Navigating Turbulence and Travel Terrors


Having just returned from a whirlwind business trip to Singapore, I felt a certain unease reading about the ordeal of those who suffered severe turbulence on a recent flight to the country. With one poor British passenger dead and 20 more in intensive care, it illustrates how severe the situation must have been. To have dropped 6,000 feet in just three minutes, must have felt like the most terrifying theme park ride ever.

In my twenties, I fleetingly visited Singapore en route to judge a bunch of records for the Guinness Book of Records in Indonesia. I travelled with the waggish picture editor of the Daily Mail’s then popular You magazine as he was covering the story in pictures.

During our sojourn, we had a terrifying ordeal in a fishing boat on the Java Sea after we returned from a tiny island to the capital, Jakarta. Having survived that experience, we didn’t expect to encounter another in the form of horrible turbulence back from Singapore which had us both gripping the armrests of our seats. I remember thinking that it would never stop and though we were tightly strapped in, cabin crew were flying about with one sobbing loudly in the galley, supposedly out of earshot.

There’s evidently something about the route that creates bad turbulence though in this case, it was obviously extreme. I was on an Emirates flight on the outward journey and the cabin crew were constantly checking that we had our seatbelts loosely fastened even when sleeping in our pods. Now I know why. I am also guilty of often unstrapping my belt once the seatbelt sign is switched off but will now think twice about it. What happened to these poor folks, occurred in a split-second so there’s no room for complacency anymore.

Another very turbulent route cited by aviation experts is Santiago in Chile to Bolivia. I might be dropping that one from the bucket list!

Crisis, what crisis?

It seems bizarre that Deputy Prime Minister, Oliver Dowden, has suddenly urged UK citizens to start stockpiling essentials in case of an emergency. Maybe he knows something we don’t or perhaps it’s a tactic to stop the electorate frothing at the mouth about current policies?

Dowden feels that homes should all be equipped with a crisis emergency kit which should include batteries, tinned meat and vegetables, bottled water and other key items. I don’t think it’s a bad idea but why now? I always have a good supply of dried foods knocking about but not sure where I’d store my tins. My explorer chum, Colonel John Blashford-Snell once gifted me a wind-up torch which is superb for use in jungles, but I think it’s stored in my jungle kit bag in the attic, as for a wind up radio, there’s one somewhere knocking about the house. Maybe I’d better find it and dust it down.

Knowing how people take things literally, I imagine UK residents will now start queueing up at their local Tesco stores and ravaging the shelves for loo rolls and other goods just as they did during the pandemic. Politicians really should be more responsible when they issue this kind of edict to avoid panic buying, unless of course it was wholly intentional. If it was intentional, what could be the reason. Answers on a postcard.

Bite the hand

There was a shocked reaction when one of the King’s Guards horses lashed out at a tourist in London who posed alongside the animal with her hand on its flank. Had she asked permission of it or even bothered to read the sign close by advising that horses might kick or bite? Luckily for this foolish tourist, the beast only bit at her sari, but frankly, she only had herself to blame. There have been a fair few incidents of rattled horses in the Guards of late. Maybe they’ve all had enough and feel the time is right to bite back. I hope this woman returned home chastened and should there be a next time, will treat any such noble beast with the respect it deserves.

It’s Raining, it’s pouring

While I enjoyed the warm rain that fell in Singapore, slightly abating the humidity, friends in Blighty have reported freezing rain in their respective neck of the woods. Meanwhile, my sister is facing lashing rain at her home in France and commented that it was like a bleak November with dark skies and icy temperatures. And so it reminded me once again how lucky we are here in sunny Mallorca to enjoy mild and balmy climes with blue skies and a hot and radiant sun. The joy of the golden isle is that we can expect temperate weather throughout the year, regardless of the season.

Basking in the sun

According to a survey, sitting in the hot sun is the perfect way to melt fat and stave off appetite. Well, what do you know? Nothing like stating the obvious though the cooky idea of fat melting and landing in puddles on the beach might prove a little repellent. Basking in the sun can also give you sun stroke, make you dehydrated (especially if drinking copious amounts of alcohol) and pose a skin cancer risk. I don’t want to be a wet blanket, but just saying.

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