Thursday, January 15, 2009

Houston, we have a problem.

Houston, we have a problem” - the very famous transmission from Mr Lovell on Apollo 13. So famous, even us dogs use it. Mum says that when she was flying back to France over the English Channel at 14,000 feet in Uncle Hugh’s flying car, and the engine stopped, she suddenly understood how Mr Lovell and his pals must have felt.

Honestly, she is a right drama queen sometimes. Agreed, it must have been a tad scary, especially for someone who’s afraid of flying, but the Apollo 13 guys were floating around in space. Even at 14,000 feet, which is fairly high, Mum, Uncle Hugh, 'le Fred' and his girlfriend were much closer to the ground. True, they no longer had any power, but they were much closer to the ground. Saying that, I suppose it could be a bad thing – being in a flying car that no longer had a working engine and being close to the ground. Bummer! Better to be floating in space, I guess.

Anyway, I’m digressing. Mum said that after the engine stopped and Uncle Hugh got on the radio and said “Jersey Tower we are a Cessna 210 with complete engine failure. Request emergency landing” she said she thought “Oh dear!” (Actually, what she REALLY said she thought is totally unprintable – I didn’t even know words like that existed). Then she said that she felt like screaming and crying hysterically, but decided that shouting “WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE! WE’RE GOING TO CRASH AND BURN!” wouldn’t have brought anything to the table whilst Uncle Hugh was calmly trying to sort out the vectors with Jersey Tower. Instead, she decided to remain very still and say nothing. And that’s what she did – remained very, very still. Petrified – I think that was one of the words she used when she was telling her English friend, Amanda – along with some other rather rude ones.

Mum said that pilots are trained to do emergency landings and I’ve heard Uncle Hugh talking about glide slopes, rates of descent, high and fast approaches and stuff like that. However, mum says that it’s not really the same because in training if they get it a bit wrong, they can put the power back on, fly back off and have another go. Apparently all these thoughts were rolling around her head as they were doing a spiral descent over the little island of Jersey.

She said that she’d heard of people having their life pass before their eyes when they’re in a life-threatening situation. Not her. All she could think about at one point was that she’d wished she’d had the chocolate cheesecake and that second bottle of champagne the previous night, instead of being good and saying “No”.

Luckily, ‘le Fred’ is a super pilot and professional instructor with over 10,000 hours experience and Uncle Hugh has a brilliant brain and can do mental arithmetic dead fast, so together they saved everyone’s life, which is a good thing. They got the glide slope, the speed and their calculations just right and landed without a hitch. Mum didn’t see any of it ‘cause she had her eyes closed. She even closes her eyes when she’s landing in a plane that works. She said when she finally did open her eyes she couldn’t believe it.

There were about ten thousand huge fire engines, a thousand ambulances and an enormous crowd of people on the viewing gallery. The firemen looked terribly miffed, actually. Their hoses were literally dripping with anticipation. The poor guys practice all their working lives for a serious ‘crash and burn’ and they rarely get one. I felt almost guilty that we weren’t even smoking. Saying that, if we’d had even a hint of smoke, we would have been drenched. They were chomping at the bit.”

The incident closed the whole of Jersey Airport for about half an hour.
You can actually read about it here. But it's not very exciting. Mum said that the local BBC TV people turned up but Uncle Hugh wouldn’t give an interview. He’s very private, like mum – she’ll never be a Victoria Beckham. She smiles too much and she doesn’t like attention. She said that she supposed it would have been quite exciting for the Island’s media, considering that not much goes on in Jersey. The last time she was there, “Lucky the black cat goes missing at St Brelade” was the headline in one of the local papers.

There you go – we may live in a sleepy, rural part of France but there’s always something happening with the folk in the ‘Henry’ household.

They got the plane mended. I can’t say what was wrong or whose fault it was because it might be investigated. But it’s fixed now. Some very nice men at Jersey Airport fixed it and made sure it couldn’t happen again. However, it took Uncle Hugh and 'le Fred' nearly two days to fly mum back home because she could only cope with VERY short hops – her nerves were all frazzled and frayed.

In the end, they had to ply her with copious amounts of alcohol otherwise – as Uncle Hugh said – “We wouldn’t have got back until February” That’s why I’m back later than I said I would be.

Mum’s a bit mad with Uncle Hugh ‘cause she thought they were going to go in his new flying van, which has got TWO engines. It was only when she’d turned up at the airfield that he’d told her they were going in the flying car. Mum had always told Uncle Hugh she wouldn’t go to the UK in the flying car but she didn’t want to let everyone down. Oh well. ‘Tis done. Life goes on.


