Books, life the universe

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Amusing flying items

If you are scared of flying I suggest you give this a miss. I thought they were amusing.

Rarely, airline attendants make an effort to make the in flight"safety lecture" and announcements a bit more entertaining. Here are some real examples that have been heard or reported:

1. On a Southwest flight 245 (SW has no assigned seating, you just sit where you want) passengers were apparently having a hard time choosing,when a flight attendant announced, "People, people we're not picking out furniture here, find a seat and get in it!"

2. On a Continental Flight with a very "senior" flight attendant crew,the pilot said, "Ladies and gentlemen, we've reached cruising altitude and will be turning down the cabin lights. This is for your comfort and to enhance the appearance of your flight attendants."

3. On landing, the stewardess said, "Please be sure to take all of your belongings. If you're going to leave anything, please make sure it's something we'd like to have.

4. "There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only 4 ways out of this airplane"

5. "Thank you for flying Delta Business Express. We hope you enjoyed giving us the business as much as we enjoyed taking you for a ride."

6. As the plane landed and was coming to a stop at Ronald Reagan, a lone voice came over the loudspeaker: "Whoa, big fella. WHOA!"

7. After a particularly rough landing during thunderstorms in Memphis, a flight attendant on a Northwest flight announced, "Please take care when opening the overhead compartments because, after a landing like that,sure as hell everything has shifted."

8. From a Southwest Airlines employee: "Welcome aboard Southwest Flight245 to Tampa . To operate your seat belt, insert the metal tab into the buckle, and pull tight. It works just like every other seat belt; and, if you don't know how to operate one, you probably shouldn't be out in public unsupervised."

9. "In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, masks will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask, and pull it over your face. If you have a small child traveling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are traveling with more than one small child, pick your favorite."

10. "Weather at our destination is 50 degrees with some broken clouds,but we'll try to have them fixed before we arrive. Thank you, and remember, nobody loves you, or your money, more than Southwest Airlines."

11. "Your seat cushions can be used for flotation; and, in the event of an emergency water landing, please paddle to shore and take them with our compliments."

12. "As you exit the plane, make sure to gather all of your belongings. Anything left behind will be distributed evenly among the flight attendants. Please do not leave children or spouses."

13. And from the pilot during his welcome message: "Delta Airlines is pleased to have some of the best flight attendants in the industry. Unfortunately, none of them are on this flight!"

14. Heard on Southwest Airlines just after a very hard landing in Salt Lake City the flight attendant came on the intercom and said, "That was quite a bump, and I know what y'all are thinking. I'm here to tell you it wasn't the airline's fault, it wasn't the pilot's fault, it wasn't the flight attendant's fault, it was the asphalt."

15. Overheard on an American Airlines flight into Amarillo, Texas, on a particularly windy and bumpy day: During the final approach, the Captain was really having to fight it. After an extremely hard landing, the Flight Attendant said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Amarillo .Please remain in your seats with your seat belts fastened while the Captain taxis what's left of our airplane to the gate!"

16. Another flight attendant's comment on a less than perfect landing:"We ask you to please remain seated as Captain Kangaroo bounces us to the terminal."

17 An airline pilot wrote that on this particular flight he had hammered his ship into the runway really hard. The airline had a policy which required the first officer to stand at the door while the Passengers exited, smile, and give them a "Thanks for flying our airline." He said that, in light of his bad landing, he had a hard time looking the passengers in the eye, thinking that someone would have a smart comment. Finally everyone had gotten off except for a little old lady walking with a cane. She said, "Sir, do you mind if I ask you a question?" "Why,no, Ma'am," said the pilot. "What is it?" The little old lady said, "Did we land, or were we shot down?"

18. After a real crusher of a landing in Phoenix, the attendant came on with, "Ladies and Gentlemen, please remain in your seats until Capt.Crash and the Crew have brought the aircraft to a screeching halt against the gate. And, once the tire smoke has cleared and the warning bells are silenced, we'll open the door and you can pick your way through the wreckage to the terminal."

19. Part of a flight attendant's arrival announcement: "We'd like to thank you folks for flying with us today. And, the next time you get the insane urge to go blasting through the skies in a pressurized metal tube, we hope you'll think of US Airways"

20. Heard on a Southwest Airline flight. "Ladies and gentlemen, if you wish to smoke, the smoking section on this airplane is on the wing and if you can light 'em, you can smoke 'em."

