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Jolly Nice People Shocker

July 6, 2013

It started with the good-looking chap behind us in the queue at immigration.  We were just explaining to H why we’d been at the airport for half an hour and were yet to see an aeroplane when said chap smiled across at me.  “I think travelling is tiring, but it must be so much more tiring when you’re travelling with children,” he said pleasantly before heading off to the lounge in glorious singleness.

One flight and a short stop in Dubai later and we were just about to board the aeroplane to London when a man stopped us on the bridge.  “I love to see families flying together,” he said apropos of absolutely nothing.  “I used to travel with my family.  Good on you.  Some people don’t like children on aeroplanes, but I’m a fan.”

And then, again, on the aeroplane, as I was apologising to the poor chap sitting next to me who had had to endure J’s complete repertoire of complaints; from slight snuffles and the odd “caw” like a crow to the full on eyes-screwed-up-mouth-open-wailing-fit-to-encourage-ships-away-from-rocks screams (J wasn’t enjoying the flight very much) it happened again.  “It’s fine, really,” he said.  “It must be so much worse for you. He’s really not bothering me.  Genuinely.”

I was stunned.  I had expected that a deathly hush would descend over the cabin as we walked in with J on one hip, leading H by the hand.  All eyes would study us as we checked our boarding card yet again for the seat number (why is that the only time in my life that I can’t remember a simple single number and letter combo for the minute it takes from showing it to the air stewardess to getting to the seat?).  Tumbleweed would roll down the aisle and somewhere back near the toilets a chap in a poncho and sombrero would play some theme tune to a spaghetti western by Morricone.  As it became clear that we had found our seats the majority of travellers would kiss their lucky ring/be thankful that they wore their lucky pants that day, whilst the poor person in the seat next to ours would (if they were British) smile an insincere smile and spend the rest of the flight shooting death stares in our direction.

But it wasn’t to be.  Without fail everyone we met was any of: sympathetic about travelling with children, kind enough to help or encouraging and upbeat.  I’m sure there were exceptions who spent the flight trying to fashion a set of 4 voodoo dolls for the lot of us, but they were obviously far too busy trying to keep track of my hair styles (scraped back…oh, released….scraped back….released again etc) to make themselves known.

And so the epic journey from Islamabad to London passed without serious incident save for the loss of a close family member.  It appears that H’s little scrap of grey material with a deformed elephant head which is called “Dumbo” in honour of the cheerful little cartoon chap it used to resemble may have been a casualty.  So far he hasn’t turned up for roll call and he wasn’t revealed by a frantic search through the hand luggage.  Ho hum. H is 3 now.  Enough with the cuddly toys*.



*Exceptions will be made for Beddibyes Teddy; Dino; Tickly Sheep; Highland Cow; Teddy; Blue Teddy; Mrs Dumbo; Mr Camel; Quacking Duck and any other cuddly toys that H decides should share his pillow at night.

  1. Do you have that book “Blue Kangaroo”? I think you should…

    One thing I’ve noticed on flights is that if a baby is crying, you really don’t hear it more than one or two rows away. The acoustics in an aeroplane cabin must be very bad (or very good, I suppose, if you’re thinking about it from that point of view rather than concert hall point of view). So although the parent is painfully aware of every squeak and yell, it’s really only a very few other people who hear it, and even for them, it’s pretty muffled.

    I felt sorry for the businessman next to me one flight (only an hour) who had to hear me sing nursery rhymes into my daughter’s ear the entire time. It was either that, or listening to her yell – she started whenever I stopped. Eventually I ran out of ideas for new ones, and just repeated “Here we go round the mulberry bush” and “Row row row your boat” endlessly.

    Glad to hear you had a good experience. I think you should write to the Daily Mail.


  2. I still have my cuddly toy under my pillow… And I am considerably older than H. Thanks for bringing the weather with you. Enjoy your stay, and not having to make food choices x


  3. Was Living Down Under permalink

    Glad you had a good flight. We once boarded in Sydney with a 3 year old and a 1 year old and people actually asked to be moved. The kids hadn’t even made a peep yet. All worked out though – gave us more space to stretch out!

    Enjoy your hols!


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