November 15th, 1989

November 15th, 1989

Flight from MCT – RUH – LHR

This trip has been, by far, the most unsociable one to date. I didn’t see another soul from our crew until pick up. On the crew bus, there was no mention of what anyone had been doing. Seems we were all being hermits and as much as I wouldn’t want that to be the norm on every trip, I have to say, it was pretty nice lounging around my luxurious, opulent hotel room reading and ordering room service (especially the chocolate mousse!)

Thanks to my purser Sonya’s mood swings, I’m on crew rest for two hours. She was full of beans at pick up and insisted on sitting beside me on the crew bus, where she chatted animatedly about her cats and how much she’s looking forward to getting home to them.

On the outbound sector, Sonya worked us really hard and made us miserable with her appalling attitude. Tonight, a stop in Riyadh to pick up passengers didn’t faze her in the least. I would definitely put Sonya in the “Double M,” category of women I don’t particularly enjoy working with. Having said that, I’ve also worked with numerous women her age that are absolutely lovely so I guess it’s more of a personality issue than a hormonal one.

Note to self; Beware of turning into a Menopausal Matron once you reach forty!

 

 

November 13th, 1989

November 13th, 1989

Flight from LHR – MCT

Hotel Inter Continental, Muscat, Oman

Flight time was seven and a half hours, which, after the late night with Lorna and Daniel, seemed to drag on. Plus, the economy purser I’m working with is an absolute witch, who took great pleasure in allowing us only the minimal amount of time for crew rest.

We arrived in the dark so it’ll be nice to get out tomorrow and see the surroundings. That is, of course, if I can drag myself out of this, the plushest, most comfortable bed, ever!

 

November 11th, 1989

November 11th, 1989
At home

“Hey Karen, it’s David.”
Ah, that voice. “David! Hello! You’re up early.”
“Oh I guess old habits die hard,” he laughed.
“The beauty of a routine filled life.”
“I’ll bet that’s something you don’t get as a flight attendant.”
“Not at all,” I said.
“I know I have a hard time dealing with different time zones when I travel.”
“Actually I do too. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it.”
“Well I’m surprised you picked up, I figured I’d be talking to your mom first.”
Instinctively, I looked upstairs and felt a pang of sadness.
“Hey Karen? You there?”
“Yes.”
“Are you ok?” he asked.
“Eh, yeah, sorry. My mum’s actually not been feeling well recently.”
“Oh that’s too bad. Does she have like the flu, or something?”
“Something like that,” I said, not quite knowing what else to say.
“Okay, tell your mom I hope she gets better soon.”
“I will, thanks,” I said, suddenly feeling like I might cry.
“So, I was talking to a buddy of mine here at work who knows Tokyo pretty well and he said I can take a train from Tokyo to Narita.”
“Oh, that sounds promising.”
He laughed. “I love your expressions.”
I felt myself blush. “So, eh, do you think you might want to do that?”
“Sure, if it’s ok with you?”
“Absolutely, it’d be great to meet up.”
“Cool. Okay, I had another idea.”
“Go ahead.”
He laughed again. “How about if I get a room at your hotel? I could stay for two nights before I go home?”
Several visions of us “Going To London,” together flew through my head and I felt my cheeks flush again.
“That sounds like a great idea.”
“Are you sure?” he asked.
“Absolutely. Let’s do it.”

November 9th, 1989

November 9th, 1989

Flight from LHR – CDG – LHR

Excelsior Hotel, Heathrow

Call came just three short hours after Jon dropped me off. When I answered the phone, I felt groggy and would’ve given anything to stay in bed but once again, Paris was calling. Both the outbound and inbound flights were chock-a-block, with impeccably dressed French women.

Back at the hotel, it was a quick change, in preparation for Sam’s arrival. He came bounding into my room, talked incessantly for about five minutes, then fell into the chair and asked, “How are you darling?”

“I think the question is how are you?”

He laughed. “Obviously I’m excited to see you. Oh, and I have a favour to ask.”

“What?”

“How do you feel about a quick detour to the Windsor area before we meet Lolly?” he asked.

“Let me guess, you have an appointment with Her Majesty.”

“No darling, we all know there’s only one queen around here.”

I laughed. “But of course. Actually, I’ve never been to Windsor Castle, I’d love to see it.”

Sam feigned a yawn. “Oh please, if you’ve seen one castle, you’ve seen them all.”

“Ok, so if we’re not going to the castle then where are we going?”

Pretending to sweep his hair off his face, he said, “To the land of floppy haired boys.”

“Sorry, Sam, I have no idea what you’re on about.”

“Eton, darling. Eton College.”

