Imagine my anticipation. Flying out of Birmingham Airport on the 19th October, heading to Qatar for the first time. The legendary customer service that you might expect from Qatar Airlines coupled to the fact that I would be flying on the new(ish) Boeing Dreamliner for the first time. The dreamliner – for those that don’t know, is cutting edge carbon fibre construction. Now, translating the phrase ‘cutting edge’ into my engineering mindset, I get the phrase ‘new in the market’ or to put it another way ‘not yet proved to stand the tests and rigours of time and flight’.
So, I wandered up to the boarding gate a little ahead of time to get a look at the wee beastie and see if I could calm my nerves some. I peered in the early morning gloom at the front of the aeroplane and saw something that did indeed rattle my cage somewhat.
See, call me old fashioned, call me what you will, aluminium repair tape has its place in the world, I agree, and have often used it, normally around exhaust joints etc etc etc. Never in my wildest dreams would I think of using it on a vehicle that travels at 35,000 feet in excess of 500 mph – least of all, would I expect to see it holding the pilots window in place on the latest Boeing Dreamliner – but by christ, that is what I saw.
Yeah – this was going to be the longest 6 hours of my life. Except it wouldn’t be. It turned out to be 7 hours. Apparently the incoming flight had a Mini Cooper in its hold and the cargo boys at Birmingham were having some trouble getting it out again, so I sat at the gate for an hour biting my nails.
My excitement and apprehension was cut short though. I have a problem with airlines – none in particular, they are all the same. Being 6’3” I struggle with leg room. Most airlines combat this by taking an extra £50 or so out of my wallet for letting me sit in the exit row seat (also very handy for being the first out if something does go wrong). Except on this flight, and my return leg, all those exit row seats have been reserved by 5 foot midgets. An extra problem on the Dreamliner as there is something the size of an xbox under all seats, with the exception of the middle seat. It stands in the inside edge of the seat leg, effectively reducing the width of the space under the seat in front – or in more simple terms, the space where you want to put your feet is reduced and now to combat the Xbox installation, you have to sit crooked in your seat for 6, if not 7 hours.
Now, without getting off topic, this is one of my biggest gripes with modern world. People keep selling us upgrades, better services, more comfort, faster response times, more overhead locker space etc – but who the fucking hell thought that it would be a good idea to wedge these metal boxes under the seat exactly where 6 people in each and every row want to put their feet?
Personally I never travel with a bag that tests the weight limit of the overhead bins, I would much prefer a little less up there in favour of more leg room at my seat. I can’t imagine anyone in the world would agree with Boeing designers on this one – with a few exceptions – Hipsters and Apple Lemmings, because we all know that Hipsters and Apple Lemmings just have to wank on continuously about how good all things modern and diverse are – the fuckers !
Moan over. Now, I have added a few photographs from a recent visit to Portugal so do pop across to the photo section and take a little look. Nothing spectacular, but all the same, have a look.
Cold Feet – I just watched the last of the current series (courtesy of my newly acquired VPN, I can now watch all the UK TV while globe trotting).
Think back 15 years or so when Cold Feet first came about – It was astounding back then. It was one of those TV programs that when it was on, you were always home to watch it. Never missed, and always planned for, it was an epic from a good time in life. The whole country used to talk about it. Sure, there were others – 30 something from the 80’s, ER in the 90’s, Six Feet Under in the 00’s, but this was just better, home grown better, and Faye Ripley with that Manchester accent used to (and still does) drive me wild.
For me, it picks up perfectly where the last series finished over a decade ago. The characters have grown older perfectly and it still makes me feel warm inside – like a good glass of red and block of chocolate.
So I was sad to see the last one go tonight but then I remembered that it has been commissioned for a second series so I am happy again. Tra La Laa
Now really and finally
16 year olds do not have the right to use the phrase ‘back in the day’. Come on, back in the day means at least half your life ago – so when you are 40 and you say back in the day, you are referring to the period in your life when you were 20. I just don’t see anything that could have happened that was so memorable for an 8 year old that they need to recall it with their adolescent plebs.
Oh yeah back in the day when we used to buy penny chews on the way to school….
Now the last really and finally…
If you want to see where I am right now, take a look at the link below. I am in a place called Doha, which is in the Kingdom of Qatar. I am here for a 5 week gig, working on a boat that is moored at a place called Porto Arabia on The Pearl. They were kind enough to supply me with a Toyota 4×4, a fuel allowance for the car and a massive, and I mean mah-hoosive apartment on The Pearl overlooking the Lagoon and the City beyond. There is more than enough room here for John and Mon to come and stay – I actually think Rue might even manage it!