Dear Diary – Page 99 (1975)

Continuation from Dear Diary – Page 98

This being my first time to use Heathrow Airport as a traveler, it was a pretty daunting experience made more so by the knowledge that this was going to be a one-way trip!

The money we had managed to accumulate covered my flight and small amount to live off in Canada, with sufficient left over to pay for the other three when their time came. It was not a case of hoping this was going to work, it had to!

When boarding the plane, a stewardess took my guitar from me as it needed to be stored separately, and she assured me that it would be given to me when I got off in Toronto. Never having been in a plane this size before, I was a little overwhelmed but had to totally focus on finding my seat. It was a relief when I found my aisle number and slid into my seat which was next to a window. It was not long before a very large gentleman took the seat next me, which effectively made any attempts to get up impossible without his cooperation.

As the aircraft was pushed away from the buildings, and as it started moving under its own power, I could feel nothing but apprehension about my immediate future. What on earth had I done!

We trundled around for seemingly ages until we made a very sharp turn and came to a total stop. It was not long before the engines starting picking up speed; the low drone was slowly increasing to a high pitched whine, and then I felt the pressure in my back as we started accelerating. I remembered seeing various “Jumbos” taking most of the runway to reach a lift-off speed and was expecting this mad dash accompanied by the whine of high speed engines to go on for quite some time. Imagine my surprise when suddenly the front of the aircraft lifted off with us right behind it. It seemed that within a matter of a minute or two, we were airborne!

The whole flight virtually consisted of me being trapped up against the window. While I have no doubt that I must have got up on a couple of occasions, and was no doubt treated to meals and drinks during the flight, I was not feeling particularly comfortable. The reality of emigrating was sinking in. I knew nobody in Canada. I had no work waiting for me there, and I was stressed and tired.

It was October, and my flight was scheduled to land in the evening (around 5:30pm I believe). We landed on schedule and I made my way to Customs where they (not unexpectedly) asked to see all the necessary documentation given that I was staying, and that’s where the problems started!

To be continued…


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