Back in the old routine
10 November 1987 British Airways 5662 Birmingham to
10 November 1987 British Airways 950 Glasgow to Birmingham
After a short while back at work after the African
adventure, disaster struck. The Edinburgh project which had
launched my flying career had run into problems. Despite keeping
my head down, and denying all knowledge of it, and encouraging
my colleagues to do the same, it reared its ugly head. The
manager of the Edinburgh office I mentioned before requested me
to come to Edinburgh and sort out a new problem they had just
encountered as they moved onto a new phase of the project.
No way, I insisted. So he spoke to my manager, who was
equally supportive of me. So he spoke to his manager and then to
the director. The Scottish manager did not care that I had other
work to do. He did not care that I was preparing for further
projects: all he wanted was my assistance. There seemed no way
out. Broken, I went home and prepared for the journey to
Scotland the following morning. I could not eat: I broke down.
My wife had cooked home-made hamburgers that night, and it was a
long time before she could be persuaded to do so again.
The following morning, I rose and caught the flight to
Edinburgh. The breakfast was left almost completely uneaten, and
it was with great reluctance that I went to the Edinburgh
office. All my colleagues there who were at my level knew my
distress, and were as kind as they could be. Their manager
didn't even seem to notice. If he did notice, he didn't care.
The problem that I needed to solve, it turned out, was not
connected with the main body of the project, but with the single
feature I understood fully. They should have understood it fully
too, and if only they had read the manual rather than panicking,
then I wouldn't have had a wasted trip and been close to nervous
breakdown again. After I had put them right, it seemed a much
brighter day. I was even a hero there, but there was a long time
to wait for the evening flight.
Instead, one of their junior officers took me along the
motorway to Glasgow, where I picked up an early afternoon flight
to Birmingham. The fare and the distance are the same, but I was
home hours earlier.
Some said I should have arranged to spend the night in
Scotland, but I wasn't prepared to do this. I had an important
church meeting in Birmingham that evening and didn't see why I
should inconvenience myself for that manager's benefit.
11 November 1987 British Airways 5650 Birmingham to Glasgow
The following morning, another early start, as I returned
to Glasgow to deliver a course to one of our customers. It was a
successful and enjoyable course of three days duration, with a
few exciting moments politically in the middle. At the
conclusion of the course, my wife joined me in Glasgow as we
travelled by rail to visit some relatives nearby. The weekend
ended and we travelled by rail back to Birmingham. It still
comes as a shock what a long way it is. Even though I have
travelled quite a distance by rail, I doubt if it reaches
twenty-six thousand and seventeen miles, the distance I flew in