Ireland, UK

The Irish Dogfather and other world tails

And because our four-legged friends need a holiday too, today we’re flagging up The Irish Dogfather and other world tails.

The Irish Dogfather is every Irish pooch owner’s saviour when they put their minds to a vacation.

And because Rob Walshe and his team know many doggies are home buddies, or home puppies if you will, they will come to your Canine Towers.

Barking from home

Make my Ray: Rob with presenter Ray D’Arcy. http://www.rte.ie

And all for €50, while if your dog is a peregrinating pooch then you can pack their toys and send them around to Dub Rob’s team for €30.

Now what to do with your pet is a very live challenge for holidaymakers which we all recognise.

Rob’s home: A doggie’s favourite place

Our own little bundle of fun Celtic (as in the race) the Cat was an independent wee soul.

And we dare say he would have been able to look after himself.

And miaowing too

Lip-lickin’ good: The cat hospitality service

Our biggest fear was that another family would have fallen in love with him and taken him in when we were away.

And so we would end up sending him away to a cattery which, professional though it was, wasn’t home, or somebody’s home.

Times have changed and now we have cat sitters who will come and stay, allowing you to get away.

We fell upon the catchy Cat in a Flat service where you can book a catty carer from £15 a night.

Lottie’s guide

Bark and breakfast: Lottie’s dog guide

Or you could, of course, take your dogs on holiday with you.

And again there’s help on hand with an English travel colleague from American Travel Fair days, Lottie Gross.

The award-winning writer has brought out a comprehensive, personal and entertaining guide on all things doggie.

With her Dog-friendly Weekend Guides.

We are nations of dog-lovers and have been moving towards getting the hospitality in place which puts our pets first.

So good luck to the Irish Dogfather and other world tails.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

America, Asia, Canada, Central America, Culture, Sport, UK

Queer how offside Qatar is to the world

It’s become a fixture on the party and social calendar in the West but, of course, Pride is a revulsion elsewhere in the world, and in this World Cup year isn’t it queer how offside Qatar is to the world?

Now the football world (a different universe, of course) turned a blind eye to the Emirate’s discrimination and criminalisation of the LGBTQIA community when awarding Qatar the hosting of this winter’s World Cup.

Flagging up an issue: With Qatar

And quite what that’ll mean to LGBTQIA football fans who are wanting to follow their countries’ fortunes then we’ll try here to decipher.

While we all know too that of the hundreds of footballers, coaching staff and officials taking part not one will be LGBTQIA.

And that will get FIFA off the hook… and there won’t be anybody queer in that organisation either.

A word from the sponsors

Take that: The Qataris

Football’s World Cup is, of course, more than a sporting event.

It is a cultural, educational example and the tourist trip football fans have been planning for years.

So make of these welcoming words if you will from Qatari official Major General Abdulaziz Abdullah Ansari

‘If he (a fan) raised the rainbow flag and I took it from him, it’s not because I really want to really take it to really insult him.

‘But to protect him. Because if it’s not me, somebody else around him might attack (him).

‘Watch the game. That’s good. But don’t really come in and insult the whole society because of this.

‘Reserve the room together, sleep together – this is something that’s not in our concern. We are here to manage the tournament.

‘Let’s not go beyond the individual personal things which might be happening between these people… this is actually the concept.’

Right, where do we start? The Major General’s assertion that he really wants to protect ‘them’?

Qatari protection

Sheikh it off: The Qataris

So, protecting them then would be not exposing them to a punishment of up to seven years in prison and a fine.

And the possibility of death penalty if you are indigenous.

Of course this is for men because just like in Victorian Britain lesbianism wasn’t even considered thing despite upper-class society’s obsession with all things Classical where the Sapphists were chronicled.

Maybe here too Major General you might think.

About criminalising the people who would attack an innocent person simply because which sex they love.

And then what about their concession to gay visitors that they can ‘reserve the room together, sleep together’?

