Big, huge, thanks!

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Thank you to all who read, followed and liked Miss McGarr’s Diary. I started posting two years ago and have been amazed at the response to my diaries from life in 1989 and 1990.

Posting daily has been a labour of love and as most of you know, seriously time consuming so my blog will now focus on other writing projects.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year and again, THANK YOU!

 

 

 

December 30th, 1990

December 30th, 1990

Night flight from MEL – PER

Short, uneventful stay in Melbourne, now on crew rest, as we make our way to Perth, the place where we’ll bid farewell to 1990, the year in which I travelled to;

Lagos, NIGERIA

Malaga, SPAIN

Jeddah, SAUDI ARABIA

Doha, Qatar, SAUDI ARABIA

New York, New York, USA

Montreal, CANADA

Detroit, Michigan, USA

HONG KONG

Washington, Dulles County, USA

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Toronto, CANADA

Johannesburg, SOUTH AFRICA

Nairobi, KENYA

Dusseldorf, GERMANY

Kingston, JAMAICA

Amsterdam, HOLLAND

Bergen, HOLLAND

Los Angeles, California, USA

Abu Dhabi, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Miami, Florida, USA

Antigua, WEST INDIES

Durban, SOUTH AFRICA

Cairo, EGYPT

Harare, ZIMBABWE

Seattle, Washington, USA

Vancouver, CANADA

Caracas, VENEZUELA

Bogota, COLUMBIA

Puerto Ayacucho, VENEZUELA

Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Newark, New Jersey, USA

Cologne, GERMANY

Bangkok, THAILAND

Melbourne, AUSTRALIA

Adelaide, AUSTRALIA

SINGAPORE

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

A total of 21 countries and 376, 279 miles!

 

December 29th, 1990

December 29th, 1990

Night flight from BKK – MEL

Winging our way to the land down under on this Saturday night, on a plane filled with crying babies that literally haven’t stopped since we left Bangkok four hours ago, which means we have another five to go.

Ugh!

 

December 28th, 1990

December 28th, 1990

Dusit Thani Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand

Graeme left first thing to operate the flight to Melbourne, which was most welcome as he was just starting to get on my nerves. There are very few people I want to spend heaps of time with and I rediscovered Graeme isn’t one of them but hey, no regrets!

Spent most of the day with Penelope Platt-Balfour (from my crew) who’s make up and blonde chignon looked as immaculate at the end of the day as when we met this morning. Even after hours in the sticky heat, nothing about her appearance faltered. It was ridiculous, I mean, who goes shopping in the markets of Bangkok wearing pearls?

Penelope just got engaged to Jeremy (three carats) and they’re going to live happily ever after in their country house in Hampshire; “We plan to build on a parcel of land Jeremy’s mummy and daddy acquired.” A “Parcel of land,” in Penelope’s world is equivalent to half of Scotland and “Acquire” is posh talk for “Inherit.”

Penelope and Jeremy will have two point two children, named Rupert and Clementine (after her great-great grandmother, the rich old bag who left Jeremy’s Daddy oodles of dosh and “the land,” in Hampshire.)

Rupert (commonly known as Ropes) will play rugby and dabble in archery but he’ll fail to excel in anything, because his Mother will constantly compare him to his younger sister, forcing him to grow up feeling inadequate.

Clementine (affectionately known as Pudding, a name bestowed upon her by her doting Grandmama) with her striking resemblance to the old hag who left all the dosh, will play piano superbly, dance ballet beautifully, sing like an angel, and demand a pony before she can write her name.

Jeremy will continue to “work in finance,” but will fail to notice how much Penelope spends employing the five people who run her, “terribly hectic life.” When the head nanny (“We keep two just in case I manage to conceive again, it’s all been so dreadfully difficult”) loses weight and comes dangerously close to weighing the same as “Mistress,” Penelope will take to her top of the line Range Rover and drive across muddy fields (read as; “all the land we own.”)

During that particular trek, Penelope will devise ways to sack “Skinny Nanny,” before stopping halfway across the field to check her make-up. In the mirror, Penelope will admire her still glossy blonde locks but when she runs her hand across her pale, smooth cheek, tears will begin falling from her beady eyes. Penelope will scold herself for being a terrible person because she knows Skinny Nanny’s weight loss is related to the recent, sudden death of her younger sister.

Penelope’s tears will land on the freshwater pearls (handed down of course) she wore in Bangkok, years ago, during what she still secretly considers the happiest time of her life. A time before Mummy won the argument that, “Only common girls work.”
Ok, so perhaps I’m being a little harsh on Perfect Penny (“It’s pen eh la pee. Please refrain from calling me Penny. Mummy says it’s frightful to shorten one’s Christian name.”) After an entire day of listening to her high-pitched voice, I returned to the quiet of my room but in my head, I could still hear her prattling on about her horse.

In an effort to escape, I ordered far too much food on room service (all gone) then climbed into bed and watched, “A Room with a View,” with Julian Sands, who is much yummier than the three servings of chocolate mousse I mistakenly (yeah, right!) ordered.

