Ships were good. Ships had decks. You could go outside and get fresh air. You could watch Ireland disappear and Wales appear, or vice versa. Perhaps, more frequently, you could stare out into the greyness and the rain. But, no matter the weather, the air was fresh.
Aeroplanes don’t have the option of standing outside, a breath of fresh air means fiddling around with one of those silly nozzles in the hope that the slight movement of air felt with the hand might reach the face. This is can be entirely inadequate!
A Dublin bound flight from Bristol where half the passengers are returning revellers from the Glastonbury Festival is not a pleasant experience. There seems to be no notice at check-in about carrying aromas. Even worse is to fly in the other direction after Wales have played in Dublin. Many of the red shirt wearing fans seemed not to have any luggage at check-in, they had the clothes in which they stood. Some seemed to have come straight from bars for the 6.25 am flight. A plane filled with beery breath, sweat and flatulence makes one long for the times when it took a whole day to be able to change at Crewe for a southbound train.
Close confinement with body odours now brings out a Meldrew-like aversion to civilisation.
Perhaps we always smelt, or perhaps the decline in physical activity has caused us to perspire more easily than we once did. There are still workers who can carry out the most arduous tasks without a sign of perspiration and sportsmen who can still run literally without breaking a sweat.
When a friend phoned yesterday to arrange going to see Springsteen tonight, there was only one choice about where to stand.
“Near the back”, I said, “I need space!”