Well evidence this very year has shown that FIFA recommended hotels in Qatar are actively refusing to accommodate same-sex couples.

Or ‘these people’ as the Major General calls them.

Of course it’s not as if we hadn’t been warned.

Bla, bla Blatter

Out of touch: Sepp Blatter

That bastion of integrity, former FIFA chief Sepp Blatter had thought it all a big joke.

When he was asked about a lack of gay rights in Qatar shortly after they were selected in 2010… ‘They should refrain from any sexual activities.’

And the Qataris, naturally, must have seen this as a green light.

Because three years later the head of Qatar’s World Cup bid team, Hassan al-Thawadi, said that everybody was welcome at the event, so long as they refrained from public display of affection.

‘Public display of affection is not part of our culture and tradition’.

To which you can justifiably add… and particularly not when you’re holding hands with, or kissing, a member of the same sex.

American continental LGBTI army

The right path: Pride in West Hollywood

We can console ourselves somewhat that the next World Cup will be held in the USA, Canada and Mexico.

Where people are allowed to express themselves and love each other how they want.

Let’s hope too that by then there will be more than one openly gay professional footballer in the English league structure.

And that this is replicated throughout the country.

And that the sports whitewashing by Middle Eastern and Gulf countries who are buying up, or have bought up Europe’s biggest clibs, does not deter LGBTQIA players from coming out.

Now we’ll leave this heavy but necessary subject.

To get back to checking out where I can get my best Pride experience around here in sleepy North Berwick, near Edinburgh.

A Dutch of class

The future is Oranje: The Oranje Army

But before we go, big hats with feathers off.

To the Dutch politician who suggested that the Netherlands national team play in pink rather than their traditional orange, in solidarity with the LGBTI community.

We’ve not heard whether that this is being taken up by the Dutch football federation.

But having partied with the inclusive Oranje Army on the way to Rotterdam to see them play Greece a number of years ago…

We know the supporters’ only rule is that you love Total Football.

    

America, Countries, Europe, Ireland, UK

Anne Frank’s birthday gift and other diaries

And mine’s started ‘Woke up this morning’ (the Bluesman in me), not nearly as observant as Anne Frank’s birthday gift and other diaries.

Eighty years have passed since Otto Frank gave Anne a diary for her 13th birthday in Amsterdam… and the rest is history.

And for the rest of history we have to rely on diarists, and today’s chroniclers, your humble bloggers.

We have, all my favourite Bandanini and Bandanettes, shared in wonderful odysseys, and with Bandanaman at the tiller, that’s obviously meant detours.

A Homer run

Dip your toe into Kythera in Greece

Homer’s Iliad: And isn’t the journey home always better when you’re diverted to exotic destinations?

We think Odysseus though was just using my excuse for His Scary One that it was a working assignment.

To linger longer in the islands of Attica Region such as Kythera…. or Corfu where we honeymooned and Odysseus dallianced.

Byron Alpshausen

Mad, bad, adventurous to know: Byron Country, Switzerland

Lord Byron’s Alpine Journal: And when Byron was exiled from England for getting ‘too close to his family’ where did he go?

To heaven’s ceiling in Interlaken, Switzerland, of course.

And where you can dine at the very hotel, the Hotel Interlaken, the Bad Boy of the Romantics quaffed wine. And this Swiss swisher too.

Where Twain shall meet

Yale, Connecticut

Mark Twain, a Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court: And as prolific a traveller as Connecticut’s Samuel Clemens was this was his most epic journey.

Across 14 centuries and an ocean.

Twain is for many the Father of Modern Travel Writing.

And his home was tantalisingly up the road on my latest trip to New England.

What the Dickens?

Way to go, Joe: With hotel boss Joe at the Hotel Envoy, Boston

Charles Dickens’ American Notes, Pictures from Italy: The Great Victorian Age author of course stripped bare the England of his days.

