There are fewer pleasures in life than taking off in a Boeing 747. (Look away Greta Thunberg)
Of course, I don’t need a 747 to collect Mum when she lives 20 minutes away on foot. No need for safety instructions or inflight movies either when the entertainment is all around me.
At this time of year, when the Christmas lights twinkle and shoppers wander around in search of gifts, I see a Ford Capri and imagine it is being driven by Bodie or Doyle, or a Granada whose driver is being instructed by Jack Regan from The Sweeney or George Cowley from The Professionals.
Overhead planes circle above the Bovingdon Stack before receiving instructions to approach Heathrow. Now and then I see the 747s I imagine I could be on.
I reach Mum, who is in the severe grip of Alzheimer’s. The joy on her face is a sight to behold. We hug and kiss and then the journey back starts.
She is wrapped in a jersey, coat, hat and gloves. Her medicine is collected from the safe and when she feels ready, a taxi summoned.
With one hand in mine and the other clasping her walking stick, we tentatively negotiate the stairs. At the taxi rank, enthusiastic greetings from the drivers could well be used by cabin crew.
Mum is entranced by people, cars and her surroundings.
“Where are we going?” she asks.
“Off to see Bodie and Doyle, Kojak and Arthur from Minder. Or to listen to Elvis, Queen or Neil Diamond” is my familiar response.
All too soon we have reached our destination. Another world is about to open. The best thing is we will do it again and again.
Every day is an adventure that not even John le Carre could imagine.