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


Sky News….

In London, until this afternoon, it was a glorious autumn day with warm, mellow sunshine and light breezes.

The remnants of storm Ophelia are making their presence felt here too. The sun went a rather peculiar orangey colour, rather than yellow, the clouds scudded across, the winds blew a lot stronger and then the sky seemed to fall in around 4 pm this afternoon.

This of course sent people into their usual witticisms, saying the apocalypse is coming and that Donald J. Trump has launched an attack on whatever country has offended him. It went very, very dark, and no one knew why.

But the good old Met Office here in the U.K. has variously attributed the strange sky colour to Saharan dust and forest fire debris being blown in from Spain and Portugal. The winds are from a southerly track and of sufficient strength to frighten people into thinking the end of days was imminent. There’s always a reason behind most things, and we can all go back to normal now.

Allen Brooks xx

30th Anniversary of the Great UK storm…

It was thirty years ago to the day when British TV weather forecaster, Michael Fish, delivered a gaffe that will always be remembered by the watching public. Fish told us that a hurricane wasn’t  on the way that night and following morning….what followed was the biggest wind storm to hit England for 350 years…no big mistake then!

I remember the night very clearly. I was due to go into school the following morning, and the winds howled and the rain poured down. So much so in fact, that’s part of London suffered a major power outage. After the storm had passed, it was eerily quiet and ghost like in the area.

A school mate had popped round to see whether I was going to school. There was no possibility of school that day, mainly for health and safety reasons. There were some huge trees uprooted in the local area and it was a scene of eerie calm, despite the havoc that just been wreaked.

Nationwide, several people were either injured or lost their lives. The national Met Office came in for some fearful stick in not alerting people to the devastation to come. Computer technology has improved somewhat in 30 years, but as we have seen this autumn, Mother Nature has been merciless in destroying communities and places in the Caribbean and North America. No amount of computer predictions can beat Mother Nature.

And, by a quirk of fate, a storm in the Eastern Atlantic is making it’s way to the western UK and Ireland tomorrow and into Tuesday. It’s called Ophelia and we await events. Some damage is likely, so please take care of yourselves in these areas. The weather is always a topic of conversation, but something we can’t control. Tomorrow will bring back some memories of 1987 and a gaffe prone weather forecaster. I don’t think the same mistake will be made tomorrow.

Allen Brooks xx

Sunday Best…

Hello. On what was a glorious day for mid October, me and one of my umpiring colleagues made the long journey to Cambridge for some information and guidance on how to run some new cricket umpiring courses, starting in the New Year.

It’s a time for great change within the tutoring and learning methodology in cricket umpiring. There’s to be less emphasis on examinations, and more on the practical side of things, such as dealing with players, making mistakes and preparation before an umpire does a game, for example.

Also, there’s some new law changes as well, especially related to player behaviour, which comes as a necessary evil into what used to be euphemistically termed “a gentleman’s game” many years ago. We live in a society now that is more aggressive and querulous, and it is up to the umpires to uphold the traditions of the game, I hope.

It was a long drive there and back, and the four early morning starts in a row sees me in bed by 10.30 in the evening, and also guaranteeing me some good quality sleep, something which hasn’t always been the case of late. Still, it’s better than sleeping in till nearly lunchtime, and sometimes gone lunchtime! But when the medication was such, heavy and poor quality sleep was the result.

I feel ok, not bad, could be better, could be worse. I’ll settle for that.

Allen Brooks xx

Fresh Air and Fun…just the job

Went out lunchtime to watch a mate play football. He used to play at a decent level, but age and injuries are catching up with him. Saying that though, he did set up his team’s winner, with a nice pass.

Personally it was nice to get out and enjoy some fresh air, and at times it was a bit too fresh, as a cold shower of rain passed through. Amateur football is interesting to watch and to listen to. The language is often fruity to say the least, and the poor old referee gets it in the neck as well, just like they do in the professional game. The ref doing my mate’s game was ok, even if he did like blowing the whistle a bit too much. But it’s hard to expect top class officiating at the modest level the blokes were playing at.

My mate has to watch it though. He has a bad knee, and at one stage he pulled up and was limping around for a while. He got through the majority of the game, but there will be a time when he’ll have to call it a day playing sport, before something does happen to his knee that could be permanent.

Saying all of that, at least he’s had the talent and the fitness to last this long, and I can only watch on in admiration. I do look out for him though, as he’s one of the few friends I have left! Top class bloke and we’ve been friends for a good while now. I hope to keep it that way! 

Looking at the shapes and sizes of the players on show, I don’t have much to worry about. The referee in the match next door was a chap with grey hair and a beer gut. Suffice it to say he didn’t move very much, except to caution one of the managers for dissent. Still, all in a day’s work, as I’m only too aware of.

Good fun, and nice to be enjoying some sport again.

Allen Brooks xx

The Sun has got his hat on…

Beautiful day here in London. Simply stunning. Clear blue skies and that mellow warmth that we sometimes get this late in the year, certainly makes up for some of that dross type weather that we get in summer. 

How am I? Ok, no more than that. I did sleep ok, and I feel just average. I’ll gladly take that though, after that horrid experience on Thursday night. Ok is ok.

I’m off to watch a mate of mine play football. Like me, he’s getting a bit older, but unlike me, he’s very good at football. With the weather being decent today, it beats staying in, and it’s something a bit different from recent happenings. 

I don’t have that large, dark cloak or blanket over my brain today, so that’s a start. It’s important to just relax and try and enjoy the day. Thursday wasn’t good. Saturday will be better. Trying to harbour some positive thoughts. Being an essentially negative person, that isn’t easy for me to do. I’ll give it a go today though.

Allen Brooks xx

Good day..enjoyed that

It’s been a long day. Ever since those welcoming blue skies encouraged me out of the door this morning, it’s been a very good day too.

First of all, it was off to a meeting to arrange something around World Mental Health Day, in a few weeks time. Surprisingly, I was full of ideas and those ideas seemed to be welcomed. I’m really looking forward to the day and I hope to stand up and do a little presentation on autism. Heaven help us all!

Then it was this on a blissful afternoon:-

In the wrong order…but there you go. It was off on a boat (I know, I’m not great with them), across the Solent to Shanklin on the Isle of Wight. I’ve never been to the small island in the English Channel before, but what a wonderful place. Idyllic, peaceful and somewhere to spend a summer holiday in the future. I just fell in love in the place within the first few minutes of arriving. 

Sadly, I’m back home now. Yes, back in shouty, sweary, aggressive, turbulent London. It was nice to get away from this for a few hours. The smell of the sea salt and the soft warmth of an autumn afternoon really appealed to me. I love to get away, it’s just I haven’t been that well to go away that often this year. An indication of better times ahead? We’ll wait and see. But it’s a start. Good day.

Allen Brooks xx