November 4th, 1991

November 4th, 1991

Night flight from BOS – LHR, as a passenger

“Maddie!” Frankie beamed, the second she spotted me stepping onboard, motioning for me to follow her. Instead of taking a right, in the direction of the seat number stated on the boarding card, I followed Frankie through the curtain, to the First Class galley.

“Have you just been to see William?” she said, giving me a huge hug.

“Yes!”

“I knew it!” she said. “You’re glowing. Wait here a sec.”

She strode into the First Class cabin and tapped the Cabin Service Director on the shoulder. He turned his attention from a seated passenger to Frankie, leaned into her whisper and glanced in my direction. He grinned, nodded yes and I held Frankie’s gaze as she sauntered through the cabin, back towards the galley.

“Result,” she mouthed, quickly stepping aside to make room for a young couple. “Good evening and welcome onboard.” Her demeanor was all business as she checked their boarding cards. “Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Starbuck, may I take your coats?”

While they unfurled their scarves, and unbuttoned their matching camel coats, Frankie chit chatted with them, her air professional but friendly. Once they’d entered the cabin she gave me a coy look. “As for you, my lovely, I got you the best seat in the house and you know what that means.”

I gave her a questioning look.

“Bubbles, lots and lots of yummy bubbles. Now follow me please, Miss McGarr.”

 

October 16th, 1991

October 16th, 1991

35,000 feet, somewhere over America

I’m supposed to be on a flight to Toronto but halfway down the M25, my little red car started making sputtering noises, followed by spurts of loss in power that forced me to drive in the slow lane, resulting in me missing the briefing.

 

Shelia in crewing, more commonly known as “the most evil of them all,” gave me a right rollicking and said I’d have to “Take the matter up,” with my fleet manager, who, at that very moment, appeared!

“Nice to see you, Karen,” Brianna smiled. “Where are you off to?”

I began to explain my plight, but Shelia interrupted me. “I told her she’d have to see you.”

Brianna looked confused. “Why?”

“Because shewas late.”

“Car troubles can’t be helped,” Brianna shrugged. “I wouldn’t worry too much. I’m sure you have another trip for Karen.”

Shelia drummed her fingers, feigning a sudden bout of hearing loss.

“Shelia?”

“What?”

“Is there another trip you can stick Karen on? I’m sure she doesn’t want to hang around here on standby all day.”

“As it happens, I do have something.” I could tell from Shelia’s gleeful tone I was headed somewhere awful. She made sure I was looking at her when she sneered, “Lagos.”

“Lovely,” I lied, my heart sinking. “Thank you, Shelia.” For absolutely nothing!

Stretching her lithe frame over the counter, Brianna pointed to the screen.

“Would you look at that, Shelia,” she said, straightening up. “I’ve been guilty of making the same mistake.”

“Mistake?” Shelia hissed. “What are you on about?”

“L o s and l a x. It’s easy to see why you confused them.”

“But, but-” Shelia stuttered.

“Be sure to let Karen know the details,” Brianna said in an authoritative tone, before turning to leave.

“Bye, Brianna,” I said, not daring to look at Shelia, intently taking out her aggression on the poor, innocent keyboard. “Catch,” she growled, tossing the freshly printed roster in my direction. I grabbed it, gave her my biggest fake smile, turned and uttered, “Los Angeles, here I come!”

 

 

October 5th, 1991

462F70E0-657C-4810-874F-7D0CFF6CB7ACOctober 5th, 1991

Hotel InterContinental, Sydney, Australia

Aside from the fact we’re ten and a half thousand miles from home and nine hours ahead of GMT, life in the land down under instills a sense of being on the other side of the world.

One of my favourite things about coming here is spotting the Sydney Opera House on approach, as I take the jump seat and buckle the safety harness. According to one of the passengers, it was opened in 1973 by the Queen to much fanfare, which, given it took 14 years to build, is understandable!

Another thing I love about landing in Sydney is the palpable sense of excitement that sweeps through the cabin. Many of the passengers are coming to reunite with long lost family or in some cases, unite with family they’ve never met, which probably explains the reason I’ve witnessed more tears and hugs in that terminal than anywhere else in the world.

Today, I got to see the Opera House from another vantage point; the water. Sailing past the stark white million plus roof tiles, with the sun glinting, I forgot how jetlagged I am.

September 24th, 1991

September 24th, 1991

Anchorage, Alaska

It’s the last night of this two week trip that took us to Osaka, Narita and Fukuoka in Japan and of course Anchorage. One of those trips where you spend a lot of time with your crew and somehow fall into a routine of meeting for breakfast/dinner, even after lengthy flights through crazy time zones that often left us feeling dead on our feet.

This afternoon, just as I was pondering the possibility of a nap, Creona rang to ask if I fancied going to the pictures. We saw “Thelma and Louise,” which I enjoyed but Creona, in her thick Irish accent, said was, “absolute shite, except for the pretty boy with the floppy hair,” whose name I don’t recall. As good as it was, I much prefer Geena Davis as Muriel in “The Accidental Tourist.” When I told Creona this, she rolled her eyes.

“Don’t tell me,” she huffed. “William Hurt?”

“Love him,” I gushed.

Creona responded with a litany of profanities that I don’t wish to repeat!

As much as I’ve enjoyed the crew and seeing incredible sights, like the glacier in Portage, I’m very much looking forward to getting home to my own bed.

