Apr 25, 2009


Morley's hometown has a very special relationship with the Concorde: the facility where these amazing aircraft were built is just minutes from Morley's mum's house and many people in the area, including Morley's dad, worked there.

After one of the Concordes crashed outside Paris in 2000, the decision was made (by the wimpy French) to retire the entire fleet. On the last day of service every Concorde in the world made one last flight, arriving in London at the same time to land one right after the other. One of them paid special tribute to Bristol on its way to London by flying over the facility where they had been built and wagging its wings in salute to the Bristolians gathered below to pay their last respects.

Morley's mum is very attached to the Concorde. She tells great stories about the days when she would stand in her back garden watching it in test flight overhead, but she had only seen them from afar, never up close and personal. So on her 80th birthday we fixed that--we arranged for her to tour the Concorde that had been donated to the Bristol area for a museum that is in the works (it might be open by now for all I know).

She had no idea where we were taking her but as soon as we pulled up to the Filton facility she guessed what we were up to. She was delighted.

The volunteers who gave her the tour made a big deal of it being her birthday. They ceremoniously waved her onboard where she had it all to herself for a few minutes to soak up the swanky leather smell and luxurious interior, then they invited her to have her photo taken in the seat by the Mach 2 sign that used to light up when the airplane broke the sound barrier.

The volunteers who take care of the Concorde keep everything exactly as it was when the plane was in service, right down to the fine linens and china dinnerware. There was no "first class" service on Concorde--every seat was "supersonic class".

By the way, the bathrooms looked like normal airplane bathrooms except for fresh flowers and marble countertops--but how often do you get to take a whizz going faster than the speed of sound?

1 comment:

  1. Determined to write to you EVERY day while you're gone!

    Loved this post and the tour of the Concorde. I was so sorry (and so was our aviation enthusiast, The Wild Man) when they retired the Concorde. Travesty I believe. Your MIL looks darling!