Travels Part 1: Hobart to Harris

View from Tarbert Isle of Harris

No matter how many times you’ve done it, there’s still something miraculous and disconcerting about strapping yourself into a metal tube and flying across the world.

Airlines go to great lengths to persuade you that it’s a normal and comfortable thing to do. They try their best to make that tube feel like home. Qantas welcome you with a hearty ‘G’day mate!’ and hand out complementary socks with cartoon kangaroos on them. Finnair design their cabin lighting to resemble the aurora borealis, and Loganair provide Harris Tweed headrests and Tunnocks caramel wafers. But when you undertake ten flights in three weeks, from Tasmania to the Outer Hebrides and back again, the resulting sensory overload means there’s no escaping the strangeness of air travel. Continue reading

No More Planes

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One of the nicest things about our holiday up the East Coast last year was that it didn’t involve getting on a plane. We just threw our stuff in the back of the car and off we went.

We’ve just made plans for a few days break over Easter and we’ve done the same thing – booked a cottage that is less than a couple of hours drive away.

I am not keen to get on a plane again for a good long while.

I’ve been trying to work out when it stopped being fun because as a child even the prospect of flying was brilliant. Growing up on Harris, I used to lie on my back in the garden looking at the sky. Tiny Loganair planes flew over the house, on their way to adventures in Inverness or even Glasgow. I would imagine the strangers in suits, quietly reading newspapers and sipping drinks that sparkled with ice cubes and slices of lemon. When I visited my Grandpa, down in Staffordshire, I’d lie and watch bigger planes that had taken off from Manchester. I always thought the rows of white jet trails looked like someone had dragged a fork across the sky. Continue reading

The Challenges of Flying with Young Children

Passenger plane in the sky

“Oh no,” said DorkyDad. “What a terrible start to a holiday.” We had just been treated to the sight of Alex Salmond, recently off a flight from London, strutting through Edinburgh airport. For a man in a crumpled suit, he exuded an extraordinary air of arrogance.

As it turned out, DorkyDad was right. Our holiday did not get off to a great start. A security alert at Edinburgh meant that we missed our connection at Heathrow. Despite arriving with 25 minutes to spare, we were discouraged from even attempting to catch it, and had already been re-booked onto another flight the next morning.

There followed a farcical afternoon and early evening, in which we were sent from floor to floor, desk to desk, and back again, in an attempt to secure three things: our bags and DorkySon’s pram, a bed for the night, and confirmation of our flight the next day. It proved surprisingly difficult. Individually, every member of staff we spoke to was lovely. Collectively it seemed like the right hand wasn’t even aware of the left hand’s existence. I am giving myself a week or two more to chill out before I write to BA… but they had better be ready for me. Continue reading