March 23rd, 1991

March 23rd, 1991

Hilton Hotel, Melbourne, Australia

Saturday night in Melbourne started with a scrumptious crew dinner that swiftly erased any memory of tedious swims (all two of them!) and dull, limp salads.

On the walk back to the hotel, Andy and I sang songs from Mary Poppins (he insisted on being Julie Andrews) and talked about all sorts.

“Ooooh, look, look,” he cooed, pointing to the shuttle bus pulling up outside the entrance to the hotel. “I wonder if we’ll know anybody.”

“You will,” I laughed. “You know everybody.”

“Let’s sit here and watch them go in.”

I sat next to him on the bench, feeling the first of the Autumn chill. “Do you think they’ll see us?”

“Nah, they’ll be too knackered to be paying attention.”

First off the bus was a woman I’ve flown with, whose name escaped me.

“Shelia”, Andy said. “Lovely old bird. She’s been flying since its discovery,  oh and here come the glamour girls, aw bless, look at them, teetering on them heels. Bet their feet are killin ‘em.”

I stifled a giggle, followed by, “Shit!”

“You know him?”

“Oh yes, quite well actually.”

“Tut, tut, tut,” Andy clucked, teasingly. “What’s his name?”


“Don’t know ‘im but he’s nice looking. You want to go and say hello to him?”


He gave me a questioning look. “You sure?”


“There’s a story there, I know it.”

“There’s always a story. The fact is, I’m just not in the mood for pleasantries, you know?”

“Ooooh, get you, being all ballsy,” he chuckled, pressing his shoulder against mine. “I know those two,” he said, motioning to two handsome looking men.


“Not in the mood either.”

I laughed. “So, I guess we’ll stay here ‘til they check in.”

“Definitely. And then I think it’s time for a night cap? Yeah?”

I nodded in agreement. “What goes with nightcap?”

He licked his lips lasciviously, making me laugh, then breathed, “Chocolate mousse!”


March 22nd, 1991

March 22nd, 1991

Flight from BKK – SYD – MEL

Hilton Hotel, Melbourne, Australia

After feeling like a zombie on the flight, surrounded by vile passengers, I came to the conclusion that I probably shouldn’t have stayed up half the night with Andy C, discussing “love stuff,” over several helpings of chocolate mousse. And club sandwiches. And wine.

“From the sound of it, you still seem pretty cut up about David.”

Feeling the lump forming in my throat, I uttered, “Hmmmm.”

“It’s ok to cry, you know.” His voice and expression combining to bring on the tears.

“Ugh,” I sniffed. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be.”

“I’m just sad there was no-”


I nodded. “It all happened so fast. One minute I was getting ready to meet his family, the next, he was gone. I just hope he’s ok and that know…he-”

“Came out?”

“Uh-huh,” I said, wiping my eyes. “Was it difficult for you?”

“What, coming out?”

I nodded, unsure whether he’d be willing to discuss such a personal experience and for a moment I thought I’d crossed the line but then he started pacing around the room, talking rapidly.

“It’s something I always knew. Always. For as long as I can remember but it wasn’t ‘til I was nineteen that I felt I had the confidence to, you know, tell my mum and dad.”

“And how did they react?”

“Me mam cried but said she had always known and that she loved me no matter what, which, as you can imagine was a huge relief.”

“And your dad?”

A little laugh escaped him. “Me dad slapped me hard on the back and asked if we’d still be able to go down the pub and have a pint!”

I couldn’t help but smile. “So, it was fine?”

“I don’t think it could’ve gone any better but I wish I hadn’t had all them sleepless nights worrying about it for years beforehand.”

I got up and gave him a hug.

“What’s that for?”

“Just saying thanks.”

He smiled widely. “So, no need for anymore chocolate mousse?”

“No, but we should at least finish the wine.”



March 21st, 1991

March 21st, 1991

Dusit Thani Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand

Back to the pool this morning, joined this time, by Barry, a guy I know through Emilio. Barry’s speedos could not have been any smaller or tighter and the reason he can wear such is because he swims every morning, I mean, every morning, whether he’s at home in snowy Scotland or here in sultry Bangkok.

