“There are only two emotions in a plane: boredom and terror.”

For those of you who have wondered why I have been uncharacteristically quiet this week, I will proffer a small explanation. No, no one got to me with the duck tape, I went away with work. One thing became apparent during my week in Tenerife. No matter what embarrassing situation I was in or what stupid thing I was saying, there was always one thing that remained the same. I could guarantee someone (mentioning no names) would say “gonna blog about that, are you?” So it appears that even my colleagues know I’m a sad old git. As such, I am not going to blog about any of those ridiculous things and the reason why? Not because I look like a total moron and lousy drunk in most of the tales, but out of principle. I am more than happy to make myself look like an idiot if it will make people laugh, but I don’t want to suddenly seem predictable.

There is one thing that really bothered me during the trip and that was my flight. The last couple of flights I’ve taken have been with EasyJet – it hasn’t been a personal choice, it just happens that they are the only buggers that fly where I want to go! As they have taken me on my last 3 trips, I don’t know if this phenomenon that I experienced is a SleazyJet speciality or something that happens across the board. I shall endeavour to explain to you good tweeple what happened.

Our flight left Gatwick at 7am and I plugged my earphones in and tried my hardest to sleep for as long as possible before giving in to the boredom of the plane. I am not complaining about the flight in general; I mean sure, the orange seat covers were a little bright at 7am and it would have been nice if the seats tilted from the upright position, but beggars can’t be choosers. My biggest issue was ignoring the ludicrously chirpy colleagues scattered about the plane after all, they don’t deserve the pain of seeing me at 7am. The journey continued fairly much as normal. I didn’t buy a coffee for £8 or a box of crisps for £4. I did man up a little and brave it into the toilets, which was something I regretted fairly quickly.

Eventually, the seatbelt lights flashed back on and it was time to begin our descent. It was not a challenging landing; there were no gale force winds throwing us off course or gremlins dancing where the plane was due to land. We touched down in a fairly normal way. I didn’t recognise it as an especially smooth or special landing, which made the next event very curious. Over half the aircraft burst into cheers and were clapping heartily.

Where does one even begin with behaviour like that?! The captain was on the other side of a thick door, hopefully concentrating on more important things than his customers heaping adulation onto him. He wouldn’t have been able to hear or appreciate their praise. I thought this was quite odd, but perhaps people were just in high spirits because they had reached their holiday destination. Until I cast my mind back to my flights in and out of Montpellier in September and then back even further to Innsbruck in March. It seems that it is an EasyJet trend. Is flying with SleazyJet so high risk that you are, quite frankly, simply thankful to be alive at the end of it? If I had known this, I might have considered alternative transport; perhaps swimming or cycling my way there.

I am not saying that pilots have an easy job; they train very hard to do what they do, but they are also remunerated generously for that job. I am pretty sure that landing the plane safely falls well inside their job description and their remit. It isn’t an added extra. It’s not as though he said on the loudspeaker: “Good morning ladies and gentleman. Soon we’ll be touching down Tenerife South, but in the meantime, I’m going to treat you to a loop the loop. I’m not really meant to do it, but I thought it would be nice to welcome you in style.” If he carried that off, I would have applauded him. But he didn’t, he simply did what he was paid to do.

No one applauds me at the end of a day in the office. In fact, some days it is quite the opposite. Nobody congratulates me on shutting down my computer correctly and surely this is the same thing? Yes, I don’t kill hundreds of people if I don’t do it correctly, but I’m not trained or paid for that level of responsibility.

I would love to do some kind of test and find out if this phenomenon has spread to other carriers; I cannot imagine a British Airways flight landing from Schipol at 7pm on a Friday full of weary businessmen and women bursting into spontaneous applause. Why not? Because they are fully aware that the pilot is paid to fly AND LAND the plane. It is not an add on, it is not something we should be grateful for, it is something we should expect as normal.


“Take your canvas bags to the supermarket…”

Everyone sing along now; “take your canvas bags when you go to the supermarket”. Oh, just me? Don’t you know that one? Ok, well I’ll stop the hippy love-in sing along and get on with the task in hand.

I went to Budgens to get my lunch today, as I do every day, and bought all the things I buy, every day. One Muller light yogurt for tomorrow’s breakfast, check. One Plum Tomato and Basil New Covent Garden Soup, check. Two Cox’s apples, check. I went to the same till and was served by the same, weird socially inept boy. As I was paying, he asked me if I wanted a bag. I thought for a milisecond and replied “no, they drive me insane.”

Without a second thought, he said “oh, because they are so bad for the environment?”