 

December 27th, 1990

December 27th, 1990

Dusit Thani Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand

So, there might have been a little bit of kissing tonight. Ok, there might have been a fair amount of kissing. Oh alright, I confess, I had a major snog fest with Graeme!

I met Graeme on a trip last year, during which we fell in what I like to call, “trip lust,” which typically occurs in an exotic location, in this case the beautiful island of Bermuda with its pink sand and turquoise water.

Since that trip, there’s been a running joke between us that I continually lost Graeme’s phone number, when in fact I never kept it in the first place!

We met up again tonight in that most romantic (not!) of places, The Toby Jug, which crew seem drawn to like moths to a flame. I only agreed to go because it tends to be the first stop for crew before heading somewhere livelier (and less British!)

I soon realized I wasn’t in the mood for traipsing around Pat Pong in the heat so I came back to the hotel with Graeme, where we sat in the beautiful lobby bar with the huge Christmas tree and piano tunes to match. Conversation flowed as freely as the Mai Tai’s before he walked me to my room, outside which there was that awkward moment of, “Now what?”

Graeme gazed at me in that Christmas lights a glowing sort of way and his eyes sparkled accordingly, which, on reflection was at least eighty two percent alcohol induced but regardless, I’m a single girl, in Thailand, with a cute guy.

Added to which, it’s Christmas!

 

December 16th, 1990

December 16th, 1990

Flight from LHR – PHL

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The flight over was made all the more pleasant by Richard’s visits to the rear galley, all of which were met with raised eyebrows from our fellow crew members and no doubt got a few tongues wagging, which I imagine continued when Richard grabbed the seat next to mine on the crew bus.

Speaking out of the side of his mouth, he uttered, “Seems the Captain is insisting we make our way to his so called favourite sports bar.”

“Ugh,” I replied, not looking at him. “Not exactly my cup of tea.”

“We don’t have to follow the crowd.”

“I know but if we don’t make an appearance, I imagine tomorrow’s flight will be rather unpleasant for you.”

“Yes, I do believe so.”

“Ok, in that case, let’s just go.”

He turned to me and mouthed, “Thank you.”

Richard perched his slim frame on the stool next to me and as is typical in such a setting, we each carried on several conversations with other members of our crew but as the time wore on everyone split into groups, leaving just the two of us.

“There’s something I’d like to ask you,” he said.

“What’s that?”

“No pressure to answer if you don’t feel comfortable.”

I motioned for him to continue.

“What happened with your chap in LA?”

“He told me he’s gay.”

Richard’s head dropped in an expression of disbelief. “You’re serious?”

“Deadly.”

“Good gracious! What happened?”

“He came to the room to pick me up, or so I thought and instead he broke down and told me he met someone else.”

“Gosh, I really wasn’t expecting that.”

“Nor was I.”

He stared at me and reached his hand over to cover mine. “I’m so sorry. That must have been a dreadful-”

We were interrupted by Fiona, who, by the look of it, had clearly imbibed a tad more than us.

Standing behind Richard, she pressed her ample bosom into his back then draped her arms over his shoulders, dangling them over his chest. He shot me a look that screamed, “Help!” as she swayed and whispered something in his ear. His eyes darted in my direction again and I was both amused and thrilled by his obvious lack of interest in her.

“Actually,” he stated in his pilot PA voice, peeling Fiona’s arms off him as he turned. “Karen and I are about to go for a brisk walk.” He threw a pleading look my way.

“Yes, yes, we are,” I said, standing up. “Needless to say, Fiona, you’re welcome to join us. As long as we bundle up, we shouldn’t freeze too much.”

Fiona slurred something in her plummy accent about, “Ree main ing he are,” then slithered her way over to join a group of what looked like college age guys, sitting around a table.

“How do you feel about country and western music?” Richard asked once we were outside.

“I have mixed feelings, why?”

“There’s a super little place not far from here, they usually have a band and I thought perhaps we could have a bit of a boogie.”

I cracked up laughing. “Richard, you do know it’s nineteen ninety, don’t you?”

The bar reminded me of the place I went to in Florida with Gabriel last year but this time I didn’t mistake my drink for a soft one and down it in one. The band consisted of a dark-haired singer with a smoky voice and sultry look, accompanied by two pale men in Stetson’s.

We danced several times but when the music kicked up it seemed we were the only two people who hadn’t mastered line dancing, so we gave up and continued talking and drinking.

We walked hand in hand back to the hotel in the bitter cold and had our first kiss in the lift. The kiss was tender but purposeful and with my eyes shut, I wanted more but when I opened them, I longed to see David’s face, which is why I didn’t invite Richard to my room for a night cap.

 

 

December 15th, 1990

December 15th, 1990

At home, England

London is a magical place to be at Christmas, with twinkling lights everywhere, carol singers, the smell of roasting chestnuts on every street corner and the heavy bustle of shoppers, laden with gifts.

“Are you enjoying our day?” Richard asked as we meandered our way through Covent Garden.

“Very much so.”

“I hope you don’t mind but I took the liberty of making a reservation for something I expect you might enjoy.”

“Ooh, I’m intrigued.”

“Would you like to know what it is?” He asked.

“No, just surprise me.”

