How fast time flies? I never knew it could, not when I was a whole lot younger. I like to think of the early 1960s as the best time of my life.
It was exciting. New-ish job which gave me the chance to fly to Canada and other places. Spain, France, Germany, The Netherlands and odd spots inbetween.
1960 was my first trip to Canada. I will not go into detail, other than to say that the journey outbound was on a BOAC jet prop. Stopping at several places going north from London (Heathrow) Airport. Not sure of all the stops but I think Manchester was one and the West Coast of Scotland. This was at night, so seeing the darkness of England inbetween airports where lights twinkled like fairy grottos, was amazing for a first ever flying traveller.
Crossing the Atlantic Ocean was long- haul. Nothing could be seen in the dark, and in any case, we were flying at 35,000ft above sea level, only clouds below us.
Coming in for our first stop on the American Continent, to Quebec, was a sight that lives long in my memory. Just past dawn, city lights straddling a long bridge across a lake, was pretty, fairy-like, as the aircraft banked to turn and head for the runway.
Everyone was shifted from the aircraft, even those, like myself, who were travelling further on to Toronto. Passports were checked and we waited for about an hour before being ushered back on to the aircraft.
The next part of the journey was interesting. We were flying west so that dawn came slowly. We had dropped height and dark shadowy forests, open pastureland and bushes could be seen, wreathed in eerie white mists. It was Fall, after all.
The sun chased us as the time went on.
I must point out that, being a staff member, and the aircraft being pretty full, I had secured a seat in First Class. This enabled me to enjoy a la carte meals, any alcohol I desired, for free, and was introduced to real caviar. I grew to like caviar, though I have never had the real stuff since, even though I again travelled first class on subsequent visits across the Pond.
During that last stretch to Toronto, we went through several bouts of turbulence. Trying to drink a cup of tea whilst dropping several feet (at least, that is the way it seemed), is not the easiest task in the world and cups were replenished more than once, to allow for the spillage.
If an aircraft was full and there was room in first class, then staff members were allowed in free seats, seniority first. I do not know if it is the same today.
So, as my first flight choice on the Saturday was full, and I was lowly in the scheme of things, I had to go on the Sunday instead. This meant that my friends had no idea I would be 24 hours late in arriving.
They had the nouse to check up with the Toronto Airport and luckily, were there to greet me. Boy, was I grateful.
Evelyn Steward. 21st May. 2014