Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, attend a reception hosted by the Governor General of The Bahamas on the seventh day of their tour of the Caribbean, at Baha Mar Resort, in Nassau, Bahamas, March 25, 2022. Paul Edwards/Pool via REUTERS | POOL

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There were two shocking airline stories reported last week, one with a far more tragic outcome than the other. The first was the doomed China Eastern flight that crashed into a mountainside in the Guanxi region of China killing all 123 passengers and nine crew.
Miraculously, two passengers due to join the aircraft, narrowly escaped death.

One had suddenly re-booked her flight for the following day as she needed to take a Covid test, and a 24-year-old man had asked for a refund at the gate when he learnt that his connecting flight had been cancelled. Much as one feels relief that these two lucky individuals survived through a quirk of fate, it must have offered cold comfort to those whose loved ones perished on the plane.

Meanwhile, a loud-mouthed and deranged female passenger ran amok on a Jet2 flight bound for Turkey. Not only did she threaten the crew and slap passengers but tried to pull open the aircraft’s door. I think this would be an impossible feat for a mere passenger but all the same, it must have terrified the other poor customers.

Thanks to her appalling behaviour, caused apparently because she disliked babies crying during the flight, the plane had to be diverted to Vienna where this particular ‘baggage’ was unceremoniously unloaded. Jet2 has rightly banned her from flying with them for life and she was handed over a £5,000 fine. This would no doubt have come as a severe disappointment to her as she was heading to Turkey to buy a set of cheap, bright-white veneers (in Katie Price style) for £3,000. It may be some time, therefore before she can afford a new set of gnashers, and it serves her jolly well right.

Caribbean Blues

As was to be expected, the Royal tour in the Caribbean has been conducted with grace and diplomacy by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. However, the entire trip, despite Kate’s radiant smiles and Vogue-worthy wardrobe of fabulous gowns, has been mired by controversy. The poor royal couple were rather hung out to dry by those who’d organised the visit at the palace back in Blighty.

Forced to change schedules due to protests, William had to make awkward speeches, mia culpa style, apologising for Britain’s colonial past and historic slave trade. This should never have happened and it would have been much more positive to look to the future rather than dwell on the past.

We now live in a hand-wringing society that constantly walks forward with its head forever turned backwards. Just writing that reminds me of a haunting line from Walt Whitman’s epic Leaves of grass. This indulgent guilt trip must stop if we want to progress as a society. We cannot keep blaming ourselves for the sins of the past as it will continuously trip us up and we’ll never move on. We should acknowledge those mistakes, understand why they occurred and ensure that they never happen again.

It must have made for a tense sojourn for both William and Kate as they flitted from Jamaica to the Bahamas and onto Belize. It can sometimes be grating to see media images of pretty royals in frocks when the world lurches from crisis to crisis but we have to understand that this is part of royal life.

Much as Kate and William seem to be grinning at cameras all day long and having a lovely time pretending to play drums or doing the shimmy-shake with the locals by night, the whole experience must be deeply exhausting and fraught, given the political tensions. I bet both would rather be home in the UK, reading bedtime stories to their nippers.

Maybe it is time for these countries to become republics to suit the modern times and no doubt they will when our dear Queen departs this world. Surely she has been the main motivation for why these islands have still remained aligned with the old country? Rather than force the Cambridges to make these toe-curling tours, it’s maybe best to call it a day and leave these countries to paddle their own canoe. Then, if they get into deep water along the way, it’ll be for them to sort out their own problems.

Family nonsense

Apparently Nigella Lawson is keen on including family expressions and in-jokes while presenting her TV cooking shows. I find it quite reassuring that we’re not the only family that has multiple ridiculous expressions and malapropisms though I’m not sure I’d want to share them with millions of viewers.

We have a completely insane language in our family and all of us have multiple names. My sister usually calls me Mrs Q (Mrs Quick) and she is EC1 but there are so many more. All of the animals have several names and each has their own tailored song with individualised lyrics which I sing to them each day. As a dog might say, yep, totally barking.

There are those historic expressions that linger in the family that record silly events while on holiday or misinterpretations. We also have a lot of Celtic expressions mostly from my Irish grandmother. Two of my favourites are ‘here’s a penny, go to the next street’ and ‘here’s your hat, where’s your hurry.’ Another inanity in the family is ‘desecrators and artichokes’ for decorators and architects and we refer to yobs, with biting irony, as Aristotelians.

It’s all harmless fun and I’m sure many families mirror our madness. Well, I hope so or nutty Nigella and I are out on our own raft!

Anna Nicholas’s second Mallorca based crime novel, Haunted Magpie, is available from Come In & Llibres Colom in Palma, and at Alameda gift shop in Soller, also at all good UK bookshops & via amazon.