The young men of Eton, dressed in their tailcoats, were indeed a sight to behold and it was I who insisted Sam and I take another slow walk around the perimeter of the main building.

“I knew you’d like it here,” Sam grinned.

“Oh yes,” I said. “So much better than tea with the queen.”

Our next stop was in Richmond, where we met up with Lolly and her ex-boyfriend, Gary, who was so gorgeous that I’m wondering why he’s her ex! He was also really friendly and very easy to talk to. For the remainder of the evening, there was barely a lull in the conversation and plenty of laughs.

We talked about how much our lives have changed since we joined British Airways back in January and how fortunate we are to be making a living from flying around the world. Sam suggested the three of us buy a flat together, which I don’t think would be the worst thing to do. There’s no way I could afford to buy a flat around Richmond by myself, at least not yet, so maybe Sam’s idea is one way we can at least get our feet on the property ladder.

 

November 8th, 1989

November 8th, 1989

Flight from LHR – CDG – LHR

Excelsior Hotel, Heathrow

Lorna reappeared at three this morning.

“Where have you been?” I whispered, so as not to wake up Jill.

“Downstairs at the bar,” she slurred, in a huffy not so quiet tone.

“Shhhh,” I said, gesturing to Jill, asleep in my bed.

“Wit the hell is she doing in your bed?”

I started to say, “Keep your voice down,” but Lorna’s expression was so comical looking that I cracked up laughing.

Jill promptly woke up, shot out of bed and made a mad dash for the bathroom.

“Ugh,” Lorna said, contorting her face when we heard Jill vomiting.

“That poor thing,” I said. “She’s really going to regret this.”

“So she’s in your bed because she got drunk?” Lorna asked.
I nodded my head, yes. “She seemed fine at the pub, didn’t she?”

“Aye, I didn’t even see her drinking much.”

“Nor did I but shortly after we came back here, she got absolutely legless.”

“I know how that feels,” Lorna laughed, swaying in an exaggerated fashion.

“But,” I stated, “I digress. So, getting back to my question, where have you been?”

“I told you, I was at the hotel bar.”

“And?”

“And I bumped into an old eh, pal.”

“Who?”

“Uff,” she sighed. “It’s a long story. Can we get room service? I’m bloody starving.”

“It’s three in the morning.”

“What are you? The food police?”

I rolled my eyes. “Will tea and toast suffice?”
“Brilliant,” she said, making her way to the bathroom. “Jill honey, it’s me, Lorna, let me in.”

Jill let out a series of guttural sounds that I interpreted as “Go away and leave me alone.” Lorna clearly didn’t understand any of it.

“Let me in honey, I can give you a wee hand.”

“Go away,” Jill groaned.

“That’s it,” Lorna shouted, twisting the door handle. “I’m coming in.” She barged through the door and I tried to keep a straight face while I ordered room service.

Lorna somehow managed to coax Jill away from the porcelain throne and I watched as Jill shuffled her way past me.

“There you go, honey,” Lorna said, tucking Jill into bed.

“I guess I’ll be sleeping on the couch,” I whispered.

“Actually,” Lorna said, “I was going to ask if I could stay here.”

“Why? What’s wrong with your room?”

“Uff, it’s a long story,” she huffed.

“Uh, sure, ok. Do you want the couch?”

“Aye, that’d be brilliant honey, thanks,” she said, making herself comfortable.

After we’d scoffed down the toast and two pots of tea, I got myself situated at the opposite end of the bed to Jill and tried to ignore the awful stench coming from the bathroom. When I turned off the light, the phone rang.

“Hello?”

“Hiya, it’s Daniel. Sorry but I think my ID might be in your room, did you see it anywhere?”

“No,” I whispered.

“Shit, pick up’s in ten minutes, I can’t go to Paris without my ID.”

“You can’t go anywhere without your ID. Hold on a sec while I have a look around.”

I turned on the light and scanned the room. Lorna was asleep with her legs dangling over the arm of the couch and Jill was snoring.

The absurdity of the situation hit me when I found myself crawling on the floor to look under the bed. I let out a chuckle when I spotted Daniel’s ID and reached my arm as far as it would go, just enough to grab the lanyard. When I got back on the phone, I sounded slightly out of breath. “Got it.”

A few minutes later, Daniel was at the door.

“Here you go,” I said, handing him his ID.

“Thanks. What’s that smell?”

I yawned. “I’m too tired to talk, I’ll tell you tomorrow.”

He peeked into my room. “Is that Lorna on the couch?”

“Yes, shhh, please.”

Shut up and go to Paris!

I closed the door and for a split second I imagined sliding my body down the door like the people you sometimes see in films; the ones in deep despair, on the edge, the ones who can’t take it anymore. Once again, I found myself chuckling at the absurdity of it all and climbed back on top of the bed.