Have a good evening

Sunday, 27 April 2008


Well why not? I'm not sure I can stick to one word each but I'll give it a go:

Yourself: Relaxed
Your Partner: Reading
Your Hair: Untidy
Your Mother: Dead
Your Father: Dead
Your Favorite Item: laptop
Your Dream Last Night: Photographs
Your Favorite Drink: Water
Your Dream Car: Lamborghini
Your Dream Home: Large
The Room You Are In: Study
Your Fear: Blindness
Where Do You Want To Be In 10 Years: Retired
Who You Hung Out With Last: Friends
What You're Not: Thin
Muffins: chocolate
One of Your Wish List Items: Library
Time: Afternoon
Last Thing You Did: Read
What Are You Wearing: Casual
Your Favorite Weather: Sun
Your Favorite Book: Checkmate
Last Thing You Ate: Toast
Your Mood: Happy
Your Best Friends: People
What Are You Thinking About Right Now: Food
Your Car: None
Your Summer: Relaxation
What's on your TV: Nothing
What is your weather like: Overcast
When Is the Last Time You Laughed: Today
Your Relationship Status: Happy

Very difficult if you've only got one word - it takes a bit of thinking outside the box.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

A good day or a bad day?

I'm not sure at the moment whether it is good or bad. Mixed is I think the best I can do. My team's manager is one of the best in my long experience of managers. Now she's gone and got herself promoted - temporarily - and we're not sure who we're going to get in exchange. Added to which she's on holiday at present so we can't even talk to her about it! We knew she was going for the job, but I think we all individually hoped in a way she wouldn't get it. Selfish I know but we're well aware we'll almost certainly get someone not half as good. We're all a bit down about it and we were all scribbling away on the backs of envelopes to see if we can afford to apply for early retirement!! It's not quite as bad as that I suppose and we're all focusing on the word 'temporary'. I have vague recollections of it being 3 months - which would be bearable, as we would get her back at the end of it. Ho hum - I suppose there are worse things happening at sea. Apart from that work itself went well today.

I've just about finished reading 'Mothernight' by Sarah Stovell. Haunting, harrowing and claustrophobic are the words which immediately spring to mind. Something has kept me reading it even when part of me wanted to put it down. The whole plot revolves around the death of 37 day old Alfie - Leila's step brother. Who killed him? Was it his mother? Was it Leila and her manipulative friend Rosie? Everything comes to a head when Leila is 18 and is spending the summer at home for the first time in 8 years with her schoolfriend Olivia. The girls are involved in an obsessive friendship which worries their school. How will everyone involved deal with the situation and will any of them come out the other side calm and in one piece? The writing is spare and evocative and conveys the atmosphere clearly. Each chapter is written in the voice of a different character which seems to help to build the tension. I recommend it if you like your fiction full of undercurrents. As a debut novel it is startling and I think we will see more of Sarah Stovell.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Books and other things

This week I finished reading Donna Leon's 'The Girl of his Dreams'. It definitely came up to her usual standard. I'd always avoided crime stories set 'abroad' until a friend recommended Donna Leon. Once I started reading them I was hooked. Her writing style is very plain and straightforward and you are almost unaware of the words when you're reading. The story sucks you in and seems to seep into your brain through osmosis. Her characters are three dimensional with Guido Brunetti himself being one of the most believable detectives I've come across in fiction. Venice - the setting - is a character in itself. The sights and sounds and the people of the city come alive on the page. The plots are never simple and always leave you wondering about the very fine line between right and wrong. Brunetti is always battling the inherent corruption in his attempts to put the guilty behind bars. Frequently he does not succeed or the ending is ambiguous.
This latest book is every bit as good as her previous ones. Brunetti continually grows and matures. He is far from immune from things like impatience and irritability making him a very human character. The girl of the title is pulled out of a canal ostensibly drowned. But Brunetti is not convinced it is just a tragic accident, and the startling post mortem results merely fuel his disquiet. Running alongside the main plot is a personal investigation into a semi religious sect which appears to be persuading people to part with large amounts of cash. Intertwined is the vexed question of gypsy migrants and the way the forces of law and order are hamstrung by the laws they are meant to be enforcing. I loved it.

I've also read Trisha Ashley's 'Happy Endings'. This is a light and frothy chick lit type of story. Its heroine is Tina Devino who writes 'sex and gardening' novels and runs a part time literary agency/critique service. Each chapter begins with a letter to or from one of her clients - which would also make a book in themselves. Tina has an on-off relationship with Sergei - a former Russian ballet dancer. She has reached crisis point when her ex-husband - Tim - goes to work for the publishers of her moderately successful books, and threatens to dispense with her services. What she needs is a rich husband or a successful book. What happens and how she deals with it prove humorous and entertaining. One of the best of its kind in my opinion and I recommend it if you want a little light reading with an approaching middle age heroine.

I've just started reading 'Mothernight' by Sarah Stovell - which Anne has reported on in her blog - link at the top of the page. I came across it as an Amazon recommendation and it looks good. I will report on it at a later date.

