On the flight home from HotDocs in Toronto I was sitting beside an off-duty Air Canada pilot and an old Canadian fella of Irish stock. The pilot was off to London for a long weekend with his older son of two. I filled him in on a few places to check out given his son's interests. He told me a bit about how they route transatlantic flights between Toronto and London, based on the wind patterns. I asked him to rate our landing out of 10: he gave it 7. He told me about how narrow the English Channel looks from the cockpit. It turned out his mother, born in Luton, was brought up in Bournemouth and left for Canada after the war. I wrote this note to Noah (in Bournemouth) on the plane to Toronto a week before:
" On the plane map (on the plane tv) there was a view as we left London where it sweeps in from the south and the only place labelled other than London was Bournemouth of all places!"
The pilot didn't realise there was an airport in Luton now. We compared notes on sons growing up. The character patterns of his two boys was similar to my own. He only ever gets a day in London when he flies in. He generally avoids London as the bus in after night flights is interminable. His plan for the evening after the 9pm landing was to head for a beer or two with the boy in Soho before checking in in St John's Wood. The 18 year old drinking age was viewed positively. There are few greater pleasures in life that one-to-one travel with your children.