Thursday 23 October 1986

…Today we went out to Birmingham Airport for the day.
We set off in torrential rain.
We arrived in torrential rain.
We went straight in to see what arrivals and departures there were
and then went back [to the car] to have a drink.
The airport, the NEC, the Motor Show and Birmingham International station
are all linked by little monorail lines.
We went on one to the railway station and the Motor Show.
It was very crowded – you can say that again.
As usual I held everyone up finishing my lunch.
Then we went up to the spectators’ gallery where we watched
an hour of boring – well, not some of them – arrivals, departures,
loading up and other things.
We left in torrential rain and we arrived back in, guess what:

1986 was clearly the year for family visits to regional airports.

One incident from this return trip to Birmingham Airport that I didn’t record occurred while we were on the monorail.

Some people were smoking inside the carriage, despite numerous signs instructing otherwise. This prompted my dad to do something I’d never seen him do before.

He marched up to the smokers, swiped the cigarettes from out of their mouths, threw them on to the floor and ground them into ash. “Can’t you read?” he yelled into their faces.

He then strode back to the rest of us, where we were standing in complete silence.

We all continued to stand in complete silence until the monorail reached its destination.

And we didn’t say a word about what had happened, not then and not since.

3 thoughts on “Thursday 23 October 1986

  1. I’m going to join the hoard of commenters on the other post and say that I too had a day trip to an airport in the eighties, I remember going to Manchester Airport on Easter Sunday in 1988 to have a look around. I suppose there was some sort of point to it because that summer we were going on our first ever holiday abroad and it gave us the opportunity for a bit of a rehearsal.

    I don’t suppose anyone goes on day trips anymore given the only thing you can see without checking in is, well, the check-in desks.

  2. We used to go to Eastleigh (now Southampton) Airport to stand on the outside deck and watch the BIAs and BEAs trickle in from the continent. It was rather glamorous and fun then. You could actually walk around and go outside without someone panicking that you might have a bomb strapped to grandma.

    Your father sounds forbidding. A bit like the preacher in Footloose?

    • Well, his behaviour on this occasion was atypical. It was one of the few times I’d ever seen him lose his temper in public, which made the outburst all the more shocking. My memory of him while I was growing up is of a quietly stern presence. And I have never, to this date, heard him utter a swearword.

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