(i'm at the back with my sister, nieces, daughter, ma in law and husband's niece after we'd been to see mama mia)
when i flew back here last week i sat in between two other women. one was the lady who was bumped with moi from our flight to toronto.
so whether we liked it or not we were on this journey together.
i don't think we would have picked each other as seat mates under any other circumstances but we made the most of it.
she was friendly, but just not my cup of tea exactly.
despite being thrown together and having our frustrating travel experience in common, which could easily have been the beginning of a beautiful friendship, the minute she told me that she had once attended clown school i knew our relationship was dead in the water.
the occupant of the window seat to my left was also a middle aged woman travelling alone.
we were quite the combination now that i think about it.
this lady told us she'd been on a cultural trip to england, seeing plays, operas and other such highbrow stuff and had fine dined her way around the south of england.
i'd been visiting friends and family in the north east of england and the closest thing to a cultural experience i'd had was seeing 'mama mia' with a bunch of women after a chinese all -you-can-eat buffet.
oh yeah, and i'd also eaten giant fish and chips in a sea-side restaurant.
i didn't think we had very much in common.
during the flight the madwoman with the horrible children in the seat behind us was hissing and snarling at her kids for the better part of seven hours.
my cultured seatmate turned around to speak to them.
'i have on my earphones' she said by way of introducing herself 'and i still cannot hear this movie for the noise you and your children are making. now, be quiet!' she ordered.
there was a deafening silence for all of about 10 seconds.
wow, no messing about.
impressive and right to the point.
i was somewhat in awe of her, she was assertive but without the least bit of self-doubt. she was in control and they'd better know it.
i knew that we were in good hands.
if the pilot got into trouble half way across the atlantic this woman would be able to take charge, no problem.
when i had to get up and go to the bathroom i asked if she might want to go at the same time.
it's such a pain climbing in and out of seats and over other people, and vice versa.
she agreed and we went to the back of the plane where the smell got louder as we approached.
i waited for her so we could return to our seats at the same time.
she took an awfully long time.
a line up had formed as i waited and still she didn't come out.
i began to wonder, and started to feel slightly uneasy.........
but at last she emerged and we went back to our seats.
after buckling up she turned to me to explain why she had taken so long.
she had taken it on herself to clean the washroom!
i'm not kiddng.
she said it was very dirty.
(it was in fact, filthy, smelly and quite messy, i had to agree.)
so, she explained further, she'd just rolled up her sleeves and wiped it all down with paper towels.
sink, counter and toilet seat!!
she'd used another piece of paper towel to pick up all of the stray pieces of paper towel and toilet paper that were lying around the floor.
then she'd taken off her shoe and used it to press down the contents of the bin so that it wouldn't overflow again.
after that she'd wiped off the mirror and flushed the toilet a few times to 'rinse the bowl.'
i was absolutely gobsmacked.
who? in their right mind would voluntarily clean an airplane toilet after literally dozens of people had used and abused it?
i still can't get my head round it....
i'm sure even the poor saps who get paid to do it when the plane lands, do it begrudgingly, while muttering oaths under their breath about disgusting people who fly on planes.
you couldn't pay me enough.