Starting jittery but ending well…..

That just about sums some days up for me. I was just a little grumpy and irritable this morning, but that soon dissipated, courtesy of my colleagues at SANE, the UK wide mental health charity.

They bring me back down to earth, with their pleasant, professional attitude and kindness for others. Office duties called for me today, though a gorgeous summer day seemed tempting. But the day went well. And I even had one of the staff comment that my blog “…..is good. I enjoy your writing style”. So that’s two fans I have now, ha ha. Nice to receive some praise and another commented that “I brighten up their day”. Can’t believe this is me that people are commenting on.

The day went well, and now I have two days of cricket to look forward to. Tomorrow is set to be the hottest day of the year here in the UK, though I wouldn’t want to be outside in that intense heatwave over France, Spain and Portugal. My preferred summer weather type:- Sun, blue skies, temperatures around 80F with a little breeze. Again, I shall be finding ways not to sit in the midday sun tomorrow. Only mad dogs, Englishmen and cricketers do that.

Still, it’s better than shivering from the cold and the wind. So stop complaining, Allen!

See ya.

A.S.D Brooks

Experienced flyer but the nerves are still there….

I’ve made 22 plane journeys in 28 years. Here’s a breakdown of those:-

Malta – 6 times

Munich – 2

Jersey – 2

Edinburgh – 2

Dublin – 2

Manchester – 2

Fuerteventura – 2

Porto – 2

Majorca – 2

No problem at all, you might argue. But the nerves with me start days before a flight. A mixture of nervousness and apprehension pervade every fibre of my being before stepping on a plane.

Then all of a sudden, the reality takes over. Horrible, doom laden thoughts go through my head as to what might happen to the plane. The thought of being in a metal tube, flying at 500 mph and 6 miles above the ground, sends me into something approaching real fear. I’m not alone in this of course, millions of people around the world have this phobia. Phobia is a fear of something that is safe or harmless, generally speaking.

Flying is safe. So I try and comfort myself in the fact that billions of journeys are made a year and a tiny percentage of those end in disaster. On my recent trip to Malta, I was in more danger travelling on the roads with the daredevil driving than on a jet aircraft. After 22 journeys, so far so good.

I get onto the plane and find my seat. I strap in and watch the normal safety instruction from the cabin crew. My stomach is doing a passable impression of a washing machine. Churn, churn, churn.

Then the captain taxis the plane into position. The apprehension grows. Then we line up on the runway. It’s like going to the gallows. All of a sudden, whoooooosh! The engines power up, the force of the take off nudges you back in the seat and the plane roars off at 160 mph or so. Then before you know it, the plane lifts off. How it does this is still a source of wonderment to me. Engineering marvels.

I don’t look out of the window. If at all possible, I pull the window blind down or take an aisle seat. I try to shut my eyes as the craft steadily climbs. The power is increased. Then after about 15 minutes, the plane levels off and the cabin crew start their preparations for the inflight service.

Once the plane is cruising along, I do calm down a bit. But then there is the turbulence. The bumping and the jolting. Of course, turbulence has never brought down a jet to date. But that doesn’t stop me grabbing the arm rests or the seat in front of me. The plane goes faster to counteract the changes in air pressure. I’ve had a few bumpy journeys, but apart from an unnerving experience back from Porto last year, generally the flights have been smooth enough.

So nothing to worry about? Well, 30 minutes before the landing comes the descent. Again, some of these have been ok. The landing in Malta the other day was smooth and trouble free. But coming back saw the plane steaming in to the runway and after an inordinate time, it came to earth with a resounding thud. Of course, technically, this is not a cause for concern. It just feels like doing three rounds of the wall of death. I can be quite fearful.

But the comforting thing is that the pilots are well trained and are there for your safety. My senses are on full alert (part of my autism diagnosis) and danger is sensed constantly even though nothing has happened. My heart rate is high but when those wheels touch down, the heart rate slows and I feel relieved to have got through another flight.

