'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

I've looked at Clouds ... Part 3

The KLM 747 was noticeably quieter than the 767 but our seats were much closer together and I felt even more like a sardine in a metal can than the last plane.  But I had a lovely ex-"Singapore Girl" (Singapore Airlines cabin attendant) sitting beside me, and, despite my tiredness, we chatted for two hours.  She told me that all Singapore Girls must retire at 35.  Certainly they achieve almost celebrity status these days, and I'm sure my gentle and beautiful seat-mate had no trouble landing her Dutch pilot husband.
We were served a cold cucumber salad and a spicy Indonesian Dutch rice dish which N. and I found too hot, but then we were too dog-tired to want to eat anyway.  
When the lights went off I got about four or five hours great sleep, then dozed for another two, peeking surreptitiously out of my window at the occasional lights from villages below.  And one magical moment I saw a shooting star, feeling like I was the only person awake on the whole plane.  Soon afterwards the pilot tested our big landing lights so he must have been awake too.  I began to think what wonders pilots must see as they bring hundreds of peacefully unaware humans through the night.  I saw another plane pass us going the other way.  
After breakfast my Singapore girl asked me for my address.

I didn't really know what day it was, but we were at Schipol - Amsterdam's airport.  N. said it smelled funny.  I liked the way the loo doors are all painted sky blue and each has a drawing of a famous Amsterdam landmark on it, with information about it on the reverse of the door for your edification while you sit.  I wondered if the words were opposite the door in the Men's.  

N. was wearing a little plastic Singaporean charm bracelet that she found on the floor while we were waiting to disembark the plane.

In the departure lounge I got talking to a woman who had just spent the last two weeks working on the Galapagos Islands.  She was brown and lean and fit-looking and reminded me of Jane Goodall.

The last leg was over quickly.  We were hardly up than we were coming down again; new plane, sardines again.  England is sunny and hot.  We took about an hour to get through Heathrow passport control, and there was the welcome faces of Dorothy and Oliver waiting to take us to 'Gateway Cottage'.  


  1. I'm glad you made the trip safely. In the U.S. air transport is so horrible now with the security, the long waits, and higher prices. I try to avoid it whereas I used to love flying.

  2. Thanks for dropping by Ken! Yes, I flew to the States a few years ago. I was singled out to be searched which amused me. White, conservative middle class female - a guess they thought I'd be least likely to make a fuss. They were correct. :o)
    Although N and I were kept waiting a loooong time in Dublin...

  3. Enjoy the vacation in England. After such long trip, you'll want to move about and never sit again.

  4. You've managed to gain yourself a day! Here's your post saying Sunday, and it's still Saturday afternoon here in old UK...Wonder how close to me you are now?! xxx

  5. We know Schipol airport well! (Lots of Dutch friends.) Glad the flight went well and hope the holiday goes fantastically. The weather has been good so far so fingers crossed.

  6. Hey~! I can across your blog via the Black Box thing.

    I love travelling too and have been to many places. Singapore Airlines is definitely one of the best~!


  7. Can't wait for part 4!

  8. Oh how I empathise with you. Travelling as I do between my homes here and in Scotland twice a year (one return trip) I envy you the ability to sleep properly on the plane. I've never needed much sleep and until last year I'd never been able to sleep on a plane. I read Wild Swans and The Glass Palace in two single flights from Napier to Stornoway (or vice versa). Now I can at least doze heavily occasionally.


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