Wednesday, 13 February 2013

A night on The Rock

I'm not normally a nervous flier, but the last two windy flights to Shetland have seen me clutching at the arm rests and muttering 'We're all going to die' as the plane descended sharply and bumpily towards the sea in the dark, sounding all the while like one of those planes in old war films that spiral out of control after having been shot down by the enemy.  Horrible, and not something that I was keen to repeat on tonight's flight home.

I kept a close eye on the weather report all morning but really, all I had to do was listen to the wind howling between the gaps in our office window to know that it was fierce out there.  Nevertheless, everyone has told me that Shetland flights are NEVER cancelled because of wind so I resigned myself to the inevitable.

Except it wasn't.  As we waited to board, there was an announcement asking for volunteers to bump themselves off the flight.  Apparently the plane was too heavy to fly safely in the wind.  No one volunteered until the second announcement, when £200 compensation and accommodation for the night was offered.  I jumped at the chance, along with four other people.  (Good thing too, because the flight was later cancelled but no one else got compensation or accommodation.  Lots of hacked off passengers at that point!)

An hour later, we were all snugly tucked up in a van on our way to the B&B.  Except we first had to stop at the shops so that the guys - three off-shore oil workers and one long-distance lorry driver - could buy alcohol for the night.  One of them bought 2 bottles of wine, a bottle of gin, a bottle of vodka, and a 6-pack of beer.  And that was just for him.  And then we had to stop so that one of the other guys could hop out for a pee since he insisted that he couldn't hold on for five more minutes.  My heart sank at the prospects for the rest of the evening.

Except it was surprisingly okay.  They might have been tipsy but they were funny and charming with it, although there was a bit of a heated discussion over whether to watch Corrie or the football.  Corrie won.  The B&B owner whipped up an amazing dinner and, despite the copious amount of wine that was flowing, everyone behaved well.  Except for the guy who fell asleep with his head on his plate, but then he had had a bottle of wine to himself before dinner as well as whatever he had had at the airport.  At least he was quiet about it.  

Fingers crossed that the wind will die down enough by tomorrow morning for me to get back home, where Bassman has been entertaining roe deer, pine martens, and kittens.  In the snow.  Some people have all the fun.

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