Now at this point, I could have left the conversation with a scrap of dignity. Instead, I chose to do the Bryony thing of digging a hole and jumping head first in. “Phh, middle class guilt” I mock, before saying “my desk drawer is full of Budgens bags. It’s driving me insane.”

There are a couple of things wrong with this conversation. Firstly and most importantly, I think, my desk drawer is not full of Budgens bags. What on earth possessed me to say it was? I think I thought it would be entertaining, but I didn’t allow myself long enough to work it out in my head. My second issue with my response is that no matter how much I bash the Daily Mail and the Express, I do think that by my parentage, I am unmistakably middle class.

Now is that what I really think? Am I really a heartless, uncaring bastard who throws life away without a second thought? I hope not. I get a little bit wound up when people say “I would recycle, but my efforts alone are worthless” or something to that effect. If we all think that, then nothing would ever change. Having said that, I’m not as good as I could be. Typical of the casual lunch-time shopper, I forget to take canvas (or other bags) with me when I buy my lunch. The problem is, there are so many things that we have to remember in life and this one isn’t one that pains me enough to remind me to change my lifestyle.

I have no idea what the size of my carbon footprint is, but in the modern age it seems so hard to change that. I make an effort to unplug my phone charger when I’m not using it and I turn my laptop off. Thing is, I can’t see that that makes a huge difference. I work for a company that employs over 5000 people and we don’t even recycle our paper. I worked for Tesco and we lectured our customers to recycle when we threw away reams and reams of plastic. The big fat cats need to take some responsibility as well as us. I’m more than happy to try my best, but my efforts are nothing compared to them.

Alone, our attempts are futile, but perhaps it’s time to remember that we aren’t alone. We are all taking a small step to change the world and as such, we are together. We are making a difference. So next time, don’t be like me and use that excuse as thinly veiled disguise for your laziness.

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice.

Well here we are, just three hundred and sixty five days after I began this blog. It may be a new year, but I don’t want to fall out of the habit of blogging. So here I am, on the brink of going back to work, thinking I should get back to writing before I’m too busy being a grown up once again.

So, what do I want to get out of 2011? Everyone keeps asking me about my bloody resolutions and I just can’t be bothered with them. It’ll only be something I fail to do later in the year. Having said that, there are always things I want to change. I need to go on my usual post Christmas diet, which is really dull and so I won’t bore you with the details. I need to start running again, afterall, I’m doing the Rat Race Soldier Challenge at the end of March and that will require a certain level of fitness. I did a Green Belter last June and I’m hoping that the Soldier Challenge will have more soldier-y men and slightly less excersion. I think that that is a great reason to do something. These aren’t really resolutions, just ongoing internal conversations I have with myself.

If I sat down at the beginning of each year and listed what I wanted to achieve, I would only end up disappointing myself. The minute you set yourself these silly expectations, you don’t go a day without letting yourself down. It’s much better to consider everything you have done, which you weren’t planning/thinking you’d be able to do, as a bonus. You can’t say things like “this year, I am going to get a promotion” because it is outside your control. Of course, you can try and increase the probability of one of those things happening by working towards it, but don’t set your sights on it. You will inevitably get disappointed. I know that fate is a pretty flawed notion, but there is no point worrying about things, they will happen whenever they happen. There will be thousands of opportunities to do the things you want to do, you just need to have the sense to grab one and stick with it.

All in all, 2010 hasn’t been a bad year. Sure, it’s had it’s fair share of rough moments, but it’s also had some really lovely moments. I’ve spent a good deal of the year being really selfish, doing all the things I love. Comedy. Horses. Comedy. Horses. And a few other bits too. I’ve had some brilliant times along the way with friends, both new and old. Those two passions send me all around the country and they aren’t something I want to lose. I plan to see and experience as much as I can, whilst I can. I don’t think it’ll be too difficult. My mum bought me a series of tickets for shows at the Swan for Christmas including Jimmy Carr and Ed Byrne. Plus, I know that my comedy loving friends won’t take no for an answer easily, so I suppose I ought to show willing and drag myself down to the Comedy Store every now and then. (That is how it is. I’m not delusional or anything.)

A colleague told me to put all the things I can change close to me and draw a line around them. Anything outside of that line is not worth worrying about because there is very little you can do about it. I laughed when she told me, but on closer inspection it does hold up. So here is a toast for 2011 and whatever the hell it will bring! I know that I’ll love the good and cherish the memories forever and the bad? Well, hopefully my delightful friends and family will help me to weather the storm.