The clip below is of me feeling good to be alive - having a good roll in the grass this afternoon and loving every minute of it (Yes, Lee – it is sweet and twee, but it is SHORT). It’s a ‘Henry’ thing. I sometimes do it next to mum when she’s doing her tummy crunches on the floor in the lounge. YES, MUM HAS FINALLY GOT A DIGI CAMERA. So something good came out of it.


Diane said...

Oh, Henry! Tell your mum that I'm not afraid to fly but I would have peed in the seat and said some unprintable words myself, had that happened to me.

And never worry... I'm sure there are loads of readers who would adopt you! I'd be at the top of the list. I think you and Sundance would get along beautifully. Though Ryan might expect you to sleep on her bed (Sundance sleeps on mine and it always peeves her off a bit).

Glad everyone's OK and you're not an orphan, though!! XO

Juliet Colors said...

Oh my! I'm so glad everyone is okay. What a scary experience!

Henry, you are so cute rolling in the grass! My cats like a good roll around too, but they have to settle for the rug since they don't get to go outside.

Henry the Dog said...

Diane - actually I've just added a link to BBC TV that reports the incident. You were too quick for me:) Actually, I think I'd love to live with you two. Mum NEVER lets me sleep on her bed:(

Juliet - as I said to Diane, I just added a link that reported it, in case some folk think I'm being a tad dramatic. I love a good roll. I do it on the rugs too. Usually when mum's doing her exercises. xxx

A Woman Of No Importance said...

That is just horrifying, Henry; That your mum came back at all by 'plane following such a drama is amazing. She is very brave and you must be such a good dog from now on so that nothing further jangles on her very tested nerves, bless her.

Good for Uncle Hugh and Le Fred for being such 'top-hole' pilots!

I would have had to have returned in a strait-jacket! Welcome back x

Irish Gumbo said...

Oh, lawd, Henry, that must have been a real tush-clencher! I came close to wetting myself just reading about it!

So good to have the both of you back, I was a wee bit worried. It's funny, I was watching the video at the same time I had 'Devil's Haircut' by Beck blasting on my iTunes. Oddly enough, the music and your antics seemed to mesh, and it made a great music video! sometimes, I feel like doing that, too. It looks like fun!

Oh, and tell Mum, I suspect she is better looking that Posh. She does crunches and she smiles more :)

lady jicky said...

OMG Henry !!! I love to fly but I tell you - I would have been just like your MUM! Stunned rabbit!
Tell Uncle Hugh and Le Fred to sell the planes and buy a boat - Mum doesn't get sea-sick does she??
I was so surprised with all the lovely kind thoughts of your blog readers. Thankyou for letting me add to your blog and I do expect my cheque is in the mail? LOL
Henry - if something should have happened I would have asked to put you in a crate to Australia and you could live with me and do your rolly dance on my lawn. I think it would have gotten rather "nasty" here with Everyone wanting YOU! LOL I hear lawyers??
Tell Mum to buy something sweet and yummy (she is in France - they do yummy so well) and eat the darn stuff all up! I hope Mum is calming down - it will take awhile I think.
Henry - what did you get upto on your spa holiday retreat? Any romances???? Come on - give! We want to know.

Blu said...

Oh my God........oh my God...Oh my God................aaaaaaaaahhh.

EEEEEEEEKKKK. can I open my eyes now...that was so scarey.......big hugs to you all XXXXXXXXXXX

fffffffffffffffflippin eck.

Lee said...

Henry! So glad your post contained good news and that it didn't involve a swing around the moon the way Apollo 13 did. I don't like 'flying cars' at all. Or my stomach doesn't. I am thrilled that your Mum and her friends were an enormous disappointment to the firemen of Jersey. (AND I did like the movie too, thanks for the 'guide' that went with it.)

J Cosmo Newbery said...

The problem's over-rated, Henry. No matter how high off the ground the plane is when the engine fails, it always has enough forward momentum to reach the crash scene.

I am glad everyone is OK.

Parisgirl said...

Henry, that sounds very, very scary and I would not be surprised if your Mum said she would never, ever, ever step toe inside a flying machine ever again. Well done Le Fred and Uncle Huge for having such big, quick brains.
As for the adoption: well La Fille wants you and if she cannot have you she wants a friend just like you. So far we have got by on imaginary dogs, now we have to come up with a real one. You wouldn't happen to be passing through Paris any time soon, would you? I promise to stop her pulling your tail.

