Last night I looked up at the sky and heard the silence. Thanks to the erupting Icelandic volcano, all the aeroplanes have been grounded, and it is a strange thing to look into the sky and see not a single plane. No jumbo jets taking passengers on an exotic holiday, no private planes zipping its wealthy occupants across the counties, no gliders, no helicopters, no nothing. The skies are once again a domain for feathered friends. They must wonder what has happened to the strange metallic objects that usually tear loudly across the blue. Jubilant birds – take back your heritage!
It is strange not to see a plane, but stranger still not to hear them. We’ve become attuned to that distant rumble of displaced air, a sound so commonplace that we barely notice its vibrations anymore (unless you live under a flight path of course). Maybe when air travel starts again the noise will be over-whelming, and people will protest and write to their local newspaper (as that does wonders, Disgruntled of Dorset.)
My first experience of air travel was a holiday to Spanish island Majorca with my parents when I was eight years old. We flew at night, so I’d be shaken awake, blinking, at some yawn-inducing hour, and we’d sing in the car on the way to the airport. It was incredibly exciting to go somewhere ‘exotic’ that wasn’t an English holiday camp, even though the minute we landed (or so it would seem) I’d be shunted off into the children’s prison (the dreaded mini-club for 7 – 11 year olds) and realise that no matter whether we were in England or Spain, my days would be grimly filled with organised 'fun'. I’d still be required to find a pebble with a hole through it, fill a matchbox with a number of objects beginning with ‘s’, make some sort of tutu, and at some point have to wear a slightly sweaty crepe paper fancy dress costume and do a 'turn' on stage.
When was your first aeroplane trip and where did you go?
Picture by danielweir.esq