Off to look at some favourite sites and then relax with a book - nearly the weekend.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

A wet day and a new cookery book

It started off beautifully bright and sunny. When I walked through the market place this morning on my way to work everything was bustling and cheerful as the stall holders set out their wares. There were people shopping as well as some stalls were already up and running. Everyone seemed in a good mood even though it was cold. The snack bar was doing a roaring trade in bacon butties - the smell was heaven. All this at 7.30am. Then everything went dull about lunchtime and I got wet on the way home. What a come down.

I've just bought a new edition of a book that I read so much as a child it fell apart. It's the Good Housekeeping cookery book. My mother's copy was my favourite bed time reading and I read it many times. Sometimes I'd start at the beginning and work my way through it, reading every recipe and studying every photograph. Sometimes I'd just dip into particular sections. If I have to use some long forgotten technique it's always what was in that book that comes to mind - complete with photograph. I shall be reading the new one tonight - well some of it anyway.

Off to have a shower and wallow in all those luscious recipes.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

It's a long week

And it's only Tuesday! I keep thinking it must be at least Wednesday.

I went to Nottingham yesterday evening for the usual check up on my eyes. By the time I got there I was in my usual tizzy about it, though I didn't start to feel bad until the day itself for a change. It was good news. The small leak which was there two months ago has sealed itself again without leaving any damage. Now why do some do it and others not? I suppose if I knew that I could make a fortune. So he said I can go back to 3 month check ups again - great! BUPA can save its money for a bit longer. I really must invest in some Rescue Remedy as I'm sure it would help me feel less stressed on these occasions.

With that weight off my mind I feel a lot more relaxed, even though I've been really busy at work today. As it's the school holidays here at the moment I can get home earlier than normal as there's a bus at 4.30. No don't ask why, the explanation is long and complex. Suffice it to say that the bus company run an extra service during school holidays - which suits me.

Moving away from the personal - I'm glad the Diana inquest is over, not that I think it will be the end of the speculation. Conspiracy theories don't go away that easily.

As for the Shannon Matthews and Maddy McCann cases - all I can say is - the plots thicken - and probably sicken as well

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Travel by bus

I travel to and from work most days by bus to the extent that some drivers even recognise me when I'm not on the bus and wave! I must have been travelling the route too long I think. You often see the same people. There's the two East European immigrant girls who always get on by the church with the leaning spire to rival the tower at Pisa; there's the lady who works at Morrisons' supermarket; the lady who works at a doctors' surgery and the one who works in Peterborough - a train ride away. But there are also the oddities. There's George - who I used to see regularly and I hadn't seen for months until I saw him again on Friday evening. George has I think some learning difficulties and talks to everyone - mainly about the weather and the bus and how old everyone is - you need to lie unless you want all the occupants of the bus to know the answer! George is harmless and is well known to anyone who travels on that bus.

The one I'm less sure about is the man who travels on the bus on Tuesdays as he works on the market at Spalding. He again talks to everyone - usually incomprehensibly - about the weather and how late/early the bus is, and the new traffic flow measures in Boston. I am not at my best at 7.00am so I find him a trial. Unfortunately he always talks at me, even if I bury my head in a book or talk to someone else. He notices if I'm not on the bus and always wants to know why. This would all be all right if annoying, but one day I was waiting in the bus shelter perching my bum on the piece of metal provided - about half way along. He was sitting at one end. After he'd been talking at me for a couple of minutes he'd slid along the metal and was practically sitting in my lap. I moved and went to stand outside the bus shelter. Plenty of other people about but I didn't like it. I suppose he'll get sick of talking to me in the end as he gets yes/no answers or no answer at all. As it is I try and avoid the bus on a Tuesday.

There's the lady who runs a second hand shop as well - who tends to put her hand on your arm when she's talking to you, and tells you far more about her business than she really should be telling anyone - especially as she doesn't know where we all work. She often can't find her return ticket and has to go through the contents of her bag to locate it. There's a young man who always looks moody - think Heathcliff or Darcy and you're about right. He works in my bank and has lost his driving licence because he got 6 points in his first two years. Now he has to take his test again before he can have his licence back - amazing what you overhear!

But really what prompted this post was the elderly gentleman on the bus on Friday who was trying to get from Lands End to John o'Groats by bus using his bus pass. We were all trying to decide whether there would be a bus to Lincoln from Boston when he got there and the general opinion was he would have to go to Skegness and get a bus to Lincoln from there. It was a different bus company involved so our driver wasn't too sure. Opinions differed amongst the passengers - none of whom was carrying the right timetable. It got everyone talking though. I can't wait until I get my bus pass then I can hop off to all sorts of places free - great fun! I just hope they haven't abolished it before I'm old enough.

Off to read the Sunday papers on line and then to make yet another apple crumble.