Welcome home

Posted December 07, 2011

Welcome home

The captain came on the tannoy to apologise for the delay to our journey. We were flying into strong winds (I’ve forgotten the exact speed but it was alarmingly high).

It might lead to some turbulence on our approach to the airport but he’d try to keep the landing as smooth as possible. Windy? I hadn’t noticed anything until I heard this unnerving announcement.

I peered out the window at a cloudless, azure blue sky. Only the waters far below, with their mass of large, frothy white caps, gave any hint of stormy weather. I could clearly see the outline of each tiny island that dotted the coastline. A rainbow arched across the hills rising high above the city; the hills were capped with a light dusting of snow. Picture book perfect!

My reverie was cut short when the plane took a violent dip to the left, shuddered, then dipped to the right. The bumpy landing the captain had warned me about, bang on cue. The plane landed like a ton of bricks and screeched to a halt.

I glanced out the window only to discover that the hills were now engulfed by foreboding black clouds. Had the captain forgotten to tell us that we were being diverted to Mordor? As I grabbed my holdall from the overhead locker, huge splats of rain hit the windows of the plane.

A flight attendant stuck her head out the exit door and gasped. Tendrils of her hair were whipped loose.  “If you move quickly, you might just beat the shower,” she said optimistically. I tried!

Icy rain, driven horizontally by gale force winds, lashed my body. By the time I reached the terminal, having exerted as much effort as Frodo and Sam Ganges on their gruelling trek to Mount Doom, my hands were numb and I was soaked to the skin.

‘Welcome to Belfast’ said the sign.

Image:Ross, Hong Kong, Flickr

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