Not the least being finding novel and not so novel ways of jump starting obstinate vehicles whose batteries have suffered the paralysis of the freezing weather.
Spring as a season appears to be a very, very long way off and summer is in the distant future.
The Co-Op is doing a roaring trade in Paracetamol and Lemsip medicines to people who are panicking at the first sign of chills, sniffles and colds.
Is this the dreaded pandemic that we have been warned about every year since year dot?
Homeopathy I suppose has its place in polite society fortunately Ipplepen whilst full of good and polite people is not somewhere it has seriously caught on much I suppose to the relief of the village Health Centre and dispensary.
The well heeled residents have either just returned or are in the process of setting off to leave our rain-drenched frozen streets for their annual winter break in the Caribbean or Maldives.
First class of course which means they will not have to suffer either at the departure or during the journey have to mix with the “economy classes” but are undoubtedly very disturbed and angry to find that they are having to share the facilities with the common folk once they reach their final destination.
That’s the price of equality (and cheap winter breaks available to all ) I suppose.
I should admit that we are amongst those who are jetting away from the winter travails – economy class of course.
The destination is a day away in the future to the land of the Hobbits (New Zealand) to visit our son, daughter in law and grandson.
Plus of course on the other side of the world it is summer.
The only issue is of concern is the reality of travelling on such a flight of fancy and having to spend 29 hours incarcerated in a tube with others who will be as equally irritable and downright knackered by the time we arrive in the Land of the Long White Cloud.
Fortunately the early days of mass air travel that took off (no pun intended) in the mid sixties when men travelled wearing a shirt and tie and economy class was just that – economy – with only enough leg room for people under five feet in height are over.
Drinks back then were exotic as the pint of bitter classes experienced for the first time a Bacardi and coke though thinking back to the physical reactions of passengers who drank them I’m convinced they were spiked with some kind of fast acting laxatives.
Still on arrival in the sunnier climes there was copious amounts of Watney Red Barrel waiting to be consumed.
The emergency drills were explained in detail. What to do in the event of a cabin pressure failure and how to adopt the ‘brace’ position in order to protect yourself should the aircraft unfortunately decide to plummet to earth from thirty thousand feet.
I always smiled at the statement regarding the putting on of the life jackets and why they should not be inflated until you have left the aircraft in “the event of making an unscheduled landing on water”.
Two things, firstly ‘unscheduled’ when was there ever a scheduled landing on water? and secondly and I don’t wish to be alarmist but ‘landing’ suggests it would be carefully pre-planned and controlled in its execution as we fall out of the sky on an scheduled stopover.
Having said all of that (and you may have detected I’m a somewhat reluctant traveller on long haul flights) and putting aside the gauntlet you have to run at the airport before you even board the aircraft there still remains even if subdued, a sense of excitement and anticipation in the passengers.
I’ll probably write about my experiences as we go on but here is a question that would never have crossed my mind in the past.
When did passengers breaking out in a round of spontaneous applause for the pilot once the aircraft has safely landed start?
Isn’t that one of their main and major objectives.
Or have I missed something?