Flying home from Cuba last week, on a flight during which I hoped to sleep as much as possible, I found myself pinioned between my travelling companion friend and an unknown, uncommunicative (to me at any rate - he did however talk almost non-stop and loudly to his travelling companions and flirted outrageously with one of the cabin staff who turned out to come from the same part of the world as he did) Scotsman. Now, you might have thought that it was hard to be pinioned on a Virgin transatlantic flight with its quite generous seats. However, when the people of either side of you choose to make use of the arm rests in such a way that their elbows impinge on your seat space, then it is indeed possible. Fortunately, I somehow had two cushions instead of just one and so, despite having my arms somewhat restricted, I was still able to make myself reasonably comfortable.
I was reminded of this on yesterday’s Ryanair flight, where the seats are considerably less generous in size. The lady in the window seat next to my middle of the row seat was a person of quite ample proportions. She too spread herself across the arm rest, pushing her elbow into my space. Her thighs also spread from her seat onto mine. Even her feet, well one of them, managed to trespass into the space in front of my seat. Fortunately she adjusted her position after take-off so that she could take numerous photos through the window of the plane.
Unlike the garrulous Scotsman on the Cuba to London flight, she did not order champagne to drink during her journey. She did engage me in conversation for quite a large section of the flight. I found out that she lived 17 years in Boston, USA, although you would never have guessed this from her spoken English. But that was quite a long time ago. Now she was returning to Portugal after visiting her daughter in Stoke on Trent, where her daughter worked as a nurse. She told me the names and ages of her various grandchildren - and so I reciprocated in kind. She also confided to me that she believed Theresa May was crazy to take the UK out of Europe. I rather got the impression that she thought it was a personal choice by Theresa May. Mind you, a lot of British citizens are just as confused about the whole business.
Our travel yesterday went remarkably smoothly, without too many or too lengthy waiting periods between one bit of the journey and the next. And we left what has been declared to be the hottest February day on record in England to travel to an equally balmy Portugal and Spain. I think the forecast remains good for the rest of this week but I fear that dull and gloomy weather might return for our second week here.
So it goes!
My Spanish sister has been gloating about being on the beach in the last few days. Mind you, she does live in the Cadiz region of Andalucía. If it’s fine and sunny and warm in Galicia, and the North West of England for that matter, you would expect Southern Spain to be quite hot. Some people, she tells me, were even in the sea. That may be a step too far. I doubt that the Atlantic has had much chance to warm up so far.
However, with the strange things that seem to be going on with climate all over the place, anything is possible. And people are never satisfied. A lady in the supermarket this morning was complaining about the heat, on the grounds that lettuces need rain! Okay!