What time did you get in last night?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” I groaned. “Late.”
Filling the teakettle with water, she said, “It was just after one.”
“Why are you asking if you already know?”
Coyly, she said, “I was in the bathroom.”
In an effort to try and steer mum into a different conversation, I said, “I’m glad dad’s feeling better.”
“Aye, it was just a wee bug he had.”
“That’s good. He certainly looked much better last night.”
“No sooner were you and Jon out the door when dad said how highly he thinks of Jon.” Just in case I’d suddenly lost my ability to understand English, she added, “Dad’s awful fond of him.”
“Yes, I know that mum.”
“He is a lovely guy isn’t he?”
“He is, yes.”
“Did you have a nice wee time with him?” she asked, smiling widely.
I nodded my head, realizing there was no point in even attempting to get mum to change the subject. “I did. We had a really good chat and lots of laughs.” Rubbing my head, I said, “It feels like I drank enough for both of us though.”
“Uff,” mum said, waving her hand, “You were just enjoying yourself. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
“I guess not. He’s very funny and never runs out of things to say.”
“A bit like you,” she said, handing me a mug of tea.
The phone rang (thank you for saving me!)
“McGarr. How bad is the hangover?”
“The one you must have after drinking, ah, let’s see, a bottle of wine, followed by…”
“Oh no. Was I that bad?”
“Not at all. I thought you were fantastic actually.”
“Very funny. Sorry if I was a pain.”
“McGarr, stop. I had a great time with you. Even if you did get plastered.”
“I wasn’t plastered,” I pleaded.
“More like sloshed.”
“Stop it! I was not. I was slightly tiddly.”
He pretended to clear his throat. “I’d say more like paralytic.”
“Ugh. No wonder I feel so rough.”
“That’s because you were Brahms and Liszt.”
“Get you with the cockney rhyming slang. Are you done trying to make me feel worse or can we leave it at that?” I asked.
“Let’s leave it at that and do it again soon.”
April 25th, 1989
Tuesday night and I’m tipsy. Just writing that has given me a fit of the giggles and now my writing is all over the place. Phew, my head is spinning quite a bit, must try and keep it up rather than looking down to write. Ah, that’s better! What a great, unexpected evening it was at the Winter Gardens.
I felt fine leaving Dukes Wine Bar so I think this state of “tipsiness” happened in the Zoo Bar whilst we were heavily engrossed in a conversation about life and love and where we think we might end up. I have a feeling he’ll get what he wants out of life, he’s just that sort of person.
Really nice morning at home, relaxing in the garden, enjoying the sun until it got overcast. Mum and I were getting ready to go out when the phone rang.
“McGarr. What a pleasant surprise catching you in the country. How are you?”
I laughed. “I’m fine thanks, how are you Jon?”
“Excellent. Listen, I’m coming up your way this afternoon for a meeting. Just wondering if you’ll be about later to go out for a drink?”
“Eh, I think I’ll be around.”
Mum came into the hall and asked who was on the phone. I put my hand over the receiver, “It’s Jon.”
Her eyes lit up and I shooed her away.
“Are you there McGarr?”
“Yes, sorry, that was my mum asking me something.”
“How is your mum?”
“She’s well, thanks.”
“And your dad?”
“He’s been a bit poorly for the past few days but he went to work this morning so he must be on the mend.”
“That’s good. So I’ll swing by and get you around six?”
“Eh, well I suppo..”
“I’ll ring you if the meeting runs late. Gotta go. See you later McGarr. Bye.”
And that’s the reason I’m tipsy on a Tuesday night.
April 24th, 1989
Flight from LHR – CDG – LHR
Couldn’t believe the amount of traffic on the way to Heathrow at five this morning. Two tedious hours just to go sixty miles. I can’t believe people do that every day, I would be so miserable.
On my way to the crew car park, I spotted Lolly at the bus stop. She had just come back from New York and said it was absolutely amazing. Now, more than ever, I’m desperate for a trip to the Big Apple. Of all the destinations BA flies to, New York is the place I need to get to! Fortunately, I had some time before check in, so I dropped Lolly off at Hatton Cross tube station. She said she’s not enjoying flying as much as she thought she would but I think it’s the sort of thing that takes time to get used to and she agreed with that.