I tried, to no avail, to sleep and when the sun came up, I had to contain my laughter at the sight of Jill, sprawled across the bed with her hair plastered across her face, which reminded me of Frankie, in Christopher’s apartment in New York.

Lorna woke up demanding more tea and toast, which I, of course, ordered. And when Jill eventually stirred, the first thing she said was, “It smells putrid in here.” All I could do was shake my head.

When the pair of them eventually left, I took a shower, put my uniform on and went to Paris (and back!)

When I got back to my room, the bed was made and the room smelled fresh again.

Thank you and sorry, housekeeping! I collapsed on the bed and woke up, thanks to the alarm, three hours later. I quickly got ready and headed down to the lobby to meet Jon, as planned.

“McGarr,” he grinned, coming towards me. “How the devil are you?”

“Slightly knackered,” I laughed, feeling his kiss on my cheek, “but fine.”

“You don’t look tired, you look great.”

“Thank you for lying, I need that right now.”

He tilted his head to the side. “It’s true. You always look great.”

“As do you,” I said, stepping back to admire the dapper looking tailored jacket he’d paired with jeans.

“Nice get up,” I said.

“Thanks for noticing, McGarr.”

We chatted easily, while Jon drove us in his new VW Golf (really nice, might have to get one!) to London. Had dinner in Covent Garden then popped in and out of various wine bars. Jon asked a slew of questions about Ben and after I was done filling him in, he shook his head.

“What do you mean by that?”

“Sorry McGarr,” he sighed, “but he sounds like a prize prick.”

“Don’t hold back,” I laughed. “Tell me what you really think.”

 

November 7th, 1989

November 7th, 1989

Flight from LHR – CDG – LHR

Excelsior Hotel, Heathrow

Daniel just went to his room, Lorna disappeared hours ago and Jill is in my bed, but as usual, I’m getting ahead of myself!

Last night’s chance meeting with Annabel ended about four this morning, after which, I stumbled upstairs to my room and zonked out, ‘til call came at two this afternoon! It was another easy duty day to Paris and back but not nearly as interesting as yesterday’s flight

I couldn’t wait to get back to the hotel so I could get into bed and read until I fell asleep (what a wild one I am!) However, that all changed when I walked into the lobby.

“Och, look what the cat dragged in,” Lorna said as soon as she spotted me.

I laughed. “Thanks Lorna, that’s just what I need at the moment. Hiya Daniel,” I said, kissing him on the cheek.

“Remind me no to go to Paris if that’s what it does to you,” Lorna teased as she hugged me.

“How do you know where I was? And what are you two doing here?”

“We met your posh pal, Annabel, this morning,” Daniel explained.

“Oh, so you’re all on the same crew?”

“Aye,” Lorna said. “That Annabel’s a bloody scream, I thought she was putting that accent on but apparently not.”

“It’s real,” I laughed. “She really is that posh.”

I saw Lorna look over my shoulder and smile then I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned, half expecting to see Annabel.

“Jill, wow, what a surprise.”

“Hello you lot,” she said. “Let me guess. Paris?”

“You guessed it,” Lorna said. “This is turning into a mini training course reunion. Are you on standby?”

“No,” Jill said. “I start the Paris dailies first thing tomorrow.”

“Fantastic,” Daniel chipped in, “So, we can all go to the pub.”

I yawned.

“None of that,” Lorna said, pointing her finger in my direction.

“Right then,” Daniel said, rubbing his hands together. “Obviously you need to change Karen, how long do you need?”

“About ten minutes.”

“Hurry up,” Lorna shouted. “We don’t have all night.”

 

That was seven hours ago.

 

November 6th, 1989

November 6th, 1989

Flight from LHR – CDG – LHR

Excelsior Hotel, Heathrow

One of the best parts of doing a Paris block is getting to stay at the hotel. Obviously we can come and go as we please and it’s not mandatory to stay but for me it makes sense to, rather than driving back and forth every day.

The actress, Dianne Wiest was on today’s outbound sector, as were the group, De La Soul (I’ve had “Three Is The Magic Number,” in my head ever since.) Dianne Wiest was absolutely lovely and I could’ve chatted to her all day. When I told her mum and I have watched “Hannah And Her Sisters,” at least a dozen times, she squeezed my hand and said, “Thank you, sweet girl,” in that wonderful voice of hers. There’s something about her that draws you in, I can totally see why she’s such a successful actress.

“You know,” she continued, “Playing Holly was very special to me.”

“I loved her character,” I said. “My mum always cries during her final scene.”

She laughed. “Then I guess I did a good job.”

“Hence, the Oscar,” I said, with my widest smile.

