Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Flying scares mum. What scares you?

As well as boating and sharks, one of mum’s big fears is flying (is there anything she’s NOT frightened of, I wonder?). It’s not a phobia. Just a fear. It doesn’t rule her life or anything. Do you have a fear of something?

Despite her fear, mum’s finally agreed to go to the UK in Uncle Hugh’s new flying van, and they go this Sunday for three days with his friend ‘le Fred’, so I’ll be staying with James & Jane at the kennels, which’ll be fab.

Uncle Hugh’s flying van is a bit bigger than his flying car, but it’s still not got a loo or those nice ladies who sell stuff and make drinks. It’s still REALLY small at the side of those big flying buses that mum normally goes on. She’s only going with him to save money ‘cause she’s got some things to do in the UK and Uncle Hugh was going anyway, so she’s kind of hitching a lift.

Mum’s worried about it not having a loo. Mum says she’s not sure she can go for nearly four hours without peeing. Uncle Hugh says she’ll simply not have to drink, or as le Fred says “pah der bwa pah der peepee”, which I think means “no drink, no pee”. I’m sure mum can hold on for four hours – it’s not long is it? I sometimes think it’s all in her head. Uncle Hugh said she could always use a She Wee and an empty bottle. I’ve no idea what a She Wee is, but it prompted mum to tell Uncle Hugh to “Bollocks!”

She doesn’t let other folk know she’s afraid, she’ll say, “I’m not particularly frightened of flying. I just don’t like it that much. It’s boring and something I’d rather not have to do but I wouldn’t allow my dislike of it to curtail my enjoyment of life, or stop me from travelling. It doesn’t terrify me.”

Rubbish! Sometimes it does terrify her, but she doesn’t like to admit it because she says that whenever she thinks of someone who’s scared of flying she has an image of a little old lady or little old man who’s never been anywhere further than the local village shop and who still points at aeroplanes when they see them up in the sky and say stuff like “It’s not natural. If we were meant to fly, we’d have been born with wings”. Mum doesn’t want folk to think she’s unsophisticated or simple, even though she is – simple anyway. Trust me, mum’s not a complex character. Not at all.

One of mum’s problems is the little bit of knowledge that she has about flying – she blames that on Uncle Hugh telling her stuff. Then there’s her verdant imagination – that’s actually the biggest problem. Whenever she’s up there in the sky in those big lumps of metal, filled to the brim with people, baggage and very combustible fuel she always has visions of the wings being ripped off by huge turbulence and the craft plummeting to the ground in a ball of flame – people screaming and flying around the cabin like flotsam as they fall thousands of feet to their deaths.

Also, she’s a frequent flier and she reckons that the more she flies the more chance she has of experiencing a bad flight. Most of her friends have their own horror story of the flight from hell - from seriously bad turbulence to the undercarriage not coming down. She even knows someone who remotely knows someone who was on that BA flying bus from Beijing that time, the one that crash-landed at Heathrow. Everyone but her, it seems, has a bad tale to tell so she’s simply waiting for hers to happen.

Mum actually prefers long-haul flying to short trips because she says that the most dangerous bits are the taking off and the landing – so with short trips she’s in a virtually constant state of worry and stress. At least with long haul she can relax in between and get topped up with champers until she’s virtually comatose and couldn’t give a damn by the time it does comes to land.

I’m dead relaxed about flying and so is Uncle Hugh. He says the science of flight simply follows the law of physics and that it’s the most natural thing in the world, he says it’s not unnatural at all. He says aeroplanes are simply doing what they are built to do, just like cars. Mum says that if her car breaks down she can simply pull up by the side of the road and ring the AA. I guess she’s got a point.

What’s your fear? I don’t really have one.

Here’s a very short clip of a little dog that went flying with his owners in their little flying car. Trouble is, they forgot to strap him in, and then decided to do some aerobatics. Said dog wasn’t harmed in any way, honest. Just a bit dizzy. A very similar thing happened to me once in Uncle Hugh's flying car when he topped out too abruptly after climbing, and we experienced what he called zerogee for a few seconds. I floated and so did all the dust and maps in the cockpit. It was quite cool. Uncle Hugh now straps me in.


lady jicky said...

Hi Boyfriend. Tell your Mum to not be scared to fly. I flew down here and I now have a better life!
My Mum is scared at the moment because of my brother Oscar is not very well. He went to the Vet today and he has cancer throughout his lymph glands and a enlarged liver and spleen. Its not looking good for Oscar but he is home with us and we do not know how long he has but we are doing everything as normal. Mum did not want to put Oscar through chemo.
So tell your Mum that life is short and take all the oppitunites she can - fear as Lee would say, is all in the mind.
I am a little sad today boyfriend but I send you Kisses all the same.

LadyFi said...

OMG - that clip is hilarious! Looks like the dog was on a space flight or something!

Tell Mum that she has more chances of being run over on the street than of anything happening up in the air when flying... On second thoughts, perhaps you'd better not tell her that!

I don't like flying anymore, but I used to.

I'm scared of wasps and bees, and of heights.

Henry the Dog said...