Watching all one hundred and thirty pounds of Barry glide through the pool was enough to make me give up and head back to my room where, amazingly, I resisted the urge to pick up the phone and order eggs benedict (yum!)

Tonight, a bunch of us went to the Telephone Bar, where the phone on our table was very busy with incoming calls, all for Barry (on each table is a phone that connects to the other tables.) Andy C rolled his eyes when, after hearing Barry talk incessantly about his adventures as “A Space Waitress,” he gave me a look that said, “Let’s go.”

Once outside, Andy (who’s camp factor far outweighs Barry’s) cracked me up with his perfect impression of, as he calls him, “Bootiful Baza!”

In the lobby, Andy asked if I was tired.

“No. Just hungry.”

“Me too, let’s grab something at the bar.”

“Sorry, I can’t.”

“Why not?”

“I’m not eating. Or drinking.”

“What, ever again?” he chuckled.

“I’m really trying to be good,” I pleaded.

“Good is overrated,” he winked. “I’m thinking chocolate mousse.”

“Ah,” I sighed. “My weakness.”

“I remembered that,” he said, linking his arm through mine. “So, your room or mine?”


March 19th, 1991

March 19th, 1991

Dusit Thani Hotel,

Bangkok, Thailand

Arrived at 0830 local time to what I refer to as, “wilting weather,” but at least the flight was great, with Andy C working in First Class, which meant lots of yummy food and biscuits.  Andy is always great fun so hopefully it’ll be a decent trip.







March 18th, 1991

March 18th, 1991

Night flight from LHR – BKK

With the arrival this morning of yet another outrageously expensive phone bill, I took the initiative and rang crewing to see if I could start standby earlier than tonight, which was lucky as someone had just called in sick for this trip.

So, it’s off to Bangkok we go!


March 12th, 1991

March 12th, 1991

Night flight BDA – LGW

Sore feet, throbbing head, happy heart! That’s my present condition as we wing our way home, after the most amazing time celebrating Lorna and Klaus’s nuptials.

Meryl and Kimberly are working while Carl and I are on first crew rest. No sooner did we pull the curtain around us when Carl fell into the seat and zonked out! We only have thirty minutes, so while Carl’s getting a crick in his neck, I’m drinking tea and chomping my way through a plate of biscuits.

Ah, the glamour!



February 16th, 1991

February 16th, 1991

Night flight from BDA – LGW

Spent most of the day poolside, under the shade of an umbrella, watching in amusement as Ava swanned around the pool, her Rubenesque figure swathed in a pastel coloured creation that took on a life of its own anytime the wind kicked up!

“We really must stop meeting like this,” Graham said as I looked up from the sun lounger.

“Given our line of work, that might be difficult,” I smiled. “And I take it you’re off to Tampa?”
He nodded. “You have my number, right?”

We have a running joke that I lost his number, based on the fact I never ring him.

“Somewhere, yes,” I laughed, sitting up.

“I’d love to take you out for a drink at home sometime, you know, like normal people.”

“But we’re not…” I started to say, just as Ava appeared in a cloud of billowing polyester.

“Graham dahling,” she gushed, leaning in for a kiss. “I do hope you’re securing a date with Miss McGarr.”

“I’m trying,” he laughed.

“Try harder,” she said, lightly smacking his arm. “And as for you Miss McGarr, don’t forget what I said about the boat,” she winked, before slinking her way in the Captain’s direction. Graham gave me a quizzical look. “What’s that about a boat?”

“Just a few words of wisdom,” I shrugged.

Some people really suit being in uniform and Graham is definitely one of them. He smiled at me in such an appealing way that for a second, I thought I might ask if he’d be interested in being my guest at Lorna and Klaus’s wedding.

“What?” he said, grinning.

I waved my hand dismissively. “Nothing. I hope the Tampa shuttle goes well, with no delays.”

“You’ll be gone by the time I get back, right?”


“Can I give you a kiss goodbye?”

“No kissing allowed in uniform,” I laughed.

“You’re not in uniform,” he grinned, bending towards me. I expected a peck on the cheek but he went for a full mouth kiss, taking me totally by surprise. “Ring me,” he whispered.


