New Expectations

London this week for a handful of appointments a catch-up with a few friends and to see my brother who recently decided to forsake bricks and mortar and move into a narrow boat. I was surprised to finally track him down to a canal, which runs past a side entrance of Paddington Station, where he intends to overwinter between there and Little Venice. The last time I saw his boat it was essentially a shell tied up to Wigan Pier in the north of England, where he was doing a total overhaul. I remember thinking, thank God its June, when I settled down to sleep on a hastily assembled bed of foam and old blankets; however, just 4 months later I could almost imagine that I had somehow stumbled aboard a chic penthouse flat that just happened to be elongated and rolling ever so slightly in the stiffening breeze that was about to hit almost Hurricane force as it crossed southern England.

Later on I caught myself wondering, not for the first time, if I could ever leave dry land and do the same? I first considered this a few years before I moved to Turkey; but decided it would all be a little too cramped and basic, with a need for lots of maintenance and the endurance of archaic equipment. However, just a few years later advances in materials and the introduction of wire-free technology for many things has allowed the transformation of these boats into much more open and comfortable propositions at a relatively modest cost.

Ever improving technology and a drive for more efficiency has raised many peoples expectations and their thresholds of what is and isn’t acceptable. Knowing my brother I am inclined to believe he would have settled for that boat and lived quite happily in its pre-refurbished state just ten years ago, but he and the world have moved on. Nowadays, I suppose, it is about expectations and also about what we think we should get for our money. This crossed my mind on my flight to London. I had decided not to be a victim of the charter-flight cartels that always seem to charge an exorbitant amount for flights to the UK this time of year just because they know most of us have little choice as they are often the only show in town from places like Bodrum and Dalaman. So when Turkish Airlines offered to fly me there and back at an effective discount of about £110 I thought I had misread the price (which included such things as free baggage and food etc.) So it was almost a no-brainer. Yes it was an hour and a half stopover in Istanbul, but my main reason for hesitating was because my earliest experiences of Turkish were not good ones. Ancient, dirty aeroplanes always late and almost always staffed by surly, unsmiling attendants, who served underwhelming tepid food. However, this week it was as if night had turned to day. New shiny planes with good food served by smiling, well groomed attendants; and we were even 5 minutes early into Gatwick. So now I almost look forward to my return flight with them.

Anyway… sorry, if I seemed to slip into an advert for Turkish Airlines just then, but with the Pound strong against the Lira and the charters still happy to offer the same poor service, they tell us we should be grateful for, despite the add-ons that often eclipse the flat price of the flight itself; I for one will make the most of Turkish, who are now often cheaper than them and the likes of other schedule airlines such as Pegasus, whose surprising response to the stronger pound seemed to be raising its prices instead of dropping them, despite its business being operated in Lira?

A Note on Last weeks post. To say I was surprised by the very positive responses and many direct messages as a result of my post on VOMIT’s would be quite an understatement. Last week this Blog experienced a quadrupling of hits, which was almost matched by a similar percentage increase in subscribers. So thank you, all of you, and a very warm welcome to those of you who did decide to become subscribers. Although I must also confess to being a little phased by that surge and perhaps even suffering a little from performance anxiety; have I accidentally lifted the bar too high too early?! After all what could I possibly follow such a successful post with now? Anyway, let’s see what comes, one week at a time and please never forget what Greg Colbert once said about expectation: Whales do not sing because they have an answer, they sing because they have a song.