 

Got back to the hotel around seven tonight and when I walked into the lobby, I recognized another distinctive voice I’ve come to love.

“No, no, you mustn’t put me in that dreadful, dreary room. There simply must be something better.”

The girl behind the reception desk blushed deeply and distracted herself by shuffling papers around in front of her.

“Annabel!” I exclaimed, coming up behind her.

“By Jove, Miss McGarr,” she said, spinning around. “You just gave me the fright of my bloody life!”

“Sorry,” I laughed, returning her hug. “Sounds like you’re causing trouble here.”

“Not at all,” she said, pointing her nose in the air. “What are you doing here?”

“Day two of Paris dailies. How about you?”

“Same actually but I came up early to avoid the ghastly morning rush hour.”

“Do you have any plans?”

“I do now,” she giggled.

 

November 4th, 1989

November 4th, 1989

At home

I must absolutely, positively stop eating! I finally got up the courage to step on the scale this morning and I weigh four ounces less than nine stone (125lb’s, ugh!) I think if I could stop feeling so sad about everything, I’d eat less but when will that happen?

Mum surfaced this afternoon and of course the second I saw her coming down the stairs, I envisioned a lovely, long walk with her and lots of chat along the way. I sat at the kitchen table pretending to write, but I was more focused on watching mum. She moved slowly around the kitchen as though it was her first time there. We exchanged a few words but she seemed really out of it and within ten minutes she was back in bed.

Dad came home from grocery shopping, laden with all sorts of goodies that I will miss eating! He asked if I had any plans for tonight and I didn’t, until Sebastian rang and asked if I fancied going to a Guy Fawkes party with him.

Last time I saw Stephen, I asked if he minded me keeping in touch with his ex. He pretended to be outraged but I know he was joking, so, with that in mind, I agreed to go. Plus, I couldn’t bear the thought of another miserable Saturday night, stuck at home.

It took forty minutes to drive to Sebastian’s but only because I got a bit lost. It was lovely to see him again and we immediately started talking ten to the dozen, in between which we cracked up laughing over how much there was to catch up on.

Sebastian said the party was at his friend Tracy’s house, which was only a ten-minute walk, lucky for us because there was absolutely nowhere to park. I thought we were going to a small gathering in somebody’s living room but the party was outside, complete with a raging bonfire.

I was surprised to find out Tracy is, in fact, not a girl, but a gorgeous guy, with an even better looking boyfriend, called Mason. They were both absolutely lovely and made me feel really welcome. Mason is cabin crew for Monarch but really wants to join British Airways, so we had much to talk about while we stood by the bonfire.

Right before midnight, another gorgeous creature passed around baked potatoes slathered in beans and coleslaw (my last meal, sob sob) and a few of the other party guests set off fireworks. Sebastian joked that it was all very romantic, which it really was.

“Moments like this make me miss Stephen,” he sighed.

“Aw, sorry you’re feeling like that.”

“Don’t worry,” he joked, “The feeling will soon pass.”

I laughed. “He’s a handful, that’s for sure.”

“Such a great guy though.”
“He really is. This is all right up his alley, don’t you think?” I asked, looking around at the throng of people around us, some of whom were dancing.

Sebastian nodded yes and gave me a questioning look. “So?”
“So what?” I asked.

“Who do you miss in moments like this?”

“No-one,” I lied.

November 1st, 1989

November 1st, 1989

At home

I soon got bored sitting in my hotel room last night and with the commotion next door, I could barely hear the telly, so I went for a wander around the hotel and there, sitting in the lobby, was Carl.

“Sis!” he exclaimed, jumping up. “What are you doing here?”

“Probably the same as you,” I said, returning his hug.

“Standby?”

“Yup.”

“How much longer?” he asked.

“I finish tomorrow at noon.”

“Same here.”

“So we’re both stuck here,” I groaned.

“Yeah, but all is not lost,” he smiled.

I gave him a questioning look.

“We can’t leave the hotel but last time I checked there was a bar here.”

“Oh,” I said. “This will be a first.”

“What?” he asked.

“Us, together in a bar, drinking non-alcoholic beverages.”

“First time for everything,” he laughed.

“And probably the last.”

“Yeah, exactly, but before we overdose on sugary drinks, I need to pop up to my room.”

“Ok,” I said. “I’ll wait here for you.”

“I won’t be a minute, just need to grab some photos.”

“Of what?”

“My last trip.”

“Where were you?”

He grinned. “Banjul.”

“I’ve heard a few, eh, stories about crew shenanigans in that particular destination.”

He laughed. “I’m not saying a word, you can decide for yourself after you see them.”

 

Unruly, corybantic and riotous. And that’s putting it mildly.