In my mail slot at work was a letter from Annabel. She wrote; “I hope you’ve come to your senses where Ben is concerned. Do let me know!” She will no doubt be sorely disappointed when she reads my reply. She also suggested we request a trip together so I need to take a peek in the BA timetable for some ideas.
I was surprised at how content I felt being onboard the TriStar again and it made me realize how much I’ve missed being at work. Each short sector (forty minutes) to and from Paris was easy and I was home in the early afternoon. As strained as my relationship with driving is, I do have to say I’m enjoying the freedom of a car and certainly don’t miss travelling through central London on the tube during rush hour.
Carl rang and as always we had a great chat. We’re hoping to meet up later this week with some of the others from our training course. I’m dying to know how everyone’s getting on. Carl is doing really well and feels he’s very suited to the flying lifestyle.
Dad didn’t feel good so he went to bed early. I had dinner with mum then we spent hours looking through old photo albums, which I love. Somehow, we got round to talking about Ben and mum asked when I think I’ll hear from him.
“I don’t know, hopefully soon.”
“Are you missing him?” she asked.
“I am but I know this present set up with him working in a different country won’t be forever.”
“You don’t think so?” she asked.
“No, not at all.”
“What do you think will happen?”
“What? When he comes back?”
“With the two of you. In the future,” she said, without looking at me.
Trying not to sound too serious, I said, “I think we’ll get married and live happily ever after.”
I expected mum to laugh but she didn’t. Nor did she say a word.
“You don’t think I’ll marry Ben?”
She closed the photo album and looked at me. “I’ll be honest with you hen. I don’t think you will.”
I felt shocked and blew a stream of air out of my mouth. “Wow. You’ve never said that before.” I felt my chest tighten. “What makes you say that?”
She looked away again. “He makes you cry a lot.”
“I won’t dispute that but I think we sometimes get our lines crossed and I get in a state over nothing. Maybe I need to just calm down a bit, even although he does have a tendency to wind me up.”
Mum gave me a disapproving look and her silence spoke volumes.
“What?” I asked.
“I don’t think it’s you.”
I laughed. “You’re my mum, of course you’d say that.”
She nodded her head. “I just don’t see you being married to him.”
“You really don’t?”
“No, I really don’t.” She gestured to the outside with her hand. “I think there’s a lot more out there for you.”
I guess time will tell.
April 23rd, 1989
It was close to three this morning when Pamsy and I got home from a fantastic night out, first at Boswell’s and TJ’s in Eastbourne, then a party at Guy’s on Parker Road, where we danced for hours to our favourite Johnny Hates Jazz cassette.
Consequently, it was already eleven when Pamsy woke me up with a cup of tea. As usual, we sat on her bed, dissecting the events of the previous evening.
“What did you think of Ollie?” she asked.
“He’s really good looking isn’t he?”
“Cor,” Pamsy said, nodding her head enthusiastically. “They both are. I think Ollie liked you. He asked me if you have a boyfriend.”
“What did you say?”
“I said no and that you are very single.”
“I am not.”
“I wasn’t going to start explaining Ben’s life and whereabouts to someone in a club who clearly likes you.”
“I suppose. Do you like Max?”
“Oh yes. Why are you smirking?” she asked.
“I could tell he liked you as well.”
“Imagine if we went out with two brothers? That could be interesting.”
“Ah, if only I didn’t have a boyfriend.”
Pamsy hit me with her pillow. “Do you want breakfast or should we just go to the pub and have lunch?”
Half an hour later we were sitting in the garden at The Denbigh, with Pamsy’s friend Al. Dave the Wave showed up alone and asked if he could join us. He was in a very chatty mood and when he went to the loo, Al made a comment that Dave seems much happier when Henny’s not around.
Dave invited Pamsy and I over to see the flat he just bought with Dickie. When we got there, Dickie and his girlfriend Shaza were on the couch, draped all over each other. The fact that we were there didn’t deter them from any and all displays of lust. Lust is loud.
When we got back to Pamsy’s, she crimped my hair in preparation for our photo shoot and plastered my face in make-up. We spent hours dressing up in all sorts of outfits, taking pictures of each other. I can’t wait to see how the pictures come out. Pamsy will send them to me after she gets them developed.
The drive home took four miserable hours that have left me feeling cross and in a very ratty mood.