Stubby said...

What a story Henry! Just as I was reading your post Mom turned on the tv to see that an airplane landed in the Hudson River in New York. We are watching the rescue right now. They say that birds flew into both engines and caused them to fail. Yikes! It wouldn't have mattered if the plane landed safely or not, Mom would have had a heart attack. You tell your mum that she is one brave cookie to not scream and yell in the face of danger.

I am glad that you are back at home safe. And how great it is your mum has a digi camera and that she is already taking cute videos of you? You look like you are loving life Henry.

I know that everyone has offered to take you in and I am no different. I would love to have a little brother to hang out with. Maybe we could all share you? A month here, a month there, etc. Let's just hope we never have to.

herhimnbryn said...

Oh henry!
Glad your Mum and Uncle Hugh are all back safe and sound. Hats off to Hugh for landing that flying car.

I liked your video and can understand the joy of a good 'scritch'. I scritch in the dust right now, as the grass has disappeared in all the heat.

ps glad you're not an orphan.


Parisgirl said...

Sorry, I fear I may have sounded a tad heartless in my comment. This what happens when you are beaten over the head by repeated requests from a small child who wants a dog. What I meant to say is that I'm glad you are not an orphan and that Mum and Huge and Le Fred survived to tell the hairy tale. Gawd, I hope your Mum is still speaking to me!

Frankie Furter said...

Welcome back Henry. Sorry that your mum had a bad time of it. Your blog was in very loving hands while you were on your "vacation". Even through her time of grief Lady J. did a wonderful job for you. I am certainly glad that you have grass to roll in. Mine is all covered over with snow.

Mickle in NZ said...

Oh Henry, your poor, dear Mum. Relieved all turned out okay. And look at how many want to adopt you anyway.

Hooray for the digi camera - I get to see you in action and hear your Mum's lovely voice.

Zeeby is currently enjoying life his way - stretched out on our bed purring contentedly coz he is safe, loved and has a full tum.

Keep warm, huggles

Lisa said...

I am still holding my breath. I'm glad that you mum and Uncle Hugh have survived that adventure.

Ruby Isabella said...

It looks like your Mum is right to be scaed of flying. That video is pur joy. I like to lie on my back and chew something when I'm feeling good. That looks like excellent soft grass.

detroit dog said...

Blu said everything I was thinking. That, and "I need a drink."

I am so happy you are all o.k., and that Henry is not an orphan.

detroit dog said...

Oh, I thought the link was to a story about the black cat gone missing!


Braja said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Braja said...

Ooops! I had Diane's window open and yours and did the wrong comment in your window!

Henry you adorable little critter I could just smother you with kisses!

When your mummy wrote to me and told me about the horrific details of the landing, I was of course very alarmed. I am glad she has you to give her a view of the lighter side of life, though I'm sure I would have been wanting to thump Uncle Hugh very bloody hard. Several times.

I love that are adorable...

Braja said...

Gee my comment karma is wreaking havoc, but...


Thousands of kisses you darling boy :)

Braja said...

Actually I just realized that was a little selfish to scream out 'YOU'RE ALL MINE!" like that...I just got so excited that you actually "asked" me; of course the answer is yes. But you seem to have a lot of "holiday mummys" here who want you too :)) I think a share system would be required. God forbid it ever came to that...

LadyFi said...

Oh Henry! What an adventure! I gasped, and I laughed, and I gasped...
It's no fun being in a plane with no engines, or with engines on fire, or when the plane suddenly drops hundreds of metres out of the sky (I nearly peed but didn't)... I have, on occasion, kissed the ground when emerging from such adventures. And several times we passengers have actually stood up and applauded when landing...

On the adoption note: a rota system is the ony way to go as we are so many who want a piece of you! You're just too adorable in that clip.

And thank goodness Uncle Hugh bought you a digi camera as some sort of compensation.

And please - tell your mum only to go flying in the plane with two engines next time!

LadyFi said...

Or maybe Uncle Hugh could buy a glider... they're actually planes without any engines... On second thoughts, perhaps a quick parachuting course would be better...

Henry the Dog said...

