Concorde. The beast that hung in the sky, glinting metal and defying earthly shackles with its supersonic pace. I never got to fly on Concorde although I was close to it several times at Farnborough Air Show where the aircraft took off and landed metres away. You could weep with its beauty.
As a young lawyer at Clifford Chance, occasionally you’d see Concorde tickets on a partner’s desk. There were rumours of clients staying ahead of the sunset by travelling with Concorde’s unique speed.
At home, when the sky started roaring, the children and I ran outdoors into our Clapham garden, tilting our heads upwards looking for the majestic bird travelling at 1350 mph, more than twice the speed of sound. We played a game of who could see it first. The trick was to look ahead of its noise, about 35 degrees to the right, to spot it. Concorde arced over London in its trail blaze to Heathrow. I bet all over the capital there were families like us awed by its phenomenon.
While working at Airbus in Toulouse, France I had the incredible honour of meeting leading test pilot Brian Trubshaw, CBE, MVO (29 January 1924 – 25 March 2001). Brian was the first British pilot to fly Concorde, in April 1969. A humble and lovely man.
Here are the Brunch, wine and bar menus from Concorde. Which would you choose?
Click on the images to enlarge them. Happy dreaming. 🙂
I took the redundant kitchen shelves and empty cupboards to the dump.
“Which container for wood, please?” Winding down the car window to the rain and summer ending air.
“Number five.” Said the skinny guy who always helps me with heavy stuff.
“Thank you.” Smiling.
Metal gapped stairs reached the container’s lip. Lugging the shabby shelves, it was a ten-step climb to the pulpit of refuse. I looked over the edge and into the container, empty and huge. A few random planks of wood dropped across the bottom did not disturb its frightening eeriness. The thick steel walls smelled impenetrable. They sank downwards twelve feet or so. This was a lidless trap. If you were in it your plight would be hopeless, like a spider in a bath. I gasped, grasped by clinging images of girls in frilly dresses facedown in the sand, young boys in trousers and tee shirts, dead eyes directed to the stars, lying in white wave froth. Just two dead people. Seventy-one had been trapped in a container like this except it had a lid. Knowing their breaths were their last, having only the comfort of humanity’s love for each other in the closeness of dark. Sitting, dying ducks. I gagged on pain not mine to endure. Those poor, poor people, all dead for evermore.
I threw my shelves in. They fell to the bottom cracking their backs, still flat. Descending to ground, I saw the nice guy dismantling a cupboard for me. Choked up by the wasted life I mistook his kindness for kindred spirit,
“It’s so awful” I said, “looking over the edge and thinking of all those refugees trapped inside.”
“They paid for it.” He said, as if they had chosen death.