Unhappy landing….

For avid readers of this blog, you will know that I’m not a great lover of air travel. I can just about tolerate it, but I’m not a fan in all honesty. 

Which leads me onto today’s tale. I was coming back from a honeymoon in Malta. I had just recently got married and me and the wife (or the better half, or in this case the better three quarters) had spent a week in the sun kissed Mediterranean island.

The journey back from Malta was relatively trouble free, until we reached the outskirts of the UK. It was windy and the plane was being thrown a little off it’s steady course coming into Gatwick. I don’t like the landing part of a plane’s journey and as we came in to touch down, I sat bolt upright in the seat. 

Just before the wheels touched the ground, the pilot bailed out and lifted the plane back into the air. Now I hadn’t been confronted with this before. I was scared and I also realised that adrenaline was brown….

I shouted “What the hell’s going on?”, “Why are we going round again?” and generally panicking. Nobody else was, including the wife, who I managed to bawl at at the same time, for which I received a ticking off in her own inimitable and frightening way.

The plane circled the airport for what seemed an eternity. Then the pilot made another attempt to land. This time, he was successful, though the plane landed with a large thud and lurched to the right. I was relieved we were on terra firma at last.

As the plane was taxiing back to the gate, the pilot announced what the problem was. “Sorry about that ladies and gentlemen, it was rather windy the first time and we couldn’t land. We had to adopt the go around procedure”. A bit more reassurance and then the pay off line, delivered with that clipped Home Counties accent that most pilots seem to have….”but we don’t charge you for going round the airfield again”.

Er….thanks for frightening the bejesus out of me and to say we don’t charge you for the privilege of the go around was rubbing salt into my panic induced wound. Off we got, and I was shaking like a jelly on a plate. Wobble, wobble, wobble.

Walking back through the terminal building, I was somewhat shell shocked by the whole experience. The wife found it all utterly hilarious of course, the laughter would have been on the other side of her face if I decided to end the marriage then! If I had done, I would have saved myself a lot of hassle, but that’s another story…..

It took me a few days back on solid ground to wipe the experience from my mind. Now that I know that pilots can perform this go around procedure, if it happens again, I can be assured that there is nothing to worry about. Flying and public speaking can be two of the most stressful things anyone can do, and yet I do these things, after a fashion it must be said. The mind is a complex thing. 

Allen Brooks xx


That fateful day…

Nine years ago, virtually to the day, I took a fateful decision that would have far reaching consequences. I got married, to someone I believed would honour, cherish and obey. 

The day was glorious, sunny and warm, and I thought this sunny beginning would herald a new chapter in my life. What transpired was lots of dark clouds and eighteen months of ever mounting difficulties.

Was I naive? Was I gullible? Yes to both. I believed, as anyone does when they’re in love, that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. There was no grass, just weeds, and certainly not green. 

The day itself was something I would never change. It all went very well indeed. There were scores of people there and I didn’t have the slightest inkling of any trouble that lay ahead. With the drinks being consumed, the music being played, and everyone having a good time, what could be better?

Oh that we ever should be imbued with that mystical quality called clairvoyancy. oh that we can look into the future and stop ourselves from making fateful decisions that will cause is great harm. But back in the real world again, everyone takes the plunge, then regrets it later.

So it’s an anniversary I look back on with some fondness, but also with mixed feelings. Was just wishing a trap door would open in that church and I would fall through it, an escape. That didn’t happen and the problems of that murky union are still there. There will be an official escape one day… you can be sure of that.

Allen Brooks xx

Another season ebbs away….like the tide

Hello. It was the last weekend of competitive cricket action in my local area yesterday, and for the seventh season out of eight, I’ve missed a fair majority of umpiring.

Why? Well, in 2010, my world was turned upside down and I’ve been unable, by and large, to process that and to carry on with other activities. I start the cricket season off in April with a fair degree of enthusiasm. Come the latter stages of May and early June, the enthusiasm has dissipated and my mood begins to deteriorate.

There’s been little I’ve been able to do, up to now, to arrest this decline. I’ve been involved in cricket since 1980, and umpiring since 1987. That’s a fair old while. Before 2010, I was able to concentrate my mind on the whole season, and it became almost an obsession, with little else being allowed to get in the way.

So I’m looking forward to processing the events of 2010, so I hope that in future years, I can concentrate on a full season of umpiring. The only exception to the downturn was the year 2014, where I was in a relationship and able to put my efforts into making that work. Sadly, like so many other attempts, it didn’t work out. 

