Be Very Careful How You Grab A Granny

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”


I think the moral of this blog post is, if you have to grab a granny at all then be very careful how you do it; and if you do do it hang on as tightly as you can no matter how much she struggles.

It rather strange advice I know, but there is a reason for giving it.

First of all, here’s granny Lucerne.


As you can see she is in good spirits. I don’t know whether she had a bucket list, but one of the things that this 80 year old granny wanted to do and had been planning for a decade was to skydive.

As for myself, it has never been an ambition of mine to jump out of an airplane that wasn’t in trouble. Although I would much rather that they would stick a parachute under my seat on an airplane instead of a bit of glorified polystyrene, I mean on a flight from L.A. to New York for example how much ocean is there to be worried about?

But back to 80 year old granny Lucerne. For a while everything went well. She was very happy and excited by the prospect of her first skydive parachute jump.


The trouble started when she got to the door of the small plane and peered outside at planet earth below.


As her skydiving buddy, to whom she was attached, also tried to push through the open door ready for the jump, granny’s reluctance turned to panic.


She was heard shouting “No”, but by that time it was too late, the whole process had gained its own momentum.


And out they tumbled.


And tumbled, and tumbled, plummeting earthwards at an accelerating rate


By now granny must have been in a blind panic because instead of relaxing and going with her skydiving buddy, she flailed about and started to slip out of the harness that was holding them together. Remember just the buddy had the chute.


The next few shots show just how far out the harness her struggling had caused her to slip. By the way, the hand in the bottom left of the photo belongs to the photographer who had realized what was happening and guided himself over to them to try to help.


Another photo also showing just how far out of the harness granny had managed to wriggle.


Eventually her skydiving buddy gets the chute opened. (He has got a complete right leg in case you’re wondering, it’s just the angle of the photo!)


And with granny held in what had to be a vice like grip they both made it to the ground, a little worse for wear but thankfully, alive.


And here’s the video.


Lost In Transit

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”



I wrote a little while ago about Tommy who got lost in the fog in a field beside his own house, and about Thomas Nutall the worst explorer in the world. Well, sense of direction, or the lack thereof, has come up many times in my journeys.

I used to travel on business with a guy called “Bill”. Bill was a nice man, old-school, good manners, fairly prim and proper I suppose you would say. He was in his seventies when I got to know him and worked along with him.

He should have been retired from business but he had a wife who sounded a lot better from a considerable distance and luckily she was not unhappy about getting rid of him for a while – as often as possible as it turns out!

Anyway, domestic bliss aside, Bill made frequent plane trips which obviously meant using airports.

Getting him on to a plane usually wasn’t so bad, although if he stopped to buy something or talk to somebody and you walked on without him, he would always be the last man on to the plane.

But the real fun was when Bill got off the plane. Even on short trips, where the gin and tonics hadn’t been flowing in his direction.

Actually, I’ll come back to that in a moment – I’d forgotten about this until I started to write this blog post.

Bill even got lost once inside the airplane itself. I mean actually inside the airplane! Can you believe it?

He had got up, I presume to go to the bathroom – no, hang on, I absolutely refuse to call what they have on airplanes a “bathroom”; for a start there’s no “bath”, and for another thing there’s no “room” either; it’s a “toilet”, and a small one at that, okay! And for another thing why are they always so small, whether you are on a huge 747 Jumbo jet (I haven’t yet been on one of those Airbus monsters) or a piddly small 737, the toilets are still the same size. All for the sake of being able to offer a couple of extra seats to keep more passengers total discomfort. End rant. Sorry about that, back to today’s blog.

As I was saying, he had got up, I presume to go to the bathroom. There had been a queue at the toilet closest to where Bill was sitting, so he wandered to another one on the far side, and at the back, of the plane (it was 747, small toilets but a big plane!)

But when he opened the door and walked out he didn’t know where he was! I mean, he knew where he was, he knew he was on a plane, but he didn’t know where his seat was and he couldn’t remember the number. And his routine was to put boarding passes, tickets and other paperwork neatly away in his carry on bag before take-off, so he had nothing to refer to.

He had a walk round first class and was gently ushered out of it by a polite, but firm, flight attendant, before he managed to make his way up the stairs. He inspected business class but saw nothing familiar. Then he spent the next twenty minutes walking up and down the wrong aisle looking for his seat in coach.

I watched what was going on. But I didn’t help him out. And I kept my head down so that he wouldn’t see me. We were sitting together and I didn’t want to give him a clue as to where to look. It was too funny and I was enjoying it, much better that whatever film they were showing at the time. And I knew there was a limit to where he could go.

After a good half hour he showed up.

“You were away for a while,” I said when he got back.

“I didn’t feel too well,” he told me. “And I went to ask one of the flight attendants for some water and an aspirin.”

“Oh?” I answered. “I though maybe you’d got lost or something.”

“No, no, nothing like that.”

I just left it, he’d already given me enough entertainment. He went to sleep and that was it until we landed.