Oh Rosie - what can I say? Nothing that will help, other than my thoughts are with you - from the other side of the world I am honestly thinking of you both, and your poor mum. You're right, life is simply too short. Bisousxx :(
Please keep me posted. xxxx

Henry the Dog said...

Lady Fi - Lady Fi - Uncle Hugh has told her that the odds of her dying in a normal car crash are 1 in 5000, whereas the odds of dying in a flying car crash are 1 in 10,000,000. I don't think logic has anything to do with it. Nothings gonna stop her from being scared. It doesn't stop her flying. She's been all over, including NZ twice and Australia. She just grits her teeth and gets on with it - with the help of the champers of course:) PS: mum HATES wasps, but she doesn't mind bees

Jennysmith said...

Its amazing, H the D, how commonplace a fear of flying is. My mate has come over from Spain for xmas and she took the train - she would rather have gone through a 24 hour rail journey than do a relatively short flight.

But then my sister-in-law was scared of flying for years and then "took the plunge" to Venice and has never looked back and flies wherever she can.

Going to root for you and hope that happens for your mum xxxx

Braja said...

Henry...I didn't know you had a girlfriend named Rosie, you sly young pup :)

I don't know what's up with the video but it says it's not available...might be on my end, it being flippin' India and all..

As for flying, I hate it and the longer in the air the worse it is for me. I love landing and figure if anything happens then at least we won't CRASH!! And help is nearby!! ha!!

Lee said...

I'll stick to the flying buses if it is OK with Hugh.

J Cosmo Newbery said...

Did you try a somersault?

Henry the Dog said...

Jennysmith - my mum must fly at least ten times a year - probably more. It's no good. I think she's actually got worse as she's got older - like Lady Fi. Also, she often wonders if it's genetic - her own dad was scared of flying.

Braja - we've been going steady for quite some time. It's one of those long distance ones;) She's a cute pug. Pity you can't get the vid, it is REALLY funny:) Mums only happy once the wheels touch down too. Then she acts all nonchalant as if it's not bothered her one jot, when inside she's screaming "YES! YES! YES!"

Lee - :)

J Cosmo - no - it was weird, I just levitated - hovering off the seat for a second or two. Honest, it were dead cool;)

Ruby Isabella said...

A flying dog! Brilliant! Like being in space. I used to be a bit scared of the vacuum cleaner but now I am used to it. Huskies are a little scary sometimes. I agree with Lady Fi, cars are more dangerous. But this is not reassuring.

Henry the Dog said...

Ruby - flying is fun, but mum doesn't like Uncle Hugh to take me, so he tends to do it when she's away. Yes, cars ARE dangerous and NO that isn't reassuring 'cause I travel a lot. I used to attack the sucking vacuum thing when I was a pup. I guess the only thing I'm really a bit scared of is the black cat next door:)

meryl's musings said...

Loved the video. If I were that dog, I would have given the pilot a big slurp to scare him, though. Enjoy your weekend vacation. :) KC

Irish Gumbo said...

Flying machines? Pshaw! Next you'll be telling me there are magical devices called, I don't know, "telephones" and "computers" that let people talk and send pictures around the world in an instant! HA! What a load of rubb---

Oh, never mind.

Henry, if I am not mistaken, the She Wee is a device (for females, hence 'She') that allows the ladies to, shall we say, 'shake the dew off the lily' when on long trips away from proper sanitary facilities. There is an equivalent device for males, sometimes known as the "Motorman's Friend", which is used by long distance truckers, race car drivers and the like.

I have not used one of those devices, but I imagine they are quite nice compared to the soda bottle and mayo jar I was once obliged to use on a long trip, back in my youth. Not easy, especially at high speed on a less than smooth road, I'll tell you!

Diane said...

I'm not afraid of a lot but when I was young, my aunt told me about a woman who used the bathroom on a plane and while she was sitting on the toilet, the plane hit an air pocket and vacuum-sealed her to it (my aunt used to lie/tease a lot). I never forgot it and I was terrified for a long time to use the toilet on a plane. I still don't like to (not because I'm scared, but because they smell bad). I regularly fly from the US to the UK (an 8 hour flight) without peeing even once on the plane, so tell your mum she can definitely hold it for 4 hours -- I have faith in her!!

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Henry, can you clarify what you mean by Uncle Hugh's flying van? I thought you meant a campervan sort of thing, but do you actually mean something with two wings and a motor, if so, I'd be wanting more than strapping in! And I'd be suffering with the wee-phobia too - 4 hours sans a wee, it's just not naturel...

Tell your mum that I used to love flying, as I love travelling, but as a few years and short haul hols have passed, spent with my husband (Gibberjonathan) who was terrified of flying, and my teenage son, Grizzler, who learned a fear of flying from GJ, I am now horribly afeared from the minute we take off all through the flights.

I usually douse myself liberally (in the absence of champagne, how civilised!) with Bach's Rescue Remedy, which works for short hauls. However, it let me down last summer, when we flew to the Caribbean (oh yes!), and I spent the whole flight clinging to GJ, believing I was going to die immediately of DVT, (in spite of the socks, which were threatening to cut off my circulation), and listening to every ting and secret message passed between the cabin crew, like some 39 Steps type spy!