But his curiosity and enthusiasm to explore the foibles of human nature stretched way beyond that… to America and Italy.

Which just so happen to be two of my favourite countries anywhere in the world.

Dickens was particularly impressed with Boston (good judge) of which he said: ‘Boston is what I would like the whole of the United States to be.’

But he seemed to have a conflicted view of Rome, observing on first viewing that it reminded him of London (no harm there).

But then being captivated by the Colosseum and just as quickly let down by the smallness of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. What the Dickens!

Fits the Bill

Peachy: Georgia

Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods: And, of course, we could pick from any of his vast collection of travel diaries/books.

But we’ll plump for his trek along the Appalachian Trail, probably because we’re jealous.

I know I could persuade the Boss to allow me the five and a half months to walk the 2,100 miles from Maine down to Georgia.

And that’s 14 states, and five states I’ve still to tick off.

Counties to Synge about

My Life’s Traveller: Sadie in Greystones, Co. Wicklow

JM Synge, Travels in Wicklow, West Kerry and Connemara: And full disclosure here, mine have been more in Wicklow.

Although I was captivated by Kerry and Connemara will always be the land of my childhood holidays.

Described as capturing ‘the embers of a dying culture’ and accompanied with drawings by Jack B. Yeats it’s a reminder…

That you can always come home to Ireland.

For today though we share Anne Frank’s birthday gift and other diaries and ask whose are your favourite diaries?

 

 

 

 

America, Asia, Countries, Europe, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

Win win on Ginoisseur Day

Now, just to prove there’s no such thing as a new idea I can’t claim to have coined this… but it’s still win, win on Ginoisseur Day.

I came to gin late in life, piqued by the mid-2020s craze for the juniper.

And the row of gins and their fancy tonics laid out in front of me at Teach Aindi in Monaghan in the Irish Midlands.

They have 101 although time constraints limited us to six.

Not the Grapey One’s drink of choice you understand, though for research purposes, she mineswept the bar.

Unbeknownst to me, but logical as we invented everything else, it was a Scot behind the G&T.

Gee, G&T

Shake it up: Gin cocktails

Gin & Tonic: Doctor George Cleghorn explored in the 19th century if quinine could cure malaria.

The quinine was drunk in tonic water but proved too bitter and so army officers added water, sugar, lime and gin.

Now as my own paper the Daily Record is my go-to for reference I checked out what they recommended.

Although they could have asked me to roadtest them!

But the top three are Arbikie Nadar Gin in Arbroath, Tayside, the Isle of Harris and Kintyre Gin.

Dry and high

Czech me out: At the Bond hotel

Dry Martini: And James Bond’s classic drink of choice before Daniel Craig rebranded him.

We first meet Bond at Casino Royale, or more accurately at the Grandhotel Pupp in Karlovy Vary, Czechia.

Of course the Dry Martini is gin, vermouth, and garnished with an olive or a lemon twist… and shaken not stirred.

The Tom Tom Club

Supersize it: Tom Collins

Tom Collins: And an example of transatlantic co-operation between the UK and USA.

With Jerry Thomas, ‘the father of American mixology’, chronicled the gin, lime juice, sugar and carbonated water drink.

Of course with every British convention that crosses the Atlantic it has lost something in location and John became Jim became Tom.

The Italian Twist

Mine’s a gin: In Bergamo

 

Negroni: And few things disappoint when given the Italian twist.

And grazie to our amici for their one part gin, one part vermouth rosso and one part Campari, garnished with orange peel.

Now it’s been a year and a half since I was last in il bel paese and every drink tastes of a memory.

And mine is Bergamo Citta Alta, the high town in the Lombard city.

Taking the Rickey

The 47th President of America: In Washington DC

Gin Rickey: And being Washington DC this is obviously a capitol drink.

But did you know that it originated in Shoomaker’s Bar in the 1880s by bartender George A. Williamson?

