Flying Fright
(Recalled by Greta Marshall - March 2005)


We were returning from Egypt via Malta (1951) and landed at Marseilles to refuel. Later on, flying over the foothills of the French Alps, I was sitting over the starboard wing and suddenly noticed that the propeller was flapping about randomly instead of spinning round and round. I glanced over to the port side, noticed that the other one was behaving nicely when there was an announcement from the pilot for Jane, (the stewardess) to go forward...... We had "lost an engine" and had to return to Marseilles.

Our accommodation was provided by the Scottish Airlines and we were put up at the Hotel L'Arbois, a very splendid affair and we each had a suite to ourselves, with sunken bath! Unfortunately our luggage had gone on ahead and we had neither nightclothes nor even a toothbrush, but the necessities were provided by Jane, courtesy of the airline. All we had in currency was British sterling which the banks flatly refused to exchange for French francs, so it was a very frustrating 3 days.

My bedroom was connected to the main corridor by a long hall and after a morning bath, I had just opened the bathroom door when the outside door opened to reveal a waiter with a breakfast tray. All I could do was run down the hall stark naked and dive into bed, covered in confusion and bedclothes. The waiter deposited the tray by the bedside with a quiet "Voila Mam'selle" and he didn't turn a hair or even crack a smile. Excellent French manners.

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