Come Fly With Me

As a child I would not even go on the ghost train at a fairground, so it's no wonder that, as an adult, I do not look forward to climbing into a machine that will climb to 37,000 ft and travel at 800mph. 'Tain't natural. Still, to see some parts of the world, flying is an unavoidable experience, and whilst my fear is not of Dennis Bergkamp proportions, I downed a double whisky at a Gatwick bar to calm my nerves. It didn't help. On board, I bought the headphones and listened to the jazz channel. That didn't help either.

I still think that the captain's professionalism, that smooth, well-educated voice, telling us at what altitude and speed we will be flying above the clouds, does not take into consideration those of us who feel more than a little uncomfortable in aeroplanes. I wish they'd stop that routine. Twice Jane urged me to look out of the window, and both times curiosity got the better of common sense. I saw the tops of a mountain range through the clouds, and the Italian coastline, clear as day, 30-something thousand feet below. I don't like heights either.

A week earlier, an experienced flyer had teased me about the flight, saying there was something he knew, but I wouldn't like, so he withheld the information (bastard!). The day after arrival, during our chat with the holiday rep, he informed us, with a smile, that Corfu airport is so primitive as to not have a radar system, and so the pilots must land using sight only. The fact that any other kind of landing existed had never occurred to me, I must say. But his information explained the hair-raising wobble we experienced as our man at the controls aimed for the landing strip by the sea. I was, as always, thrilled to step out onto land where, I believe, we are supposed to be. "It's the safest form of transport" people are always saying. Yes, but it doesn't feel that way. As Woody Allen once said, it's not flying that I'm afraid of, it's crashing.

Robin Tomens

Read the next part of Robin's 'All The Time In The World' series here.