Last Train (of thought) to Clarkson

ConcordeI’ve just finished the World According to Clarkson and here is the last thoughts of his that I’ll share, I promise. As you can guess from the photo, it’s about Concorde, or rather its final flight.

I feel sorry for the machine itself, It’s sitting in its shed now, wondering what it’s done wrong. Why did it not fly yesterday and why is there no sense that it will fly today? Why is nobody tinkering with its engines and vacuuming its carpets?

And what was that last flight all about? Why were so many people taking photographs and why, after 27 years, did every single one of Heathrow’s 30,000 employees turn out to watch it do what it was designed to do?

I like to think that a machine does have a heart and a soul. I like to think of them as ordinary people think of dogs. They cannot read or write or understand our spoken words. But they understand what we’d like them to do in other ways. Go left. Go right. Go faster. Sit. Lie.

So go ahead. Thinks of Concorde as a dog that you’ve had in the family for 27 years. Think of the way it has never let you down. And how thrilled it is when you feed it and pet it and take it out for a walk.

And now try to imagine how that dog would feel if you locked it up one night. And never went back.

26 October 2003

Lump in the throat stuff eh? I know what he means though. Having lived in three houses on the MIA flightpath, we’ve seen it overhead often enough, but never tired of gawping. That we’ll never see it in the air again, well there is a sense of loss. As Clarkson has it, “We had been the last people to fly faster than the speed of sound without a parachute.”

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

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