January 31st, 1991

January 31st, 1991

Night flight from ANC – LHR

I was in bed when the hotel fire alarm went off and at first, I thought I was dreaming, ‘til I heard Emilio yelling my name as he banged on my door.

I jumped out of bed, wrapped the blanket around my nightshirt, slid my shoe on and opened the door.

“Hurry up,” Emilio rattled. “You never know if these things are real or not.”

“Wait,” I said, wiping my eyes. “I need to put my other shoe on.”

“No time for that,” he said, grabbing my arm. “C’mon.”

We took the stairs two at a time and in the lobby, I was so surprised to see so many guests but even more surprised when the hotel staff started directing everyone outside.

“But it’s freezing,” I said, to nobody in particular.

“Get on my back,” Emilio shouted, as the doors opened, the frigid air smacking us.

“No way, I’m too heavy. I’ll flatten you!”

“Ye cannae hop through the snow! C’mon!”

I jumped on his back and we made our way through the parking lot to the “Meeting Point.”

“I think they’ve done this before,” he laughed.

“How did you get dressed so fast?” I asked, sliding off his back, resting my bare foot on his boot.

“I was still up,” he said, wrapping his blanket tightly around us as we watched the guests pile out of the hotel. Emilio joked that he barely recognized, “Some of the old birds without the war paint.”

Mean little Harold was one of the last guests to come out. He was wearing tartan flannel pajamas and velvet slippers, monogrammed with HWC which Emilio whispered stood for, “Hairy Wee Creep!” Perched on top of Harold’s head was a pair of First Class eyeshades and he was wrapped in a white crocheted blanket, the type of which you’d find a newborn swaddled in, prompting Emilio to whisper, “Harold loves his Mummy!”

Ten almost frozen to death minutes later, the fire alarm was declared “False,” and we were led back inside the hotel (another piggyback!) Emilio said there was no way he’d be able to sleep after seeing Harold in his “wee willie winkie outfit,” so he came to my room.

We were more than ready for a stiff drink but with call time only three hours away, we had to settle for tea.


January 26th, 1991

January 26th, 1991

Narita, Japan

First time in Japan! The hotel is very cool and minimalist looking and the bed consists of a thin mattress, perched on a wooden platform, raised only inches off the floor. The bathroom is outfitted entirely in white marble and is by far, the nicest bathroom I’ve ever been in.

At Narita airport, Emilio got mobbed by a bunch of Japanese schoolgirls who mistook him for Michael J. Fox! They chased him through the terminal, all the way outside the airport doors, pushing an array of items into his hands, all for his autograph! Being the Hollywood star he is, he obliged. Sorry Perfect Penny, you just officially lost the race for the Oscar!

Because it’s also Emilio’s first time here, we agreed to meet up with most of our crew in the hopes of experiencing something new but after a short bus journey into town, we ended up in The Red Lion, where sadly some of the crew went so far as to order pie and chips. Ugh!

Sensing our disappointment, Sally suggested Emilio and I go to The Truck, which neither of us had heard of, so she pointed us in the direction of the shuttle bus and off we trod. A short while later, in perfect English, the bus driver announced, “The Truck.” We thanked him as we stepped tentatively off the bus into what was essentially the parking lot of the Ana Hotel. Vehicles were flying by on the adjacent motorway and I was quite sure we were in the wrong place. I was about to say so when Emilio pointed to a container, sitting at the other end of the parking lot, the type of which you’d find attached to a long-distance lorry.

“Listen,” he said, holding his hand to his ear.


“Aye, and singing. Karaoke by the sounds of it,” he said, with a mock shudder. “Seems the Virgin Atlantic crew are already there,” I laughed.

Inside, we squeezed our way to the bar, recognizing a few familiar crew faces, before quickly downing a couple of shots of tequila, prompting Emilio to suggest we sing.

“I am not getting up there,” I stated, quite vehemently.

“Aye, you are,” he chuckled. “C’mon it’ll be a laugh.”

“What’re we singing?” the all too familiar voice said. I spun around to see Ben, sporting his signature grin, looking not at all unattractive. Feeling shocked (slight understatement) I stuttered, “Fancy meeting you here,” which sounded absolutely ridiculous and made me blush.

