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Old Habits
by Ian Curtress

Saw advert on Gumtree for Replica flight. Refreshments served on board
Wear warm coats Very reasonable, transport to airport. I could just afford
Make a change from sitting in the garden looking at the lawn
Transport was a wartime 3 tonner which had been painted fawn
Didn’t know Biggin Hill was still in use, facilities were very few
and the DC3 had not been cleaned since last used in WW2
The seats were long benches and we were clipped on a rail fixed high
I also noticed red and green centre lights and began to wonder why
With options running out I just did as I was told,
buttoned up my jacket they said it would be cold
The pilot looked disheveled, said he wasn’t at his best,
in fact under his bomber jacket I saw a grubby vest
He said once we become accustomed to the noise we’ll all enjoy the flight.
Have good views of the countryside because we couldn’t gain much height.
We had to leave our luggage, there wasn’t anywhere to stack,
but not to worry, said they’d keep it safe. (that’s if we came back)!
Two burley fellows were the cabin staff serving coffee from a flask.
Both were wearing parachutes. Didn’t like to ask
We just about got airborne after two aborts
and although I’m not the nervous type, was having second thoughts.
I am sure our altitude was two hundred feet at the very most
and I began to doubt our getting to the coast.
Thing were now improving, a great relief for me
must have been an updraft rising from the sea
As we approached the Netherlands both the crew stood up
I thought the coffee wasn’t bad I’ll have another cup
But they weren’t serving coffee, just standing by the door.
Looking very serious, not smiling anymore.
The soft light suddenly flickered, just above my head
It was a soft and pleasant green, I’m sure it had been red
Then the pilot said if you look below that’s Nijmegen
The bridge of wartime fame, so many hero’s more than he could name
No one spoke, the cabin had suddenly gone cold.
Cabin crew no longer there just open door, the pilot looking old
With eyes so full of memories, said with a heavy sigh
I knew it was a risk employing them....
Old habits never die.