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Day should have been a ‘no-fly zone’

Mike Porter enjoying his Greek holiday

Our Greek holiday began smoothly. July 13: we – grandfather, grandmother and three granddaughters – met at the airport, boarded our flight in the early evening, sat back and relaxed.

The plane was already warming up when the captain's voice, with a strong Italian accent, came through: "We have 10 minutes before the airport closes," he said. "After that they won't open for another 5 hours. Please hurry".

Just about everyone was on board, but we must have overstepped our quota by a minute or two and – the engines stopped.

"I'm sorry," came the captain's voice, "but you will all have to disembark.
The airport is closed".

It seems that once a month the airport closes for several hours to do something
on the runway.

Unbelievable! Couldn't this … xxx … airport wait another five minutes – even another two minutes. But – no deal! People all around us began frantically phoning families, businesses, overseas contacts. Ruti phoned "our man in Athens".

I just couldn't believe this was happening and began to roundly curse the authorities. "I will report this – I will… I!"

We disembarked, and several buses took us back to the main building; here we were given an evening meal (choose your own pizza). And we were just lucky that the crew (which had gone back to the hotel to rest and, according to a towering steward originally from the USA, would not be flying again that day) was "sweet-talked" into taking us up again – five hours after the original scheduled time.

I was still cursing roundly and promising to do this – and that – and the other – and … when a quiet voice spoke to me.
"Tell me," it said, "do you know what the date is!"

Angrily I answered: "What a stupid question – it's July, Friday –". I stopped. Things fell into place, including, it seems, my eyes which popped, my jaw which dropped … and then I stopped.

"Exactly," said the quiet voice: "Friday the 13th.



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Monday, 17 June 2024

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