“And you,” Ben smirked, kissing my cheek.

“Ben, this is Emilio,” I said, trying not to react to the light kick Emilio gave my ankle, no doubt letting me know he knew exactly who Ben was!

“Hello mate,” Ben said, nodding confidently in Emilio’s direction. “So, Karen,” Ben continued, turning to me. “What should we sing?”

“Ehm,” I croaked, feeling totally flustered. “Whatever you want.”

“Sweet Dreams?” he suggested.

“Yeah, ok,” I nodded, trying not to react to another of Emilio’s not so gentle kicks to my ankle.

“Emilio,” I said, stressing his name. “Will you sing with us?”

“Nah,” he said, shaking his head. “I think the two of you will be better off doing it together.”

I gave him “a look,” that he responded to by tapping his foot against mine, then I tried to ignore the lascivious manner in which he slowly ran his tongue over his lips.

“Stop it!” I hissed, through gritted teeth, trying not to laugh.

“Get up there and show us how it’s done,” Emilio chuckled, just as Ben grabbed my hand and led me to the makeshift stage.

“Sweet dreams are made of this, who am I to disagree? I travel the world and the seven seas, everybody’s looking for something.”

Oh, what a night!


January 8th, 1991

January 8th, 1991

At home, England

Florence came over tonight and surprisingly, we didn’t even finish the bottle of wine she brought.

“There’s too much to talk about, love,” she smiled.

“You can say that again!”

“So, what happened? And I promise I won’t interrupt or ask any questions ‘til you’re done.”

“You’ll never be able to do that,” I laughed.

“Watch me,” she said, with a mischievous wink.

“Ok, so the phone was ringing when I got home yesterday morning and it was, as you know, freezing, so it took me a while to fiddle with the key and get it in the lock, but when I came in, the phone was still ringing, so, I dashed into the living room and picked it up, hoping and don’t hate me for this, hoping it might be Ben to say he was coming to see his parents for the day or something.”

Florence rolled her eyes but didn’t speak.

“I know, I know…Anyway, when I picked up, I said, “Hello?” and the voice said, ‘Do I call you Karen or Madison?’”

Florence’s eyes widened.

“Yup, William! And guess what the first thing I said was?”

Her expression asked, “What?”

“I said, hang on a sec, I have to shut my front door!”

Florence burst out laughing.

“So, I shut the door, dragged my suitcase into the living room and we were on the phone for about two hours!”

Florence’s hands gestured, “And?”

“Obviously he received my epic letter, the one you suggested I send, explaining, for example, the fact I don’t actually work for Vogue or live in New York. And that my name is actually Karen and not Madison Frazer!”

Florence shook her head, as I continued. “Let’s see, oh yeah, so he asked when I’m going back to Antigua and I said Millie had suggested we try and get the fourteen day trip again but when I said that he got a bit quiet so either he isn’t interested in me being there that long or he doesn’t like Millie much.”

Florence’s expression led me to believe it was the latter.

“I know she can be a bit of a pill sometimes and looking back she wasn’t particularly nice to him so we’ll see but for now we agreed to keep in touch and I told him what you said about showing up on my doorstep and he said ‘don’t’ give me ideas.’ I mean, can you imagine if he did? That would be absolutely mental. Anyway, that’s it! You can talk now. Say something!” I urged.

“I don’t know what to say,” she laughed.

“You’re never at a loss for words.”

“So, you’re going to keep in touch and see how things go?”

“Yes, but to be honest with you after what happened with David I’m in no rush to get involved with anyone, let alone someone who once again lives thousands of miles away.”

“This is different though.”

“How so?” I asked.

“Well for a start, William’s only stationed in Antigua, so at some point I imagine he’ll probably go back to the States.”

“Oh yes, he did mention that. He should be back in the States within the next six months or so.”

“Does he know where?”

“Not yet but I’m hoping LA!”

She chuckled. “You need to stay away from there!”

I sighed. “I know but I still think about David. I wonder if he came out to his family.”

“Well let’s hope if he did, it was a good experience.”

I hope so.