And so began the annual pilgrimage to Turkey.
Can I start off by thanking the nice bus driver on the Citylink bus from Kinnegad to the airport who helped put my bags in the hold of the bus?
He put on the SMALL case (that had just the bare essentials for one day, in case the main one got lost) and left me to struggle with the 27kg one myself. Cheers, mate!
"We are now cruising at an altitude of 10000feet. We hope you enjoy your flight with Turkish Airlines."
I settled back in my seat and waited for the hostess to arrive with my meal. The fella sitting beside me seemed to be a little bit nervous. Suddenly I heard a faint "Beep, beep, beep" which seemed to be coming from the plane under our seats! My co-passenger bolted upright in fright.
"Did you hear that?" he asked.
It had stopped but we bent over in our seats, straining our ears.
"Beep, beep, beep." There it was again.
The hostess was standing beside us wondering what on earth we were doing.
"Excuse me, there seems to be a noise coming from the plane."
See, even in a crisis I am very polite!
"I hear nothing," she said.
"Wait a minute. It will come back."
Sure enough "Beep, beep, beep."
"Hmm. I do not know what this is," was her reassuring reply.
"Can you tell someone in charge?" gulped my new partner in crime.
She called another hostess.
"I hear nothing", she said.
""Wait a minute", we chorused in unison.
Beep, beep, beep.
"I think this is not a problem."
I think it is! Can you continue giving out the dinners, after you have told someone who is a little more technically minded???
The head hostess arrived.
"Is there a problem?"
Not according to Debbie Dingle here!
She got down on her hunkers and cocked an ear.
"I hear nothing."
"WAIT A MINUTE!" we chorused in unison.
Beep, beep, beep.
"Ok. I will tell someone."
Off she disappeared into the cockpit.
My fellow traveller turned to me and said,
"I have never heard this on a plane before. Have you?"
I had to admit I hadn't. We were sitting in the centre of the plane and all I could think was it was coming from where the wheels emerge. Either the wheels hadn't gone up or they weren't going to come down! But then again I'm no expert on the anatomy of an aircraft!
Smiley hostess returned.
"The captain says that everything is alright. It is the air-conditioning."
Okayyyyy. But then why have we never heard it before. I am a frequent flyer.
"But the noise is very annoying", said my colleague.
"Would you like to be moved?" she asked.
"YES", we chorused in unison.
I thought we would be upgraded to First class but no such luck. She tried to find a place for us in good old steerage class, but it was full. We stayed put.
Thinking about it, if the plane was going to crash we had a better chance of survival nearer the back of the plane than up in First class! You never hear of a plane reversing into a mountain.
What could I do but put in my earphones and blot out the sound. It wasn't as if I could do anything about it.
The only time I got a bit nervous was when the captain announced that we were about to descend for landing.
"Well, let's see if I was right about it coming from the wheel carriage?"
I was wrong! The wheels groaned and clunked into place and we had a perfect landing!
I guess the captain did know what he was talking about.