 

September 4th, 1991

September 4th, 1991

Hotel InterContinental, Miami, Florida

Thanks to a problem with the flaps on the Delhi flight that kept us sitting on the ground for hours, the cabin crew went out of hours! Consequently, I got put on standby and shortly thereafter got called out for this Miami.

Weather is amazing and I managed to get a few hours by the pool this morning, which was  super relaxing after last night’s shenanigans down in South Beach, where the salsa music was pumping ‘til the wee hours and the mojito’s flowed.

Leaving in a few hours so time for a little shut eye before heading home to get ready for Sarah’s wedding!

 

 

August 24th, 1991

August 24th, 1991

At home, England

My four day Seattle trip was cancelled (no idea why) and now I’m on standby. With a maximum of only four hours’ notice, I could get called to fly pretty much anywhere in the world. As cool as that sounds, the reality of it means I won’t be able to go to Spain with mum. After everything mum does for me, I hate to disappoint her but I know she’ll understand. Still, I was really looking forward to a nice little getaway that doesn’t revolve around the needs of hundreds of passengers!

 

August 19th, 1991

August 19th, 1991

At home, England

One of the best things about having my own place is the luxury of spending as much time as I want on the phone without anyone (mum, for example) hovering, pretending to “dust this wee table,” just as the conversation’s about to move into juicy territory. So, with that said, I spent most of this rainy day on the phone;

“I’m sorry, who?” Sebastian teased.

“Very funny, you know what trolley dolly life’s like.”

“Oh, don’t I just,” he hollered. “My feet are still killing me, having just walked from L A to London. How’s the sparkler?”

The mention of LA made my mind wander. “How’s the what?”

“Your ring! Do you still get chatted up?”

“Actually, I’m not wearing it.”

“Oh my bridal gowns! That must be the fastest engagement ever!”

“Well…firstly, we didn’t actually get engaged and secondly-”

“You shagged Ben then felt guilty?”

“Something like that.”

“Ah, don’t worry, just blame it on a severe bout of jetlag and get the ring back on!”

 

Carl was next.

“I heard a rumour you’re no longer engaged.”

“Who told you that?”

“Somebody.”

“Somebody who?”

“Somebody we trained with. Maybe.”

“Her name wouldn’t happen to start with L by any chance now, would it?”

He chuckled. “Might do.”

“Argh, Lorna. I told her that in confidence and just so you know, William and I didn’t actually get engaged, we-”

“Wait, let me get this straight, when a bloke buys a girl a ring it’s not an engagement?”

“There’s much more to it than that,” I huffed.

“Good to know. So, I take it Ben managed to inch his way back in?”

“Did you seriously just say that?”

Carl cracked up laughing.

“And no, Ben is notback in the picture.”

“Let me guess, he came round, smelled great, there was wine, there was music, it got late and-”

“Wow Carl, sounds like you were there.”

“Basic moves darling, basic moves.”

 

August 14th, 1991

August 14th, 1991

Halfway across the Atlantic

Heading to the big apple with a plane full of obnoxious passengers! The New York flights are hit or miss and this one is without doubt, the latter. Due, in part I imagine to the two-hour delay on the ground, which really makes the day feel so much longer.

Regardless, I’m sticking to my plan and meeting Christopher tonight for a long overdue catch up. Perhaps, now that he’s engaged, he’ll have some words of wisdom about my love life.

Fingers crossed!

July 18th, 1991

July 18th, 1991

Night flight from DTW – LHR

I’ve heard it said how important it is to know what you want but that it’s more important to know what you don’t and I can say, without a doubt, that I don’t want to live in America. In the big scheme of things, I probably shouldn’t proclaim such after only a short stay in Massachusetts and less than twenty-four hours in Detroit, but that’s really how I feel right now.

I debated over ringing William but after too much wine with my crew, I caved in and found myself dialing the number that (for whatever reason) I can’t seem to commit to memory. After a few minutes, I blurted, “I can’t see myself living there!” which I expected to throw him for a loop but all he said was, “We can figure it out.”

What I failed to tell him is that I spent the most incredible weekend with Ben but I did tell him the ring he (William, not Ben!) bought me is back in its box, stuffed in my dresser drawer. He actually laughed, which I found quite confusing. After that, we talked easily about all sorts then all of a sudden, he said he needed to go to bed.

“Oh, ehm, ok,” I stuttered.

“I love you,” he said, leaving me feeling more confused than ever.

 

July 15th 1991

July 15th, 1991

At home, England

Since Ben left this afternoon, I’ve been replaying the weekend in my mind:

“Thanks for everything,” he said, tossing the last of his things into his bag. “I really don’t want to leave.”

“I don’t want you to, either but I believe Hong Kong is calling.”

“This time tomorrow,” he sighed, “I’ll be in Honkers and you’ll be halfway to Detroit.”

“Don’t remind me,” I laughed, as he moved towards me. Cupping my face in his hands he said, “Thank you for making my twenty-fifth birthday so spectacular. I loved every second with you.”

“No problem,” I croaked. “I’m glad you enjoyed it.”

“Did you?”

“I think you know the answer to that,” I said, pulling away, if only to stop the tears in their tracks.

I need to ring Pamsy. Hopefully she’ll forgive me for being a day late.