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Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Fortnight in Corfu 1

Chapter 1
Clouds over Italy

So much happens up here at 37K feet!
“There must be a story in these” said David, pointing at the layer of billowing, pillow-clouds below.
Acres upon acres of great white clusters of cotton wool, packed tightly together giving the impression that if anyone should open the door of the plane and free fall out onto them they would cushion our fall like a child’s bouncy castle, all puffy and comfy.
So we decide to give it a try and grabbing our jackets, we head for the door of the plane.
All of the flight attendants have gathered in the back of the plane to have breakfast together.  The one facing us is asleep. Two others are chattering while nibbling brown bread sandwiches.  The fourth is reading Hello Magazine.
The pilot’s door is securely locked, so there’s no one to stop us.  Katia says she’ll meet us below in a taxi.
With a wink and a nod, Dave pulls the giant handle of the Airbus’s door and with the other releases the lever and SWOOSH it’s open!
Freezing cold air blasts in and racing below the clouds beckon. 
Somewhere a shrill alarm siren sound and is followed by a shout,
“Hey!  You can’t do that!” as the sandwich-eating attendants come belting down the aisle.
“Sorry!  Just did,” I call as the wind snatches my words, my hair and me, and with a pounding heart, we jump.
We’re racing down, human bullets, laughing like mute hyenas, the icy wind piercing our cheeks and eyeballs.  Don’t care.
Huge, tall plumes of wispy clouds push upwards from the mass below as if reaching out to catch us, to buffer our fall.
“Look!” David points … a great pig-shaped mass on his left, which looks like it’s chasing a herd of headless chickens.  Further along, there’s a Cinderella Castle mass of clouds and then through a gap,

“The Alps!” he yells, silent but I can read his lips and follow his pointing finger again.
Spiky and white they jut up through the soft cushion of cloud, crisp with a fresh mantle of snow. White on white, one soft, puffy and ever changing; the other hard, angular and unmoving.
Tears of cold and amazement are torn from the corners of our eyes, making little icicles, which snap off.
We’re headed for the chessboard mass of cloud below and with a thumb up, David releases my hand and curling into a tight ball, falls fast and furious into B-6, canon ball style and disappears.
I’ve opted for swallow dive, arms spread wide, slowing down my fall.
With a gentle FRUMP, I’m caught by A-5 which feels like a giant feather cushion on a trapeze net.
“Amazing!” yells David as he rolls towards me.
“Awesome!  Who’d a thunk it?” I say, laughing and bouncing; feeling like Tigger and Tinker Bell rolled into one.
Gently we come to a stop in a crease between A-5 and B-6, laughing, sides aching, cheeks smarting.
“I told you it would work!” we say in the same breath and collapse in a paroxysm of identical laughter.
With a great creak and a groan, the crease in the chessboard cloud wrenches open and ejected unceremoniously, we’re falling again.
I grab David’s hand in panic and like two side-by-side X’s we’re slowing down enough to lean into the fall and steer towards the nearest peak of a snow-topped Alp.
He grins at me and twirling a finger he makes an old-fashioned water-skiing signal, telling me to turn over.
With a twist we’re now facing the sky just in time to land FRUMP! on our butts in the soft powder-snow.
“Yee-Haw!” he yells as we begin to slip, slide and plummet downwards. 
What a magic carpet ride!  Whizzing past rocks and crevasses we are cradled in a long valley of snow, speeding out of control yet completely oblivious of any danger.
Adrenalin is an amazing thing, even at 37K feet, staring at the clouds through the window of the plane, I get a rush.  Watching David take pictures of the magnificent Alps while Katia snoozes, I revel in my adventure that might have been.
“Amazing,” says David looking over.
“Awesome,” I reply and in the same breath we say,
“It could work, couldn’t it?”

@ 37K feet.

Puffy, billowing pillows
Pouchy, couchy blobs
Cushions and pouffs
Squishy soft balls
Swirling towers
Fields of cotton
Acres of white
At 37K feet
Swelling and swirling
Dunes of the undulating skyscape
Like anthills and molehills
Clouds decorate the sky.

1 comment:

  1. When we lived in Italy, we had the opportunity to fly Air Dolomiti airlines and fly OVER the Alps! They are SO beautiful and MAGICAL :)
    Kathleen in California ;)


Unless otherwise noted, all articles are written by Cath Rathbone. (Copyright Catherine (Cath) Rathbone and Noony Brown)