Ontario, CA to Washington D.C.

An unforgettable journey

Photo by Kevin Bosc on Unsplash

One January while I was living in Southern California, I had the opportunity to take a break in Virginia with my best friend’s Mom and visit a facility linked with the one for which I worked.

It was a sunny morning with clouds as I was dropped at Ontario airport. By the time we boarded the plane, the sun had vanished, and a grey fog descended around the plane only. I promise you it was nowhere else. I know for a fact the I10 was clear and traffic flowing well.

After an hour the captain announced that we were fog bound until clearance was given. No one could disembark as it might be very soon.

I have learned that in flying language, very soon is a synonym for ten minutes to ten days. It’s a platitude designed to cause riots. I got my book out and began to read.

On finishing my book, three hours had passed. I could hear murmurs of grumbling as well as requests for drinks. I realized drinks were not on offer. I took out my water bottle and took a sip.

The murmurs of grumbling turned to rallying for revolution. It was unsettling. I realized five hours had passed and my second book was nearly finished. What would I read on the flight, if there was one?

After eight hours we were told we had half an hour to go into the terminal to make phone calls and use the facilities. I decided to wait to make my call as the phones were in use. All ten of them. Some men had their brick size ‘cell phones’ in use.

We were hearded back onto the plane. It was getting dusk and the last of the sunset was strikingly beautiful. Fog? Where was it?

We took off at last and flew into daylight for a few hours. I saw crop circles, rivers, craters, lakes, and mountains, before night covered the whole USA.

Then I noticed the White House, all lit up like a target for a malicious flier. I looked forward to the descent. But there was none. We banked, and I watched the White House as we circled it.

We circled and circled that illuminated target and I worried that the captain had criminal intentions. I beckoned a flight attendant and asked what was going on. She leaned in close and whispered that we were in a line to land but would be soon due to a lack of fuel. I was asked not to mention this.

My confidence was not restored. We had circled seventeen times already. How many minutes before we dropped out of the sky?

However, we did land, and I was met by my friend who had left home before getting the message I had asked to be passed on.

So much for flights and phones.


My Connection With Eric Clapton

He looked wonderful that night

Photo by Gabriel Gurrola on Unsplash

Some years ago, my husband and I were both plus ones at Eric Clapton’s New Year’s party. (I can’t tell you where it was as I’d have to kill you…) I wasn’t driving anyway, so didn’t take much notice. But I know where it was.

Sorry, I can’t remember what I wore at all. Safe to say, it was probably red or blue. They are my go to colors. Hmmm, might have been purple.

There were quite a number of people, I happened to know a few who were not my husband and our friends. We were seated at round tables of eight people.

Strangely, after about half an hour, the fire alarm went off, and no, I did not do that. We all thronged at the door, waiting to go through like liquid through a narrow bottleneck.

We were chatting and wondering aloud what if it were a real fire. Then I felt a hand take my right hand. I paused. My husband was on my left, my hand on his elbow. Who would be so bold??

I looked at my hand as if to check it really belonged to me. Yep, it was mine and a large hand was holding it. My eyes followed the upward path of wrist, jacket sleeve, and a long way up to the connected shoulder. It was a tall man whoever it was. Then my eyes reached the face.

Eric Clapton was smiling down at me.

His steel rimmed spectacles, and that smile. Slightly crooked. The smile reached his eyes. The effect was gentle and inviting.

My husband’s elbow pulled me forward a pace or two. Eric did not immediately release his hold. He stepped forward, and then I think someone on his right started talking to him, and the hand hold became more of a fingers touching sort of thing,

I lost touch of him with next pace forward. His fingers dropped mine.

Later that year, we were visiting my Uncle and Auntie. My Auntie loves pop music, so I mentioned that we had been to Eric Clapton’s New Year’s Eve party.

Auntie Jen didn’t bat an eyelid. “I used to play with him” she responded. “I pushed him around in a pushchair”.

Turns out they both spent their childhoods in a village ten miles from their home. She was a year older and they played together. Hear that, y’all? My relative by marriage played with a rock star!

A few years ago, that Auntie died of a major heart attack. The funeral was in the village where she grew up. My daughter and I arrived a bit early and decided to wander around the graveyard.

The mausoleum to Connor Clapton is there. It is massive. It speaks loudly of grief and wealth. Eric’s little boy who fell from a balcony.

Here is the song Eric wrote for Connor;


The King Of Pop Spoke To Me

Not many people can write this

Photo by Call Me Fred on Unsplash

Back in the day when men looked at me in ways I don’t like, some friends and I were on a long haul flight to L.A. Like you do, when you have saved up your money and climate change was just a conspiracy theory.

After a short while, the flight attendant came to the front of coach class and told us to please use the toilets in First Class. No, not the champagne, or the wider seats, not even the personal video screens, only the toilets.

Eventually, I made my way. Eleven hours is a long time. First Class had very few people in it. Such a waste.

Making my return, I saw two window seats were screened off. The type of screens on wheels that have gaps between the metal frame and the cloth. A medical case being transferred, I thought.

I saw a very young looking, skinny teenager, or so I thought. We made eye contact. He said ‘hello’ and I smiled at him.

When we landed at L.A.X., we in coach were told we must wait to disembark. There were murmurs of discontent. It was more than an hour. Finally, we were allowed into the tunnel. There were screens everywhere. Screens and photographers. It dawned on me.

Michael Jackson had said hello to me.


How My Dad Never Passed A Driving Test

No, he did not get into trouble

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

I used to love it when I was in the car with my Dad. I used to think cars were on an invisible track on the road. My Dad was always calm and patient. He never had an accident all the years he drove.

He drove us to the beach on summer days, at around 4 PM. The water was warm then and people were leaving. He could spot birds of prey even while driving. My sister and I would struggle to see them.

When we moved to England, twice a year Dad drove us back to our home in Germany. It took twenty four hours with the ferry. My sister and I slept in the back, though I watched the street lamps as we left Brussels behind.

I went with Dad to fetch a car from the factory. I don’t know why, but it had to do with his being an army officer. I was five. I accepted what was and felt special. I never asked about why or how.

Whenever it was just me with Dad in the car, he loved to make me laugh. Once, on the downhill near our home, as no traffic was around, he braked to slow down and moved his foot away. I giggled.

My Dad cycled and walked a lot. The car was for family outings and going to Germany. We got driven to Brownies as it was after dinner time, and sometimes I was fetched from the stables four miles away. Otherwise I walked, and met Dad half way.

My Dad never took a driving test. He joined the army aged seventeen. One day, he was ordered to move a lorry. ‘I don’t have a driving licence, Sir’ my Dad replied. He was ordered to move the lorry and see his officer the next morning.

In the office, he was asked to sign his driving license. I mentioned this in comments to someone here who thought my Dad was in trouble. How does obeying an order get anyone into trouble? He was issued a licence.

I would drive anywhere with my Dad. And he made a great passenger too. My mother? She scared me to death. My daughter is a great driver.

My Dad drove us to beauty spots away from where we lived as where we lived would swarm with people on vacation. We visited my parents’ friends, so boring, but our walks at beautiful places were legendary.

As a family we drove all over Europe, then I did so as a single woman, a married woman, and a mother with my daughter. I gave up my car soon after my daughter passed her test. I want to lessen my carbon impact on the Earth in anyway I can.

My memories of journeying with Dad are many and so happy.