Purportedly in collaboration with Democratic lobbyist Colonel Joe Rickey.

The bartender is said to have added a lime to the Civil War veteran’s ‘mornin’s morning.’

It is a daily dose of Bourbon with lump ice and Apollinaris sparkling mineral water.

The gin twist? Well, that came from the popularity of the Chicago Exposition of 1893.

And in particular the Japanese rickshaw… and then the gin rickey with gin growing in popularity.

And that means it’s a win win on Ginoisseur Day.

 

 

 

Adventure, Countries, Europe, Sustainable Tourism, UK

150 years of swish Switzrailand

And as Britain’s trains career off the tracks with mortgage-price fares and looming strikes here’s where they do it properly… 150 years of swish Switzrailand.

1847 was when the first Swiss train route, the Swiss Northern Railway, opened between Zurich and Baden, and nicknamed the Spanisch Brotli Bahn.

Because previously gentry’s servants had to set out from Baden at midnight on foot with Spanish buns.

Bun ride

Poster boys: For the railways

The buns are a light, flaky pastry filled with a mix of roasted, crushed hazelnuts and apricot jam.

And they were apparently derived from those made in Spanish-ruled Milan during the 17th century.

Bun fight: For the Spanish buns

The new line took just 45 minutes to traverse the 20km route, just a little more than it takes me to get from North Berwick to Edinburgh.

And this is more challenging Swiss terrain and 150 years ago.

I know Swiss trains from my ride in the country from Interlaken.

And observed that they’re priced at the wherewithal of you and me with the Swiss Pass and not the gentry.

Even the ones, the unique ones, that scale the Eiger… the tallest railway ride in Europe, the Jungfraujoch.

Swiss funday and fondue

Only one Ondine: Ondine restaurant in Edinburgh

All of which reminisces we shared as we reconnected with our Swiss amis in the en vogue Ondine restaurant in Edinburgh.

Take the two-hour Luzern-Interlaken Express whose rails we rode taking in five crystal-clear mountain lakes.

Only way is up: On the Jungfraujoch

And for those of you of the trainspotter penchant (that’s my father-in-law Casey Jones) then here’s the science…

Shortly before starting its steep, winding ascent to Brünig Pass.

And there the train changes to cogwheel drivetrain technology in order to conquer the gradient.

On the right track

Swiss misses: With Fran, Myriam… and Bobby

Trains, in truth, are a joy in many countries across Europe and as easy as American pie on Amtrak in the States.

Fat as a lord and lubricated with the best white Swiss wine and brimming with the latest Swiss advances we went out into the daylight.

And paid homage to Edinburgh’s most famous son, Freeman of the City of Edinburgh Greyfriars Bobby.

Before thinking about catching the train to North Berwick… I’m just back!

Not a worry they’ve ever had in 150 years of swish Switzrailand.

 

 

 

 

 

Countries, UK

Glasgow’s Necropolis is pure dead brilliant

Well, if it’s good enough for The Batman… aye, Glasgow’s Necropolis is pure dead brilliant.

Oh, by the way and ‘a that… that’s Glasgow speak.

Now you can live all your young life in a place and never visit its historic sites even when you are a historian.

Dear Green Place: Glasgow from the Necropolis

And Glasgow’s Necropolis atop the hill above Glasgow Cathedral is where they buried the Great and Good and the Merchants.

So you’ll see The Tobacco Lords who made Glasgow the Second City of Empire.

And the Merchants after which the Merchant City district is named.

The Titans of Protestantism

Opportunity Knox: John Knox at the Necropolis

 

And the titans of Protestantism, credited for giving the citizens the Protestant Work Ethic.

Which they used to create wealth and prosperity.

Chief among them, of course, is the floppy capped, long of beard John Knox.

You might know him from the movie Mary Queen of Scots.

Or his page-turner, The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women aimed at the aforesaid Catholic Mary.

