Another Jaunt to Jersey..(1)

17 Jun

The mountain has to go to Mohammed. My son and his wife live in the Crown Dependency of Jersey. The pilgrimage is easy. It’s a 40minute flip across the water from Gatwick and the frantic hubbub of  Greater London is replaced by the calm civility of island life.

I hope Jamie doesn’t close his Italian kitchen in the North Terminal. The breakfast croissants are top of my list after the post-security reassembling of body and baggage. We sneaked a small table after a predatory hover-wait for a couple of flight attendants to drain their cappuccinos. The ham and cheese is my standard order, my lovely partner characteristically going for the vegan hummus wrap. As I tucked in my attention was grabbed by a kerfuffle at the table adjacent.

A well-spoken chap was complaining that the couple seated should get a shift on to allow him to settle in and scoff his breakfast. The young American couple would not be moved. They told him, politely, that they hadn’t finished their coffee. The pompous English git huffed and puffed and stormed off. I smiled apologetically at the young Yanks. Have a nice day, I said. They appreciated my support for what it was worth. I turned to my lovely partner, to engage her in a meaningful deconstruction of the squabble I have just witnessed. I had thoughts on how we have become hair-triggered, intolerant of others, too quick to judgement, to dismiss, to feel aggrieved, to feel entitled to feel riled. Naturally Brexit would have been a stop on my conversational journey.

She was dancing. Yes, literally. Earphones in, she was rehearsing a tap-dance routine for her debut performance as part of a Silver Swans group who have turned to ballet and tap for fun and fitness and to keep the Zimmer away for a decade or two. She was concentrating hard and jigging away, oblivious to all but her teacher on YouTube firing instructions to her inner ear.

Had our Easyjet flight not been delayed, her impromptu rehearsal would have been postponed. Without explanation we boarded the Airbus and settled in. I noticed that low-cost airlines don’t miss a trick to make a little extra. The seats have adverts on the cheap antimacassars. JD Sports, Fever Tree (since when was a small bottle of fizzy water worth £2.50?) and 3 Mobile were in your face. As is often the case, I couldn’t understand any of the announcements and I had to focus on something to distract me from the possibility of imminent disaster. Nervous flyer you see.

I count slowly after lift off and, usually, the seat belt sign is switched off before I reach 200. I reckon that if the captain feels relaxed enough, then I should too. On this occasion, not only had the captain not welcomed us aboard, he was clearly troubled by something. My palms became sweaty. Not unusual. 296..297..298..300. What on earth was going on? The cabin crew seemed to have received a signal that it was OK to serve drinks. At 363 the captain finally seemed satisfied that we were safe. I was able to wipe my hands, open my book and read.

The Susan Effect by Peter Hoeg. He of Miss Smillia’s Feeling for Snow. This new one is a political Scandi-noir thriller set, mostly, in Copenhagen. The translation from the Danish by Martin Aitken is brilliant. I say this having a little knowledge of the Danish language. Translations can read awkwardly and feel more detached from character and action than the writer intended. Aitken manages to create an authentic intimacy with deft and clever interpretation of small details. The chilling detached atmosphere is, by contrast, superbly realized. I’m at the bit where a monk has been beaten up, his bones crushed and he is being fed into a washing machine when the captain finally breaks his silence. We are 10 minutes from landing.

This is more like it. The man sounds like John Mills or David Niven. Calm, authoritative, all RP accent and pipe and slippers. Quite a contrast from the gruesome tale which had beguiled me for much of the trip (after the first 363 seconds). I now imagine the captain as a serial killer. Easily done.

One Response to “Another Jaunt to Jersey..(1)”

  1. laurenpom June 18, 2019 at 10:35 pm #

    Love your every post.Love, Lauren

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