Gli Espatriati

I am reading a book by David Nicholls called Starter For Ten which for the Brits amongst you will ring bells as the way each round of the quiz University Challenge starts. The book is a humorous look at a young university student who indeed aspires to go on the programme. On the train heading for his fresher term he imagines himself sitting in his room surrounded by intelligent students and using long words all of which I had to use Kindle dictionary to understand.

One such word was solipsism which in case you don’t know means being self centred and selfish. Further research on the word led me to expatriate solipsism .

Expatriate solipsism is defined as arriving in a foreign destination one had hoped was undiscovered only to find many people there just like oneself and peevishly refusing to talk to the self same people !

It is more difficult to define expatriates ( gli espatriati ) . My own is a person that lives in an area where the local supermarket or shop doesn’t sell marmite. Such deprivation instantly confers upon you the title an expatriate. Places where one can buy marmite easily  people should not refer to themselves as expatriates but merely  persons who are living in a little Britain away from home. For the Americans reading this I guess maybe peanut butter  would be the same ? But maybe not.

Living in Puglia would therefore qualify a person to refer to himself on trips back to the mother country and when chatting to tourists visiting Puglia as an expat.

Purists however might believe that a real expat title is only conferred on people facing daunting deprivation and would raise the bar to a place where the local shop doesn’t sell Digestive biscuits . Under this scenario everyone in Puglia loses their title as probably would much of the world. I would years ago have said to the American readers think Oreo cookies but I think they are now everywhere aren’t they?

The reason I have been missing in action from this blog for a week or so is because I am researching British European Airways for an idea I have had about writing about BEA and British Airways based on the stories my father told me of the early days of BEA and my own later experiences of BEA and British Airways. The books about these two airlines that I have seen are as dry as say rye crisp bread ( maybe another definition for expatriate one who cannot buy Ryvita) . They miss the humour and the endless funny stories that the airlines generated.

I am busy with the Vickers Viscount at the moment which my old man did a great deal of proving flights on. He also raced one in the Greatest Air Race ever the London to Christchurch New Zealand air race this month in 1953. His Viscount took 40 hrs 40mins to complete the journey.


He was one of the three pilots and also on board for the BBC was Raymond Baxter who filed radio reports for the BBC  plus the UK minister for Aviation no less, John Profumo later to star in the Christine Keeler affair


that bought down the government. He sportingly agreed to be the chef/steward on the flight as there could be no passengers .

One of the dry airline books also reports my fathers first and only Viscount crash at Blackbushe Airport when on take off for a training flight the entire control column jammed and the plane went on through the perimeter fence and into a field instead of leaping into the air. It doesn’t record the fact that the three flight crew evacuated the aircraft as the fire service arrived to put out the fire that had started and who feared the full tanks of fuel would go up but fought their way back past the protesting firemen and onto the flight deck again to retrieve their raincoats that they had forgotten. Raincoats were the only article of the uniform that pilots had to buy themselves  in those days

It is amazing what you can find out on the web these days. The Raymond Baxter recordings apparently still exist and are in the BBC archives and the aircraft in the photo was  cut into two sections at Wisley, Surrey, England 1961. The rear section was transferred to Weybridge, Surrey, England for BAC One-Eleven engine installation trials in 1961. The front fuselage section was transferred to the Ministry of Aviation Fire fighting School at Stansted Airport, Essex, England in August 1963.

The front fuselage section was later broken up for scrap. The rear fuselage section was  in the middle of Weybridge airfield joined to a hut that had a BAC One-Eleven nose at one end and the Viscount rear section at the other. The tail section was used for BAC One-Eleven APU trials in 1975. Only the BAC One-Eleven nose section was attached to the hut in June 1976 so the Viscount rear fuselage section had presumably been scrapped before then.




About hereinpuglia

Retired to Puglia after some 40 years in the travel industry working for P&O Lines, British Airways, Alamo rent-a-car,Abercrombie&Kent, owner of Quest Tours and Travel and finally with Thomas Cook North America. Married to Geraldine we now have a small house with too much land near the town of Martina Franca in Puglia. Two kids one married and living in Hong Kong and the other single and living in London. No dogs, no cats no animals.
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