In April last year, I bravely ventured out from my safe home and took a train to New York City, thence a taxi to Brooklyn.
While I travelled frequently, without fear as a child and until my spine fell to bits, I now undertake travel with great trepidation.
For me, going to Brooklyn was a major expedition.
But I wanted to visit Tim in his new home. We seem to get synchronous itches for moving. Although, I had made a few moves in between, including to the West Coast and back.
As well as viewing the new penthouse condo, I really wanted to meet the famous Oscar, Tim’s cat.
Tim had been Oscar’s frequent babysitter and when his person died, Tim agreed to make it permanent.
It was Tim that got me into cats in the first place.
He has a lot to account for.
Oscar was not impressed by me. Not one bit.
That’s how cats are.
I knew better than to be offended, but I was sad that I couldn’t pet the snooty little toad.
It was not my intention, to write about my visit with Oscar, but I haven’t any photographs to display of Tim’s first Disaster Tour, which I was going to write about.
As it happens, on the floor there, to Oscar’s right, are two of the photos Tim took on that particular trip.
But that is co-incidental.
Actually in truth, that first trip, while being the origin of Disaster Tours, was not itself a disaster.
Perhaps I should explain?
Tim has an expression he uses to describe himself: “I’m never backwards, in coming forwards.”
No, he is not.
Tim, although British, worked for South African Airways.
His usual role was making sure that the handling agent, which was often me, was doing the job right. We took care of routine problems, but anything out of the ordinary went to Tim, if he was on duty.
It’s always helpful to know the names of your passengers and while you can’t learn them all, it is easy enough to scan the First Class list for any frequent fliers or “VIP’s”.
One day, Tim spotted what he considered a real VIP. He was a manager for a Seattle travel company that offered “expedition cruising.”
Tim zeroed in on the man, who had no problems whatsoever, but was happy to be addressed by name and escorted swiftly through “formalities” and to the arms of his beloved, who was waiting outside.
The man was suitably impressed at such superior service and presented Tim with his card. “If you ever want to take a cruise,” he said, “we give a discount to industry people when we have a cruise that doesn’t fill.”
Out came Tim with his expression: “I hope you mean it, because I’m not backwards in coming forwards.” I wonder if the poor man knew what he was in for.
Just a few weeks later, Tim called me up one day: “How would you like to go to Antarctica?”
Honestly? I had never thought about it. But now that I did…