Which is actually what I started to say in the first place. Bill was just a normal bloke when the airplane doors opened and everyone started to funnel out into the terminal. It was when he got out into the open that the fun started.

For some strange reason Bill invariably took off like a bullet. And always in the completely wrong direction. If he was going for a connecting flight he headed for baggage claim and the exit. If he was at his journey’s end he headed for connecting flights. And all at top speed.

The first few times I tried to run after him, but it was hard work, he had a remarkable turn of speed for an older man. After that I just let him run wherever he thought he was going. Once he even walked from Terminal 3 to Terminal 1 at Heathrow airport, and back again, and that is quite a distance despite what the airport brochures tell you. It was perhaps fortunate that he didn’t get on the underground train and end up in the middle of London somewhere.

By the way, when an airport brochure says “close” reckon on at least half a mile or more, and if have lots of luggage that’s a long way.

Remarkably though, he always turned up – eventually. He never said what had happened or where he had been. And I never asked, so I don’t know.

I’m certain that made two of us!



Have you had similar experiences? Send them along. Let the world know what is happening before it is too late.

The Worst Airport Greeting In The World

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”


This is a sort of follow on from yesterday’s blog about Mr Nicholas Scotti, the worst tourist in the world.

Today’s is about Mrs Josephine Williams and her family, who in 1975 went to meet a long-lost brother at Heathrow Airport (London).

Eventually the traveller wandered into the airport lounge, greatly relaxed by the in-flight drinking facilities, and was immediately smothered with the kisses of Mrs Williams and her sisters.

“Gee, this is great,” he kept saying, all the while cuddling Mrs Williams in a manner which she later described as “not like a brother.”

His enthusiasm for British hospitality was modified, however, when Mr Williams shook his hand firmly and ushered him to a parked car.

They first suspected that something might be amiss when their long-lost relative tried to jump out of the car while travelling at speed up the motorway.

When told that he was being taken to a family reunion in Coventry, he replied, “Take my money. Here’s my wallet. Take it and let me go.”

Slumped miserably in the front seat, he added, “This is the first time I have been to England and I am being kidnapped.”

“I thought from the beginning he wasn’t my brother,” Mrs Williams said later, “but my sisters wouldn’t listen. They said I was only twelve when he left for America and wouldn’t remember.”

They had taken home a complete stranger!  I don’t know if they ever met up with their brother or not.


The Worst Tourist In The World

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”


I don’t know whether any of you have heard of Mr Nicholas Scotti? I hadn’t until I read about him on the internet. But his story is one that fits well into the ‘stupidity’ category that is one of the underlying themes of this blog.

Mr Scotti holds the title of being ‘The Worst Tourist In The World’, or certainly one of the least successful ones.

Nicholas Scotti is of Italian descent and is from San Francisco, USA. In 1977 he decided he would like to visit his relatives in his native Italy.

An inexperienced traveller, Mr Scotti booked his vacation trip using a travel agent and on the appointed day made his way to the airport for the flight. Getting on a plane was a relatively easy and quick process back in 1977 (oh, those were the days!!), and Mr Scotti made it on to the plane without incident. He settled down for the long flight.

En route the plane made a one-hour fuel stop at Kennedy Airport and the passengers disembarked.

But Nicholas Scotti didn’t know about the re-fuelling stop. He thought that he had arrived in Rome, Italy. He duly left the airport and spent two days in New York believing he was in Rome.

When his nephews were not there to meet him, Mr Scotti just assumed they had been delayed in the heavy Rome traffic they had mentioned often in their letters.

While tracking down their address, the great traveler could not help noticing that modernization and new construction had brushed aside most, if not all, of the ancient city’s famous landmarks, but that didn’t deter him.

He also noticed that many people spoke English with a distinct American accent. However, he just assumed that Americans got everywhere. Furthermore, he assumed it was for their benefit that so many of the street signs were written in English.

Mr Scotti spoke very little English himself and next asked a policeman (in Italian) the way to the bus depot. As chance would have it, the policeman came from Naples and replied fluently in Italian, which only helped to reinforce his belief that he was in Rome, not New York.

After twelve hours travelling round on a bus, the driver got fed up with him and handed him over to a second policeman. This one was not Italian and a brief argument ensued during which Mr Scotti expressed amazement at the Rome police force employing someone who did not speak their own language.

Scotti’s brilliance is seen in the fact that even when told he was in New York, he refused to believe it. The man was a veritable genius!

To get Mr Scotti on a plane back to San Francisco, he was raced to the airport in a police car with sirens screaming. Even then he remained unconvinced. “See,” he said to his interpreter, “I know I’m in Italy. That’s how they drive.”



Sometimes The Idiot’s In The Front Seat

Here’s another short video.

I don’t want to make this blog all about fights and airports, although you’d be amazed how many strange things happen on those journeys. And I also don’t want to put anyone off flying. I do it all the time and it is a very safe mode of transport, despite the hassles at the airports these days.

Sometimes, however, the idiot is in the front seat of the plane. Oh dear!