The only frightening experience I’ve had (apart from the turbulence and the occasional hairy landing) was a go around in windy conditions at Gatwick 11 years ago. Ironically that was coming back from Malta too. I didn’t know what was happening and was very scared for some little time during and afterwards. Of course, this is a normal procedure and also happened on Saturday last when the air traffic was busy around Gatwick. Nothing to be alarmed about. All under control.

So there you have it. Despite 22 flights and several trips to Europe, I still like to have terra firma under my feet. I will make further trips by plane in future years. The nerves and fear will still be there. But flying is one of the safest forms of transportation on the planet, and is getting safer. Statistically very safe. But that won’t stop my senses being on the highest alert.

A.S.D Brooks

Plane journeys undertaken in my life to date…..

Here is a list of plane journeys I’ve made since 1991. This will help me to further rationalise and distance myself from the worries about air travel.

I’ve been to:-

Munich

Dublin

Manchester

Edinburgh

Jersey

Malta (Twice)

Majorca

and on Wednesday, Porto.

That will be 18 times I’ve sat on a plane and experienced the anxieties and nerves. No dramas, apart from trying to land at Gatwick once in a strong wind. That wasn’t the only strong wind going on at the time, I can tell you.

It’ll be ok.

A.S.D Brooks

Heat returns….

After a temporary intermission, the hot weather is to return to the UK later this week. It’s warm enough today, especially after that morning thunderstorm.

But this is nothing compared to the heat building in Spain and Portugal. Temperatures could be approaching 50 Celsius which is 122 Fahrenheit. That is downright dangerous and certainly will cause more problems with illness and of course wildfires which have been raging on certain parts of the world the last few weeks. The European all time record could go later this week.

It’ll get into the 90s Fahrenheit here again later so more uncomfortable nights for sleeping coming up. Prefer today’s sort of weather, warm, sunny, breezy with a hint of freshness. But spare a thought for those in southwestern Spain and Portugal. That is heat that I wouldn’t venture out in. Too much.

Take it easy folks

A.S.D Brooks

Watched in 37 countries…..!!

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Thank you

A.S.D Brooks

Great British Bake….

(Temperatures approaching 99 Fahrenheit around the East of England on Sunday 29th July)….

Not wishing to advertise a worthy reality show in the UK but a play on words to back up what I was saying the other day on the possibility of a record breaking spell of heat in the UK late next week and into next weekend.

Again, I’ll add the caveat that this is 10 days away and things could change, but I’ve been tuning into some weather blogs and looking into the next week’s prospects for this potential record breaker. And there is more than the outside possibility that 40 Celsius or 104 Fahrenheit could be reached in the UK next week. There’s some excitement and interest growing on the weather blogs that 100 Fahrenheit will be easily beaten.

To back this up, I noticed that the temperatures here in London at 9 am on Saturday 28th July are 32 Celsius 90 Fahrenheit!! At 9 am if you please. This is incredible. Could it happen?

Several things need to fall into place for this to happen. We have the dry air and dry, parched ground. We need low pressure out in the Atlantic to stay there and high pressure to form to the East. The UK would be in a “heat” sandwich, bringing up scorching winds from Northern Africa and Southern Spain. It’s already in the 40s Celsius in Spain and that could be on it’s way here.

But remember that the UK is an island and a few hundred miles shift in one direction or another could see this major event miss us entirely. One thing is though, the heat could reach dangerous proportions and that could cause some complications for a lot of people. I appreciate the hot weather isn’t to everyone’s taste, and it’s even a little too hot for me as well. But you only live once, and this would be an astonishing event in our lifetime in the UK.

So watch this space. The Great British Bake could be on…..

A.S.D Brooks

A.S.D Brooks’s World Cup of Bloggers….

Thank you to viewers from the following countries:-

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IrelandAll viewed from my IPhone in my front room. Thanks for your support and I hope to repay your support by keeping the blog as interesting as possible. Apologies for the slight leanings towards sport, but sport is a big part of my life and keeps me on the straight and narrow.See you soon A.S.D Brooks