Monthly Archives: July 2009


I’ve lived in my humble top floor flat in St Margarets, on the border between Richmond and Twickenham, for five years next month. It’s the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere except for the house I grew up in, and it’s certainly the best place I’ve ever lived, if you excuse the crushing heat in the summer (which, considering the average British summer, can last anywhere from one day to eight weeks, so it’s not really that big a deal in the grand scheme of things, even though I whinge).

My flat is on the Heathrow Airport flight path. A plane flies over my house every one minute and 48 seconds. They fly until around midnight (I’m fairly certain they should stop at eleven, but they don’t seem to) and then resume at around four in the morning (I’m fairly certain they should start at six, but they don’t seem to). I’ve lived here for so long I don’t even hear them any more; they make my walls rumble and my windows rattle, but I’ve learned to filter them out.

I can’t stop looking at them, though. I have a skylight in the my kitchen and barely a day goes by where I don’t stop what I’m doing to gaze up at a 747, often wondering if the passengers are looking down at me (which can be disconcerting if I’ve just stepped out of the shower). I’ll lie in bed and watch the planes fly out of the distance, one after the after, keeping to their one-minute-and-48-second timeframe so perfectly it’s almost hypnotic – you can see the lights blinking on a new plane on the horizon just as one sails overhead. And when I’m watching TV I find myself staring past the screen at the big window in my living room, watching planes soaring this way and that, their routes changing slightly according to which system they’re following in any given week.

A few nights ago we had the most terrific thunderstorm I’ve seen in years: three hours long, centred directly above my house, with so much flashing lightning I turned off all the lights and could still see perfectly at least half the time. It was faintly apocalyptic but also beautiful, even if I did have a bit of a panic and unplugged all my electrical items in case I got smited (my friend’s house was hit by lightning last year and he lost a lot of expensive stuff, so I wasn’t taking any chances).

At precisely 9.35pm I was watching a plane flying towards my house through a squall of rain and thinking to myself, “Blimey, I wouldn’t like to be on that plane right now.” And then, almost two seconds later, I watched a tremendous burst of forked lightning dart across the sky, leaping from cloud to cloud until it hit the plane.


Of course the plane was okay: I’ve had many conversations over the years with people who don’t like flying who are convinced that a lightning strike will mean instant death to all aboard, and now I can actually say to them, “I’ve seen a plane/lightning interface with my own eyes and the plane didn’t even shudder!” And, as I said, IT WAS THE COOLEST THING I’VE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE.

Sadly I didn’t take a photo and I wasn’t filming it, but after mentioning the incident to my friend Pet Shop Anny, she found this picture:


Which sort of sums up what I saw, only my lightning came from sideways-on, not above. And, I’m sure you’ll agree, if you’d seen something like this as well, it might have been THE COOLEST THING YOU’D EVER SEEN IN YOUR LIFE, too.

I don’t think I’m going to stop plane-gazing any time soon. Particularly during a storm. Planes rock my world, and I love being able to worship them every one minute and 48 seconds for the shiny, winged gods they really are. Keep watching the skies…



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Yet Another YouTube Sensation…

This time it’s a pleasing David and Goliath story.

Last year musician Dave Carroll made a journey with United Airlines. While he arrived at his destination in one piece, his hugely expensive Taylor guitar didn’t. After a lengthy and ultimately fruitless attempt to get United to cough up some compensation, he decided to record this song about the experience – the catchily titled ‘United Breaks Guitars’ – and to record a video.

Here is the result:

This video was posted on July 6th. That’s six days ago. As I write this, it’s had an astonishing TWO MILLION views.

It’s a catchy tune, and he seems like a nice chap, and apparently United have said they’ll look into his claim and might even use the video for training purposes. Until then, let’s see if you can watch the whole thing without it sticking in your head so firmly you’ll find yourself humming it the next time you’re on a plane. Or in the shower. Whatever.

Remember: United breaks guitars. Take a car.


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Spoiler Alert! (Sort of)

This video sums up so much of my life over the past 20 years, it’s not so much fiction as fact.

And I laughed so hard I nearly spoiled myself.


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Random Post Is Random

It’s been just over five weeks since my car accident and two days ago I got a clean bill of health from a medical professional. I still have an achey back, and the insurance company have organised physiotherapy sessions to make it better, but with any luck I’ll be right as rain in a few months.


To celebrate, I’ve been watching this video and dancing along – apologies if you’ve seen it already (it’s been viewed 22 million times, so I’d be surprised if you hadn’t) but hey, it’s always worth another watch…

I saw the new Harry Potter movie on Friday. Half-Blood Prince isn’t the best book in the series by a long way and, in the same vein, the film isn’t the best film in the franchise either. But it’s got its charms and it’s very, very funny – kudos to Rupert Grint for selling his love potion affliction so brilliantly! But, like the book, bugger all happens until the end, where things get rather dramatic. I’m not sure the film manages to pull of the drama quite where it’s needed, but it didn’t fumble it either, so it’ll… do, I suppose.

And there’s SO MUCH SNAPE. I was a very happy Snape fangirl in that cinema, I can tell you, as my companions will no doubt confirm, because there was a lot of squeaking coming from my direction every time Alan Rickman said a line. How does he do it? How can any actor manage to say two words and make me fall on the floor in tucks of laughter? And oh, the things that man can do with the swirl of a robe…

Finally, because I haven’t posted any Obama-love recently, have two awesome photos of him I stumbled across last night:

Obama in 3D

Obama taking a stroll

I’ll bet he doesn’t fiddle his expenses like every British politician under the sun is doing at the moment. But then again, why would the White House need a moat, anyway?


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