An overnight flight to England


Silly Willy crowed with delight as he yanked open the little sachet containing a tiny toothpaste, a toothbrush that had to be put together, socks and an eye mask.

I opened my sachet and saw it contained the same goodies. We each had our own little television screen that was set into the back of the seat in front of us. Below the television screen was a chair bag containing a set of earphones covered in cellophane.


Willy’s earphones tumbled out of the wrapping and fell under the seat. He tried to release his seat belt so that he could retrieve them from the floor but the clasp wouldn’t budge beneath his small, frantic fingers.


Willy wailed in annoyance and mom jumped. She had been sending farewell messages to everyone and hadn’t noticed Willy’s activities.

Mom went pink with embarrassment and she quickly leaned over and picked Willy’s earphones up off the floor.

“Here you go,” she said. “Now sit still and stop opening everything. The aeroplane will start to move soon. We’re going on an adventure.”

“We’re going to England,” said Willy.

“Yes we are and we’re going to fly all night.”

“Where is my bed?”

Mom smiled, “There are no beds on an aeroplane. You have to sleep sitting up in your chair.”

Willy looked pleased at the idea. I pulled a face. I thought it sounded uncomfortable and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to sleep sitting up.

I was sitting next to my Nana, across the aisle from Mom and Dad. Willy was sitting between Mom and Dad in the middle seats. There were four seats in the middle but, as the man who had been sitting in the end seat had moved, Mom, Dad and Willy had a bit more space. I wondered why the man moved. I thought it was probably because of Willy. Who would want to sit next to Willy for ten hours to England? I later found out that his television wasn’t working.

I felt the aeroplane start to move and my tummy filled with butterflies. We were off.

About an hour later the flight attendants started serving dinner. It was already quite late and I was feeling tired but the food was interesting.

“Chicken stir-fry or beef curry?” the flight attendant asked.

I choose the beef curry. It came in a little tub with a foil lid. The food was nice and warm. There was also a small salad, cheese and biscuits and a chocolate pudding, all served separately in their own plastic tubs. There was a lot of plastic. My teacher at school would not be pleased when I told her. She wants us to save the environment and reduce global warming by not buying items packaged in plastic.

Willy had a different meal. Mom had ordered the chicken meal for him. He tucked into his food with relish and most of it went into his mouth and not down his front and onto the floor. Well done, Willy.

After dinner, the flight attendants collected our rubbish and put it into a special rubbish trolley. It was really very clever how all these meals were served and cleared away so efficiently.

We all settled down to try to sleep. Willy put on his mask. It was very big and covered a lot of his face, his blonde curls stuck out all over the place. He looked just like a scarecrow with cob corn hair. Willy went off to sleep with no trouble at all. Mom was dozing fitfully next to him and Dad was also wearing his mask and trying to sleep.

Next to me, Nana reached into her handbag and produced a little blue pill. “It’s a sleeping tablet. It will put me out like a light”, she said. She swallowed the pill, using the last sip of her whiskey and water to wash it down.

My stomach lurched and my mind pulled back from the edge of sleep. The aeroplane shuddered and shook as it pushed its way through the rainstorm outside. I could hear hail rattling against the windows.

“We have hit a patch of turbulence,” a voice came through the loudspeaker. “Please buckle your seat belts until we have passed through it.”

The aeroplane heaved and bumped more violently than ever. I started to feel sick. The nausea got worse and worse.

I thought: I’m going to be sick.

I reached across and spoke to Dad.

“I feel really sick; I want to go to the bathroom”.

Dad is not very good with us when we are sick. He woke Mom and she hurried me to the bathroom.

My body was trembling and sweat rolled down my face. My arms and legs felt hot and shaky. I sank to my knees in front of the toilet and vomited. The toilet was clean but it smelled of wee. The smell made me feel even worse and I puked again. Mom held my head up and rubbed my back. After I vomited for the second time, I started to feel better. Mom helped me wash my face and hands and we went back to our seats. Dad swapped seats with me so that I could sit next to Mom. Mom handed me a tablet and a bottle of water to take it with.

“This pill will stop you feeling ill,” she said.

Mom also gets sick on aeroplanes and always takes these tablets when she travels.

We all settled down to try and sleep again.

I woke up with a start when the lights came on. My neck had a crick in it from sleeping in my chair. Mom stretched her back and neck. She does special exercises because her neck and shoulders are always sore and stiff from working on a computer all day.

We all went to the toilet. Mom went into the toilet with Willy so that she could make sure he left everything clean and tidy.

“No,” he said, holding up his hand. “I’m a big boy and I can go by myself.”

“I’m coming with you,” Mom said. “You are naughty and you make a mess.”

Willy loves toilets and will happily stand in front of the basin washing his hands for hours. He enjoys squishing great globs of soap out of the bottle and rubbing his hands together to create lots of lather. He also likes to thoroughly rinse his hands and dry them under the dryer. There was no hand dryer in this toilet so Willy wouldn’t dry his hands. He opened the door when he was finished and walked out. Mom set about moping up the puddles of water all over the floor with paper hand towels. She also rinsed the lather down the drain.

When I got back to my seat, I started watching a movie called Trolls. It was a nice movie but Willy was bored with being on an aeroplane. He started poking me with his toothbrush and pulling my hair. I smacked him and his juice fell over, wetting his shirt and blanket. Mom told me to move back to my seat next to Nana.

“I need some peace. You boys behave so badly I feel really embarrassed.”

“I was sick during the night, Nana,” I said.

“Were you really. I didn’t see or a hear a thing.”

I thought: Those pills Nana takes really do put her out like a light. Fancy sleeping through all the turbulence like that.

Our landing at Heathrow Airport in London was perfect. I do not like landings, I think they are dangerous. I watched a television programme that said that take offs and landings are the most dangerous times during a flight.

Our pilot landed our aeroplane with hardly a single bump. He must have been very happy.

You can learn how to make a boy on a suitcase out of fondant in Silly Willy goes to Cape Town.