A golden rule for aircraft pilots is that take-offs are optional, while landings are mandatory. There’s a lot of stuff in the media just now about the holiday industry, and the impact from lists of various colours. Flights cancelled, holidays re-scheduled, governments under pressure to rescue economies while battling unprecedented statistics. Phew… let’s get away from it all.
Well, that’s what my wife and I did last month. We had a week in Madeira, safely on the UK “Green List”, and it only cost us an NHS double vaccine certificate and a free negative test while we were there. Yes, there was more to it, of course. We’d originally booked a year ago for December 2020, and postponed once to July. Then there was the online locator form paperwork and the Day 2 test on return, but at least we got away to warm sunshine while the UK began a heatwave…
The point of this preamble is to highlight something common to us all: facing up to scary situations might put unwanted pressure on our bladders – but the effort is often worthwhile.
Take our trip to Madeira.
We lost the first 24 hours due to wind: apparently it was considered too dangerous to attempt a landing. A day later, watching as our pilot banked sharply close to some impossibly high cliffs, we could understand why. It takes a strong nerve to put an aircraft full of several hundred people down safely onto that narrow ledge of tarmac. (See above about mandatory landings.)
It was my first visit to this tropical island, and one of the attractions for me was to scale the heights by cable car and sample a tourist attraction unique to Madeira: street tobogganing. This involves sitting in a tiny wicker basket fixed on wooden runners, and being pushed downhill by a couple of burly guys through narrow streets so steep, if you parked your car sideways it’d roll over. Bearing in mind my wife occasionally suffers from vertigo, this seemed like a big ask. But she placed her trust in me and took the plunge. She loved it!
Maybe the prospect of having a needle put in your arm feels too daunting, or perhaps you’re struggling to rebuild your life in some way after a personal loss. The paths we face in life can be intimidating in the short term. But take the longer view, step back a little and remember if you can what it felt like to be a child on a sledge in the snow. Once you reached the bottom of that slope, you immediately wanted to climb back to the top – and do it all over again.
There you go. Didn’t that feel good?
Need to know:
(I don’t just write fiction.