The Diary of Dr. Sharon McDonnell

Aged 53 and 3/4

Alright I admit it, that is not me slumped on the suitcase but that is exactly how I felt when I arrived in Melbourne!

My journey to Australia consisted of two flights lasting 20 hours. The first flight from Manchester to Dubai was easy.  The second flight from Dubai to Melbourne was the difficult one.  It was a double decker plane.  I have never been on one of those before.  I was travelling economy class; waiting to board was interesting.  First class passengers were beckoned first, then those with gold, silver and bronze memberships, business class, mothers and babies, the infirm and then last but not least, those in economy class.  All these categories, I was becoming concerned that I might end up being checked for head lice and then thrown in with the luggage!

I cannot begin to express my excitement as I boarded.  I find my seat and start setting up camp.  Well that is what it feels like.  Especially, as that seat was going to be my home/bed/sofa for the next twelve hours. However, I had come prepared.  Before putting my case in the overhead locker, I got a pair of socks out (because my feet are always freezing), a thin blanket and a memory foam neck support/pillow out of the case, which I had bought especially for the trip.  Everybody was busy getting settled, but the woman beside me was something else.  Out came a blanket, slippers, mask (dam, I hadn’t thought of bringing one of them) the items in her bag seemed endless.  Then out came the pyjamas! Good God, I thought she was going to pull out a four poster bed and standard lamp next.  There was a moment when I thought she had robbed Mary Poppins’s bag.

I had become interested in this woman’s activities – maybe due to being stuck in one place for twelve hours with little stimulation. So fast forward four hours and it is bed time; the lights on the plane are dimmed; my socks and memory foam neck support/pillow are on.  At that point I thought it wasn’t very comfortable, but I had no intention of taking it off as it cost me ten quid!  The finishing touch included my pink cover with arms in.  If I am totally honest I looked like I had a neck brace on, waiting to be carried off to A&E.  A couple of minutes later the woman comes out of the toilets in in her pyjamas.   She put her night mask on and immediately fell fast asleep.  On the other hand I tried every position possible to get comfortable.  I persevered with my neck brace for at least two hours, whilst the woman next to me continued to sleep.  I can honestly say that I was suffering from ‘sleep envy’.   I eventually fell asleep for two hours.

Fast forward to morning, the woman beside me had slept a full eight hours.  She changed her pyjamas in the toilets and looked pristine.  Whereas, my hair was all over the place; in fact I looked like I had mopped a few floors with my head.  I looked frightening. I have no idea how I managed to achieve this look considering I had been sat up the whole time.

So I have not even reached Australia yet and I have learnt something already.  Don’t buy a memory foam support pillow that looks like a neck brace, and if you don’t mind standing out in a crowd and what to look smart when you get off a long haul flight, put your pyjamas on!