A woman of NI - I guess mum didn't have much choice - there was a big round-about way she could have gone on a big flying bus. Between you and me - she didn't want to leave Uncle Hugh - I think she'd rather they be together if anything happened. She'd have only worried even more if he'd gone off without her. And yes, I'm being VERY good - as usual:)

Irish - mum says she was pleased to discover that in a life threatening situation her bladder and other things remained in control - something she has always worried about - being a worrier of all things. I really wish I knew how to add soundtracks - something I will definitely look into:)

Lady Jicky - you did a great job with the comments whilst I was away and I was hoping you'd offer to have me if anything awful had happened but didn't want to say - being all too raw for you at the mo. Anyway, 'tis good to be back and I will tell you ALL about my holiday in my next post.

Blu - I think that's how mum was:) The clip from the Jersey BBC makes it sound so routine doesn't it? Mum said it was a tad fraught in the cockpit:)

Lee - 'tis funny, mum hates flying but she'd love to go into space. One of her dreams. She's a strange one my mum! Glad you liked me having a squirm. It's SOOOO good. You should give it a try;)

J Cosmo - love your humour - you always make mum and me smile with your comments. Yeah, I'm pleased everyone is ok.

Parisgirl - mum can't stop flying. She's going to Singapaw in February!! All booked and paid for. Seriously, she's determined not to let it sto her from travelling. As for me - I'd be the perfect dog for Paris. I'm small, stylish, I don't shed, I don't need daily hike to calm me down and I only do one poo a day - and a small one at that:) xxxx PS:I didn't think you sounded heartless at all. It's good to know that there are so many people who would want me if anything happened. It's reassuring for mum xx

Stubby - wasn't that crash landing super. Mum says that her fright was NOTHING at the side of how those guys must have felt. It's actually made her feel a bit better seeing all those people survive a crash landing in water (one of her biggest fears). And, I'm sure we'd make a great team, you and me:)

Herimandbryn - SCRITCH! I love that. Great word, and it describes it to a'T' x

Frankie - yes Lady J did a great job. Mum has emailed her. It was a very sad time for her wasn't it? Losing both her pals like that. We've had a bit of snow here, but at the moment it's frost.

Mickle - yes it's reassuring for mum seeing how many people would have me. One of her main fears when it was all happening was about me and who would look after me. And look out for more pics of me. Glad Zebby is all happy and content xxxxx

Lisa - so is mum - she's still pinching herself from time to time but after seeing that plane crash land in the US yesterday evening she feels as if her experience was nothing in comparison. It's so good to be back xxx

Ruby - good to see you again. Yes, the humans don't realise what they're missing do they? If they did they'd be doing it too - that would look funny xxxx

Detroit Dog - problem is, mum's drunk much more than normal since getting back and is now worrying about becoming 'alcohol dependent' whatever that is. I reckon she should give herself a break, enjoy the weekend and start afresh on Monday. You're right, it did sound as if the link was to do with the missing black cat, so I've edited it. It reads better now:)

Braja - yes I am ALL YOURS - if anything happened. Perhaps this rota thing someone mentioned would be a good idea - trouble is, you're all over the world - saying that - I'm not frightened of flying, not even after this episode. Yes, mum feels like thumping Uncle Hugh, but also loves him to bits for saving them all with le Fred. It's a love/hate thing at the mo:)xxxxxx

Lady Fi - I remember now, it was you mentioned the rota system. Good idea. Gosh, you've had bad experiences too? You have certainly done some interesting things with your life. Mum said she felt like kissing the ground too but there was a huge audience and her legs were all wobbly and she was shivering too much to do anything other than shuffle away from the plane as fast as she could. As for parachuting - mum would rather go down with the plane:) xxxx

Dumdad said...

Doggone, Henry, that was some adventure. I'm glad it all ended OK but it must be nice to know that if it hadn't there are plenty of people out here in the blogosphere who would have adopted you. Not chez Dumdad, though, because Scabby the cat would veto that.

French Fancy said...

What can I say! Drama or what! (yes, even though it's meant to be uncool to do ! any more I felt this blog post deserved it).

Your poor poor mum, Henry. Adventures like this are very aging and I'm not surprised she couldn't make it back very quickly. I've got to say that I have been a bit worried about her and did throw a passing thought her way, maybe even when the drama was in full flow - or full fall.

Good on her and Uncle H for not being on the news talking about their ordeal or selling the story to Hello. Chavs they are not.

Loved the video and the snuffly growls and hearing mum's voice.

(Misty and Poppy bichon would have made you very welcome here Henry- three dogs are no more trouble than two. You also wouldn't need grooming every five weeks.

Henry the Dog said...

