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Back in the old routine

10 November 1987 British Airways 5662 Birmingham to Edinburgh
10 November 1987 British Airways 950 Glasgow to Birmingham

After a short while back at work after the African adventure, disaster struck. The Edinburgh project which had launched my flying career had run into problems. Despite keeping my head down, and denying all knowledge of it, and encouraging my colleagues to do the same, it reared its ugly head. The manager of the Edinburgh office I mentioned before requested me to come to Edinburgh and sort out a new problem they had just encountered as they moved onto a new phase of the project.

No way, I insisted. So he spoke to my manager, who was equally supportive of me. So he spoke to his manager and then to the director. The Scottish manager did not care that I had other work to do. He did not care that I was preparing for further projects: all he wanted was my assistance. There seemed no way out. Broken, I went home and prepared for the journey to Scotland the following morning. I could not eat: I broke down. My wife had cooked home-made hamburgers that night, and it was a long time before she could be persuaded to do so again.

The following morning, I rose and caught the flight to Edinburgh. The breakfast was left almost completely uneaten, and it was with great reluctance that I went to the Edinburgh office. All my colleagues there who were at my level knew my distress, and were as kind as they could be. Their manager didn't even seem to notice. If he did notice, he didn't care.

The problem that I needed to solve, it turned out, was not connected with the main body of the project, but with the single feature I understood fully. They should have understood it fully too, and if only they had read the manual rather than panicking, then I wouldn't have had a wasted trip and been close to nervous breakdown again. After I had put them right, it seemed a much brighter day. I was even a hero there, but there was a long time to wait for the evening flight.

Instead, one of their junior officers took me along the motorway to Glasgow, where I picked up an early afternoon flight to Birmingham. The fare and the distance are the same, but I was home hours earlier.

Some said I should have arranged to spend the night in Scotland, but I wasn't prepared to do this. I had an important church meeting in Birmingham that evening and didn't see why I should inconvenience myself for that manager's benefit.

11 November 1987 British Airways 5650 Birmingham to Glasgow

The following morning, another early start, as I returned to Glasgow to deliver a course to one of our customers. It was a successful and enjoyable course of three days duration, with a few exciting moments politically in the middle. At the conclusion of the course, my wife joined me in Glasgow as we travelled by rail to visit some relatives nearby. The weekend ended and we travelled by rail back to Birmingham. It still comes as a shock what a long way it is. Even though I have travelled quite a distance by rail, I doubt if it reaches twenty-six thousand and seventeen miles, the distance I flew in 1987.

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