Knox stands defiantly above all the other monuments in the Necropolis at 12ft and 58ft in total, taking in the podium.

It is a gift during the Victorian Age from the people of Glasgow.

With a glowing inscription on its base describing his many achievements.

A disciple of Luther

The original: Luther in Dresden

Knox, of course, was a disciple of Martin Luther’s who stands proudly in front of the Frauenkirche in Dresden in his native Saxony.

But as is the way with his disciple Knox now larger in death, or at least in my home town.

As too is King William III, aka of Orange, or King Billy, who is immortalised in bronze down from the Necropolis.

Billy Boy: King Billy

To mark the Tercentenary of the Glorious Revolution.

When he rid Scotland of Catholicism, King James VII, and II of the United Kingdom.

A Catholic riposte

Family ties: With the Son and Heir at the Gates

In a touch of irony in this divided city, a bastion of Catholicism rises from the East End where the Irish Immigrants gathered.

They have nicknamed Celtic Park, home of Glasgow Celtic, Paradise because it is built next to a graveyard too.

And it spells it out on the stadium when you turn from the downtown shot of the city centre.

We Glaswegians have come to learn to wear different hats when needed.

And so to the story of an Irish immigrant from nationalist Co. Donegal who was only intending to stop here to nurse for six months.

But who fell for the charms of a Glaswegian medical student and stayed for 65 years.

An adopted Scot

Mad Hatter: My wee Irish Mammy

Here she is wearing the colours of an adopted country but retaining the thickest Irish brogue.

All of which may be the type of random thoughts that run through your mind.

When you’re standing with your home city under your feet.

Aye, Glasgow’s Necropolis is pure dead brilliant.

 

 

America, Countries, Pilgrimage, UK

The man who walks 1000 miles

And John Muir would walk 500 miles, and John Muir would walk 500 more, to be the man who walks 1000 miles to fall down at your bar.

Scot John Muir, the Father of America’s National Parks, famously walked 1000 miles from Indiana to Florida in 1867, aged 29.

The great naturist, from Dunbar, went walkabout to explore the natural world and chronicle it in his book A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf.

For the rest of us we can walk in the Great Man’s footsteps today… and without even leaving our own country.

If our own homeland is his, Scotland.

Muir’s the Merrier

Walk this way: And an ostrich away to stick his head in the sand, near Dunbar

The John Muir Way runs 134 miles from Helensburgh on the west coast to Muir’s hometown of Dunbar in the east.

Now I’m billeted by the John Muir Way in sleepy North Berwick, I joined the trail here, 13.2 miles out.

With three other fitter Fiftysomethings.

And one namesake Jimmy, for whom this was a stroll in the park.

He had climbed a Munro, a mountain over 3000ft, which we Scots like to bag.

And of which there are 282, the highest of which is Ben Nevis which at 4411ft is the highest in Britain.

Come on Nature

Sweet: Dougie keeps us refuelled with Tipsy Truffle sweets

And so with the wind at our backs, the Firth of Forth to our left, and the Bass Rock as our reference point we set out on our 5-hour hike.

Only interrupted on the narrow paths by cyclists we held the advantage.

Of being able to catch up and talk to each other

And to take in the joys of nature which so inspired Muir with the herons a highlight.

Platinum Disc: John Muir Way

Plenty of sheep too (well, this is Scotland), which would have displeased Muir who took against them for spoiling the Sierra.

Tagging them ‘walking locusts’ he termed them thus:

‘A sheep can hardly be called an animal; an entire flock is required to make one foolish individual.’

Nor would Muir have recognised the ostriches or llamas, exotic wildlife taken to Scotland to entertain families at such as the East Links Family Park.

Thirsty work

Parklife: The East Links Family Park, near Dunbar

The Park is a good marker for walkers, between the Belhaven Bridge and Brewery.

As it’ll let you know that you’re almost there.

There’s still work to do though when you get to Dunbar, a longish walk up Shore Road to the High Street.

