Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

Of course, it's Friday 13th ............

I flew up to Newcastle for a meeting yesterday and then spent last night in some non-descript hotel next to the airport up there. Joy of joys. My flight back to Exeter was due to fly out at 7am this morning for the short hour or so flight down south. Now I am not a superstitious person at all, indeed I will deliberately walk underneath a ladder if I see one, but the events this morning did get me thinking if there might actually be something to this whole Friday 13th thing......

We get onto the plane on time. But we don't move for a bit, and then the pilot comes on and says the plane next door has got a serious technical fault and that we are going to take their passengers to Gatwick first and then head on to Exeter from there. "Don't worry, we'll only be an hour late." Mmmmmm. So about 7.30 we take off for Gatwick and touch down about an hour or so later. The Gatwick passengers get off and we sit there and wait for the plane to be refuelled and then turn around for Exeter. It is pretty obvious we are going to be more than one hour late by this time, but then I travel a lot and had kind of guessed that by this point in time - no stress through as I am sitting there reading my Amazon Kindle. Best invention for ages if you ask me.

We taxi out on to the runway and then don't move for another age. Eventually the pilot comes on the intercom and says that the plane in front of us has hit a few birds and they now have to clean up the runway. I did not actually realise that it was Friday 13th at this point, but I heard a person in the seat behind me say so. You had to laugh now. But we did eventually take off and start the short flight down to Exeter. What a morning. Blue sky all the way. I could see Portland Bill, Chesil Beach, you name it, the south coast was looking stunning in that light.

But as we approach Exeter the pilot comes on the intercom again and says that there is freezing fog around the airport and that we can't land yet !! By this time I was fully expecting us to drop clean out of the sky with some major engine failure or something like that. So we circle what looks like a pretty clear Exeter airport to me for another age and then eventually we come in to land. Now I know naff all about flying a plane, but I can't say that Exeter airport was ever looking heavily shrouded in fog - ok, there was a bit around, but surely it wasn't that bad ? Was the pilot by this time also aware of the curse of Friday 13th and playing it mage-safe ? I guess we landed about three hours late. My best ever though was when I got stuck out on Vancouver Island with the whole 9/11 tragedy and it ended up taking me exactly 60 hours to get back home to Plymouth - that's 60 hours from leaving the fishing lodge on Vancouver Island to walking through my front door. Today was a mere blip - albeit a blip that the more superstitious might blame on it being Friday 13th........

Henry Gilbey4 Comments