So the summer of 2017 has passed me by. I hope this is the last one where my brain switches into reverse mode. It isn’t pleasant and I’m quite heartily fed up with it all.

Allen Brooks xx

Fish and Chips plus VAT….

Back home now after an eventful day. I had possibly the best meal of fish and chips ever, at this venue:-

Brighton Pier had a fish and chip restaurant right in the middle, so as I was feeling peckish, I decided to chance my arm. And what a good decision that was. Washed down with a Vodka and Tonic (VAT), the piece of haddock I had was sublime. Fantastic meal. It was a bit pricey, but I don’t mind paying a bit extra for something that’s very nice to eat.

I had a good walk around, the sun came out and it was rather hot. It was also packed. Brighton is one of the more popular seaside resorts in the U.K., and today proved it. 

I also saw this:- 

This was a special lift, built by Brighton and  Hove Council in conjunction with British Airways. It’s called the i360. The views are spectacular apparently, but the sheer height of the thing stopped me from hitching a lift. It’s £16 for adults, and there’s also airport style security before you get on, a must in this day and age. It all looked rather fab, but I declined the opportunity. Perhaps next time.

Remember what I said about attracting some of the more interesting characters on my travels? Well today, three homeless people asked me for money, I declined all three, but the chap on Brighton seafront sent me on my way with a flea in my ear for not acknowledging him. Maybe it was a little rude of me. What he lacked in habitat and money, he more than made up for it with biting sarcasm. Perhaps I will acknowledge them with the time of day, rather than cold, hard cash. Civility costs nothing.

And finally, as they say on the news bulletins, on the bus home (yes, the bus), a kid of 12 got on, gave me a filthy look and sat down. All this pretence of being a tough guy soon dissipated when he opened his mouth to speak (more like shout) on his phone. I don’t think puberty has reached this lad yet, judging by a high pitched trill that must frighten the local dog population. 

That was a good day. I’m glad I took the decision to go out and get out of town. It shook me out of my wooziness and got some fresh air inside of me. Fish and Chips anyone? 

Allen Brooks xx

London to Brighton Rally….

And I’m need of rallying I can tell you, rallying in the sense of recovery rather than driving a car.

I’ve been indoors the last two days and frankly, I was starting to get cabin fever. Everything of my surroundings was starting to get to me, that if my head came off with anger and frustration, then it wouldn’t have been a surprise.

So I needed to get out of the flat, get out of London. And on a rather oppressive and sultry day in London, I’ve decided to head to the coast, namely Brighton. A bit of sea air and a gentle stroll is just what I need.

There are of course some extraneous matters that irritate me, namely people who won’t keep to the left on London Underground walkways. A guy refused to get out of the way and I should really have barged him off course. No, I’m normally not like that, but I’m very jittery and edgy, resulting in a lot of anger and frustration. And wallies like that get my temper rising. 

Then, waiting on the platform at St Pancras, an incoming train on the other side had it’s brakes in need of some oiling. The noise of the squealing brakes was ear splitting as it arrived. Not pleasant for the temper or the ear drums.

Now, I’m on the train, and as one might expect, it isn’t going very fast. But I don’t care. I just want to be out for the rest of the day, and I don’t care how long it takes. 

That’s me, and that’s my mood. 

Allen Brooks xx

Hello there…

Today has been one of those days where you try and make the best of a bad job. The weather has been unbelievably bad, cold, wet and windy, and thus that makes my mood not as tip top as it should be.

So it was another venture to the gym. It actually felt like hard work today, which I suppose that’s how it should be. But instead of sitting on my backside indoors, moping and feeling sorry for myself, it was time to use the time wisely, which I did.

Then I had a meal at the restaurant about 200 yards away. Very nice too. But it’s a day that hasn’t risen above the average. Perhaps it’s a lesson in trying to use time wisely when I’m not at my best. Tomorrow will be different. There’s a lot going on, and it won’t be mediocre, I can promise you that.

See ya 

Allen Brooks xx

Where has Summer gone?

Second Saturday in a row, it’s dreary, grey and wet here in London. That thing called Summer has decided to depart British shores and leave us with this unremitting gloom. I’d rather have November in it’s rightful place, not in July or August.

And we wonder why Brits fly south for the summer? When it’s 100F in parts of the Med and Spain, who can blame them? Not me. The greyness and unrelenting rain is a reminder that Britain is an island at the eastern end of the Atlantic, so we get all sorts of muck every year. Doesn’t do much for the mood, I can tell you.

Allen Brooks xx

P.S:- The UK weather changed when the schoolchildren broke up for their summer holidays. Coincidence?