Tuesday, February 12, 2008

On the need for efficient pre-flight checks

On the need for efficient pre-flight checks

As TV's Jamie Oliver said just hours before the Great Raw Chicken Poisoning of Old London Town: "Failure to prepare is to prepare to fail".

Or, as Fat Tongue himself actually put it: "Fnurrnurr to prenurr is to prepuurrpurr oo ferrr."

Any good pilot would tell you the same.

"Fnurrnurr to prenurr is to prepuurrpurr oo ferrr," they will tell you.

If, as a pilot working for a major airline, you fail to carry out a decent pre-flight check, you only have yourself to blame when both the wings fall off and you plummet 36,000 feet to your firey doom, spread all over the North Atlantic like a rash on Amy Winehouse's mimsy.

And I should know. It is easy to lack preparation in straight-forward parts of everyday life - or even to take the most simple precautions - that might avoid future bouts of unnecessary woe.

"Can you give us a 'such as', Scary?"

Yes. Yes I can.

Simple things. Such as forgetting to check if there is sufficient toilet paper in the stall until you are halfway through parking your breakfast. This can only lead to the unnecessary woe of shuffling between stalls, trousers held up as high as they will go, buttocks clenched firmly together to avoid spillage, at the exact moment your head of department directs a visiting major stakeholder in the direction of the gentlemen's toilets during a pause in make-or-break talks on this year's budget round.

Your lack of preparation, then, might lead to hundreds of redundancies and the eternal hatred of your entire body of colleagues.

Woe such as that.

Or, if you are in need of another practical example, failure to prepare for a long coach journey by neglecting to don a pair of incontinence pants for the ten excruciating hours that follow the inevitable moment the chemical loo explodes just north of Watford Gap. Your choice of a window seat might have been good at the time, but wedged in next to Ann Noreen Widdecombe filming an ITV exposé on National Express coaches, you have nowhere to go except down your leg.

You will notice that both of these examples involve going to the toilet. Alas, this is my third 'such as' in this brief essay on the failure to prepare. For I appear to be completely unprepared for any other eventuality apart from toilet emergencies. Sorry.

On War Child

I have been prodded by the people behind Post of the Week towards contributing to a book designed to raise funds for the excellent War Child charity, which works to help children affected by conflict.

After a certain amount of deliberation - not least because of the subject matter of the story - I have submitted a shorter, tighter, somewhat funnier version of my Trip-to-the-Congo tale that will be exclusive to the book, detailing a naive journalist's trip into a war-zone expecting five-star service and finding nothing but woe.

If a) you want to purchase a copy or b) you have a blog and want to get involved, shoot on over to Peach's blog for the full details.

That is all.

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