As I’m having lunch in a nice little café, one of the staff is busy showing a new boy the ropes. I can overhear him explaining that, when it comes to keeping the front of the house clean and tidy, it’s all about the customer’s perspective. Together, they wipe this, straighten that, and then — as he says to his colleague — “Just step back and see it from the customer’s perspective.” It’s a good philosophy, I think. As Robert Burns wrote in his poem To a Louse, On Seeing One on a Lady’s Bonnet at Church,

O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
An’ foolish notion:
What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e us,
An’ ev’n devotion!

The trouble with the senior waiter’s fine philosophy is that, from this customer’s perspective, the most notable thing about him is that his neat appearance (black shirt, black trousers, black apron) is totally undercut by the fact that his trousers are hanging down below his hips, exposing his light grey underpants to the world.


A Personal Flying First

I should really sit down and work it out properly, but I probably have something of the order of 1,000 flying hours in aircraft of various kinds, from gliders and other light aircraft to wide-body airliners. Yesterday, though, marked a definite first: my first rear-facing flight!

Rear-facing seats are substantially safer than front-facing ones in accident scenarios, as The Economist sharply noted in this article on “Veritas Airways”, but tend to unnerve many people. Hence, they’re favoured in military transports (in which the passengers are somewhat more sanguine) but frowned upon in the civilian world; they’re largely restricted to the exotic seating arrangements of first- and business-class cabins. Happy circumstance promoted me to the luxury half of the plane yesterday, so here goes…

Continue reading “A Personal Flying First”