He looked doubtful. “Are you sure?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Ok, well we’ll go by taxi but I’ll discretely inform the driver of our destination so as not to spoil the surprise.”

“Do we need to go now?”
He looked at his watch and nodded. “Yes, we probably ought to head in that direction.”

“You’re taking me to a hotel?” I teased, as the hackney cab pulled up outside Claridges.

“Yes, but nothing sinister,” he smiled. “I promise.”

“Aw, that’s a shame,” I joked, making him laugh.

Over the most scrumptious array of afternoon tea delights I’ve ever seen, we discovered much about each other, including the fact we’re both operating the same flight to Philadelphia tomorrow!

 

November 30th, 1990

November 30th, 1990

Night flight from JFK – MAN

Met the girls this morning and walked to the Rockefeller Center for breakfast, where we paid a small fortune for the privilege of watching a combination of overweight tourists and wannabe Torvill and Dean’s ice skating.

I ate pancakes (couldn’t help but compare them to David’s) slathered in syrup, with a side of bacon. I’ve decided I don’t give a shit about my weight anymore. I intend to eat to my heart’s content and my uniform no longer fits (which won’t take long!)

The girls headed back to the hotel but I was enjoying the hustle and bustle so decided to stay out. I thought about ringing Christopher to see if he wanted to meet for lunch (part of my new weight gain program!) but figure I’ll do that when we return, a few days from now.

Spent hours browsing in Barnes & Noble, where I found a beautiful book about the Taj Mahal I knew David would love but no sooner had the thought entered my head when the reality of the situation took over and that’s when I knew it was time to leave.

 

November 12th, 1990

November 12th, 1990

Cairo, Egypt

I wasn’t surprised to find only Carmel and Joe in the lobby this morning.

“Great turnout!” Carmel joked.

“It’s your fault for having such a raucous room party,” Joe groaned. “My head is throbbing.”

“Mine too,” I croaked. “I haven’t had that much fun at a room party in ages. You’re a bad influence, Carmel!”

“Years of fine tuning,” she chuckled.

We made our way through the balmy air, to the market, overflowing with people and a combination of pleasant and pungent odours, wafting from the makeshift stalls. The conversation flowed and turned to our personal lives, at which point Carmel asked if I had a boyfriend.

I nodded. “He lives in LA.”

“Ouch,” she said. “How difficult is that?”

“Very! I’m going for Thanksgiving though, so-”

“Ooooh, sounds serious,” Joe chimed. “I hope you have something dazzling to wear.”

“Funny you should mention that,” I said, going on to tell them about the dress I planned on wearing. The one I (read as; Lorna!)  hadn’t yet managed to find shoes to go with.

“Sounds like something you’d wear with a strappy sandal,” Joe suggested.

“What about a kitten heel?” I said, thinking of Lorna.

Shaking his head, with a look of mock horror, Joe shrieked, “Nooooooo!”

“What about a classic flat?” Carmel suggested. “Or maybe that’s my age talking.”
Joe said, “Do you mind if I ask your age?”

I was glad he did as I was also interested in knowing. Carmel is very youthful but I knew with two teenage daughters she must be well beyond my age bracket.

“I’m thirty-six,” she smiled. “Ancient.”

“You don’t look it,” Joe gushed. “Maybe those room parties aren’t so bad after all!”

We continued shopping and Joe found a pair of sandals he insisted were, “A must have, but only with jeans, not the blue dress.” The sandals are a little bejeweled for my taste so I expect mum will be nabbing them!

We continued meandering through the market and Joe shared with us that this is his first trip back after six-months of unpaid leave.

“Nice sabbatical,” Carmel commented. “Did you do anything special?”

Joe got a little quiet and for a second he looked like he was about to cry. “No,” he uttered. “I lost my partner of seven years, to AIDS.”

Carmel let out a sound that described exactly how I felt and there was an awkward pause that I certainly didn’t feel comfortable filling.

“It’s rampant,” Carmel said. “I can’t begin to tell you how many friends I’ve lost. I’m so sorry.”

“Me too,” Joe sniffed, his voice cracking. “Such a cruel way to go.”

“I’m so sorry,” I uttered, thinking of Florence and her younger brother’s recent diagnosis.

 

November 11th, 1990

November 11th, 1990

Flight from LGW – CAI

Somewhere over Greece

 

Woke up with the phone ringing. Hoping it was David, I made a grab for it.

“Karen?”

“Yes.”

“Morning. This is Stan from crewing, I have a trip for you.”

Please say LA, please say LA!

“Hold on a sec, please,” I said, reaching for the pad and pen on the bedside table. “Ok, go ahead.”

“Report for the BA one five five at-”

“Cairo, right?”

“Yes. Report time is-”

“I already know, thanks.”

“Righty-o.”
Working in Economy with an on the ball purser called Carmel. The rest of the crew seem super friendly, pretty typical for TriStar crew. It’s the jumbo gang that tends to be more senior and somewhat snooty.

During the three-hour delay Carmel maintained her pleasant, professional demeanor, which emanated throughout the cabin, consequently leading to fewer passenger complaints, which I’m all for!

So far, the flight is going swimmingly, albeit in the wrong direction!