Of course, GJ is now a frequent flyer because of his work he travels to Nigeria and Atlanta and all sorts of interesting and dangerous places, and is much more grown up about such things.

Me, on the other hand... Perhaps he's just passed on his phobias to me?

Perhaps you can get your mum to pass on her flying phobia to the fearful black feline instead? It's worth a try!

Yours in sympathy,

Fhina x

Wild Creations said...

I'm scared of everything, but I don't let it stop me. I don't want any regrets later in life. :)

The video is great - wish I could have a go.

Stubby said...

My mom is scared to fly too! She does it, but she would rather not. And there is NO WAY Mom could go 4 hours without peeing. I just don't get it. Maybe it is a girl thing.
Your chances of being in a plane crash are 30% on takeoff, 10% in the air, and 60% on landing. That being said, even though the smallest chance of anything happening is while the plane is in the air, that is the part Mom hates the most. Go figure.
As for me, now that I am older, I am afraid of thunder. It hurts my ears and makes me cry. I can't believe I said that out loud! Mom and Dad think the thunder bothers me because now I have vestibular disease.

Henry the Dog said...

KC - I think it might have scared him a little knocking his headset off. Did you notice the dog's tail wagging? Or is that my imagination? I'll have a fab time at the kennels, I always do xx

Irish (Henry rolling about laughing) are sooo funny. When I finally stop laughing I'll respond to your comment......hee, hee, hee.

Diane - I am now laughing even more at the thought of that poor woman stuck to the loo. It obviously scarred you for life, bless:) I think mum will be fine for 4 hours. I once held mine for 36 when it wouldn't stop throwing it down with rain and I refused to go out (mum said I rolled on my back and refused to move whenever she tried to get me to go - I
don't like rain).

A Woman of NI - you'll get used to me. I call them plane things flying cars, vans or buses - depending on size 'cause to me all these machine things are the same, except that some go in the air and some go on the road. Uncle Hugh's passion is flying. So he does a lot of it in his little flying car and sometimes takes me when mum is away or not looking:) Yes - it would be good to see a 'scaredy cat' in the plane. That could make a mess. I think if mum could do something about her fear, she would. Instead, she just lives with it.

Wild Creations - that makes you very brave sweetie. Those who are scared but still do stuff are the brave ones - real bravery that.

Stubby - you can throw statistics to my mum all you like - about it being safer to fly than drive, etc, so I can fully understand you now being able to understand your mum. There's no logic to it is there? Also, there's nothing to be ashamed of, being afraid of thunder. LOTS of dogs I know are (PS: I'll have to look that vestibular thingy up, 'cause I don't know what it is).

French Fancy said...

sorry to arrive so late, Henry and then the first thing I wanted to say was to ladyjickey - is that alright? If she had her own blog (get a blog, ladyj) I could leave her a message -

I'm so upset to hear about little Oscar. Really upset. All dog-owners dread news like that and let's just hope that pain will be avoided.

Okay Henry, hope you didn't mind me using you as a message forum.

Flying in Uncle H's van would worry me to be honest. I don't get scared on planes but I don't like the idea of no loo. It's psychological really - if I know I can't go then of course I want to go. Cold weather also makes the bladder a bit more active I think. Fingers - and legs crossed - that she won't get the urge.

My UK trip next week is off now so I can just shut myself away in France.

(keep thinking about little Oscar now)

Henry the Dog said...

FFancy - Of course I don't mind you posting a message to Ladyjicky. It upset me and mum too. We'll be thinking of him.

As for the trip to the UK, mum's just this minute found out that they may be stopping off in Nantes on the way there to pick up le Fred's girlfriend, so she's keeping her fingers crossed and hoping that's the case - 'cause then she can have a pee stop. Isn't it cold today? Just shutting down now. Speak again soon. xxx

~Marie~ said...

Hope your mum has a safe trip!

I have a fear of small spaces, claustraphobia it's called. Sometimes people make fun of me for it, but it can actually be quite unnerving for me.

Peanut on the other hand dislikes fireworks, and thunder.

Alen4ik Litvinenko said...

Henry, I decided to dedicate a post to you and introduce you to my cutie... :) Just wanted to share her to the world.. please come and check out my post.. :)
check it out at:

Henry the Dog said...

Marie - I think mum's a bit like that too - the small space thing. As for peanut - lots of dogs are scared of loud noises - my other pal, Stubby, is too. I don't mind them, but I think that's because I was brought up spending my time in mum's office that was based on an airfield, and there used to be big noisy flying buses and stuff all the time.

Alen - will pop over RIGHT now xxx

Lisa said...

I used to be afraid of flying, but now I'm just used to it and don't think about it. I don't like small planes, actually, and avoid them when I can.

I am terrified of heights, though.

Henry the Dog said...

Lisa - I find it quite amazing that so many people who don't mind flying actually hate heights. Also, mum doesn't seem to be getting used to it. She must have flown, literally, hundreds of times. I think she's getting worse, and that isn't supposed to happen, is it? But then, mum's a tad strange:)