SCOTLAND ODYSSEY : AND WE'RE OFF!
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00:15. Distance to Destination is 6641km. Time to Destination is 7:45.
00:43. Distance to Destination is 6239km. Time to Destination is 7:15 [06:08]. We’re now over Kisangani. Nairobi and Entebbe are to our right and we’ve passed over Bujumbura also to our right.
We’re inching our way inexorably up the continent.
I’m on Flight BA 54 in Seat 51D. My seating partner is a South African on the rebound and en route to Canada wanting to put distance between himself and the situation. He’s sold up a business and is now going to work for another South African who once worked under him in an IT position in London. He is 37 and the other guy who went on to do very well for himself and bought a lot of property in different countries, then cashed in and invested in a tract of virgin land in Canada. He’s now invited his former colleague to help him "tame" the farm. He’s not quite sure what it’s going to involve: perhaps “shooting deer” and clearing forest. He mentions that he was brought up “poor” but his Dad then made good with producing election id’s for a number of countries including Poland. His parents are now well off and live a quiet life on a golf estate. He doesn’t want to involve them in his problems which is another reason why he’s removing himself from the situation with his girlfriend and heading for Canada.
He gets through quite a lot of red wine and whisky and talks loudly upsetting one of our fellow passengers. A prissy hostess asks us to keep our voices down, speaking not to me but to my friend. The passenger himself complains that “some of us have paid a lot of money to be on this flight.” My friend eventually succumbs to sleep. I’m relieved!
By the way, our steward is Paul. A very pleasant, shaven-headed guy, +-50. Tells me he hasn’t flown this route for quite a while but his favourite destinations are Cape Town and Brazil. My friend says he knows why Paul likes Cape Town. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.
04:23. Time to Destination: 3:40. Distance to Destination 2859kms. We’re over Benghazi about to cross the Med.
06:17. Walked to the loo (I’m only about +-4 rows from the back of the plane) and happened to glance out of a porthole. Below was a spangled scene of glittering lights in various imaginative formations with inky blackness in between. Back in my seat I saw on the ‘moving map’ that we were passing over the a pair of large islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Now we’re over the Ligurian Sea headed for Nice.
06:50. According to the ‘moving map’ we’re now over Grenoble. Took a peek out of the starboard rear porthole just now and I could see a stretch of the Riviera. Breakfast (“full English”) has just been served.
I get into conversation with an elderly lady across the way tells me she and her niece are on their way home after spending 10 days visiting her sister in PE. She herself was born in SA but married an Englishman and has lived in the UK for many years. Her name is “Truebody” and she looks faintly embarrassed about it.
07:23. 1st Officer Burbich has just announced it’s an “autumnal day” in London. We’re about to discover what that means (in +-1/2 an hour).
The ‘moving map’ tells me it’s 2 degrees C.
06:10: We’re on the ground. With quite a bang too and about 25 minutes early.