Dumdad - why am I not surprised that Scabby would veto my 'adoption'? Actually, I'd be terrified to come face to face with him. His reputation precedes him;)

FFancy - it's nice to have you around. Yes, it was a bit dramatic, I have to concede, but at the side of the crash landing at New Jersey yesterday it was rather pedestrian n'est-ce pas? What a fabulous pilot. Anyway, as for hearing her voice on the video clip. You're not the first one to notice it - mum had no idea her voice was on it - she can't hear it. That's a bit of a sore point for her at the mo - a side effect of very steep and fast descent from 14,000 has left her with big ear problems (she has sensitive ears). She's seeing the doctor next week. She's not a happy bunny, but she's not complaining - it could have been a lot worse.

meryl's musings said...

Mutterings of my heart is in my throat could be heard while reading this. Both of us are so glad it was a story with a happy ending. M and KC

French Fancy said...

Oh her poor ears. That's one of the reasons I don't like flying because of the pressure on the old eardrums. Everyone seems fine after and there's me pinching my nostrils and blowing (if you know what I mean) to get them to POP.

I hope hers clear soon.

Jennysmith said...

Oh Lordy , Henry, what your poor mum went through! There's nothing worse than being afraid of something.

AND she refused to "sell out" by not doing an interview. A credit to her and your uncle. I myself would have milked that to the last, photo opportunities, the lot. But thats the kind of chick i am. Your mum is made of better stuff than me.

I hope your mum has recovered a bit. She was very brave crossing that hurdle.

show us some more photos with your mum's new camera xxxx

Henry the Dog said...

KC - yeah - happy ending stories are always best aren't they? Very lucky she was, and Uncle Hugh AND me. I don't know what I'd have done if I'd have lost them both (Henry with tear in his eye)

FFancy - mum has only ever been able to get her right one to 'pop'. This time it's different from anything she's experienced before and she's a bit nervous. She's hoping it's not permanent damage. Fingers crossed.

Jennysmith - you and me both. I'd love to be a Celeb. I reckon I'd do a better job than both the Beckhams put together. I would really wear that bling well too:) Mum will be fine. She might be dizzy and blonde but she's made of quite stern stuff - it's the yorkshire roots I reckon. PS: hope you didn't mind my not picking up that award, but as I said I don't do them if I have to pass them on, but I really appreciated you thinking of me xxx

Andrea said...

Stopped by via another glad I did. I'm in love with Henry!! :) Terrific writing....I will be back to visit often.

Henry the Dog said...

Andrea - (Henry blushes and looks very coy) - Well thank you. Please stop by whenever you can xxxx

~Marie~ said...

Henry, I don't blame your mum for panicking, I would have done the same. Also thank you for the lovely birthday wish! Peanut says hi back. In fact I showed him your short vid, and he started barking away. Ha, I guess he wanted to join you. It's been really cold here, so we haven't spent much time outside.

Jennysmith said...

By the way, Henry, yes, i'm sorry but i didn't remember till after i'd given you the award that you didn't like being tagged.

That was very insensitive of me especially as i'd only just enquired to you about "tagging".

Yes, just pass it by, i am so sorry about that . your pal Jenny xxxxx

detroit dog said...

You know, Henry, the more I hear and watch about this American pilot having landed his plane safely in the Hudson River in NYC, the more I think Hugh Bastard and LeFred are experts and geniuses, as well as straight thinkers and calm, and thankfully your Mum was flying with them.

(I'm still reeling and I wasn't even on the plane. Flying is the thing that scares me, though I prefer the flying cars to jets.)

Simplicity said...

Holy smokes! Henry, you're welcome to come live with us if anything should happen to your mum and Braja BUT it sounds like your mum is in great hands with Uncle Hugh!

I'm pretty sure I would have fainted and missed the whole landing ordeal. Any mention of spiraling makes me queasy! I'd have needed alcohol AND valium in order to get on that plane again...seriously!!

So glad all are home safe!! HUGS!!

Henry the Dog said...

Jenny - don't feel bad, it's just one of my idiosynwhatevers xxx (Thanks for thinking of me though)

Detroit - we'd better not let Uncle Hugh hear you say he is a genius - his head is rather big as it is. He wouldn't get through the door. Mum says that Hudson river landing will make aviation history. Her experience was a walk in the park at the side of that.

Simplicity - I think I'd be a brilliant companion for you and your lovely daughter. I'd be delighted to be around two such lovely ladies. Yes, mum needed alcohol. Trouble is, she's still taking it and she's back home. I wonder if she knows????