And in the week that’s in it that means gauging how much interest, or otherwise, there is.

In the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

So that’ll be some bunting, bizarrely a full-sized cardboard cut-out of the Queen in someone’s hallway.

And also Christmas decorations (unlit) which some poor guy has doubtless promised to take down.

And is being nagged mercilessly about it.

Put him on a podium: The John Muir Statue, Dunbar

Refuel too with chocolate (you deserve it) at the newly-opened The Tipsy Truffle

And I recommend the Bass Rock, beautifully shaped and light and dreamy.

For those of us who don’t have a lift and need to get home the Dunbar train takes you into Edinburgh in just 24 minutes.

The Man: John Muir

Time it though so you can have a cheeky craft beer pint at the charming Station Yard.. mine’s a PeelyWally IPA.

Now relubricating is one of the rewards of a long walk.

And I recall a very different experience with CanariaWays in Afur in Tenerife at the end of a baking hot day.

When our bar was a General Franco time capsule.

And a few miles more

Friends across the water: John Muir’s Birthplace Museum, Dunbar

And so (deep breath) it’s the day after and recovery time.

If I am the man who walks 1000 miles I’ll need to rest up…

I’ve another 987 to go, or 121 if it’s the Scots John Muir Way.

 

America, Countries, Europe, Music, UK

Five concerts to escape the Platinum Jubilee

And continuing our series, and because we’re not all pliant subjects, here are five music concerts to escape the Platinum Jubilee.

Queen’s domain

Ready, Freddie go: Freddie Mercury

Live Aid, 1985: And the generational music festival from Wembley, London, for the Ethiopian Famine Relief when Freddie Mercury and Queen stole the show.

From the moment Status Quo kicked off we were rockin’ all over the world.

While Prince, Lionel Ritchie, Madonna et al put Philadelphia on the pop mark.

Stardust in Woodstock

Hippy shake: Woodstock

Woodstock, 1969: Before all that Yasgur’s Farm in upstate New York broke the mould for music fests and climaxed the Sixties.

Joni Mitchell famously had to miss Woodstock because of the NY traffic but bequeathed her song for Matthews Southern Comfort.

You don’t have to… you can drown out the God Save the Queen’s with Jimi Hendrix’s electric version of the Stars and Stripes.

Up Pompeii

In the Pink: Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd at Pompeii: And the kings of stadium rock would never play at the local ground when Classical sites would do.

The ambient super group set the pattern at Pompeii for the rest, one we fully endorse.

Well, in best Travel fashion, we wish you were here.

Rocks in the Rockies

Red Rocks: Of course, the New World has its natural wonders too.

And Red Rocks hasn’t escaped the notice of rock’n’roll royalty.

With everyone from The Beatles through U2 to OneRepublic (in front of yours truly and a private audience) playing there in Denver.

Glasto blasto

Hello from me: Adele

Glastonbury: Now there have been many claimants to the crown of Queen of Glastonbury.

Beyoncé, the Queen Bey herself, Dolly Parton and the diva of divas Shirley Bassey.

Adele famously broke the record for f-bombing, cussing 33 times in her 90-minute sets.

Now that won’t happen at the Queen’s lovebomb.

Better then, sit back and watch these five… concerts to escape the Platinum Jubilee.

And like London buses there will be another couple of lists along over the next few days.

 

America, Countries, Culture, Europe, UK

Five films to escape the Platinum Jubilee

And because we’re not all pliant subjects here are five films to escape the Platinum Jubilee.

And other ideas will follow through the week.

Historical

Life is a Cabaret: Berlin

Cabaret: And because it’s only the best film ever made.

Daddy’s Little Girl was my proxy in Berlin this past week where she partied at the KitKat Club, named for the Cabaret burlesque club.

From the opening credits of the MC and Sally Bowles singing Wilkommen you will be drawn into 1930s Nazi Berlin.

It is musical, historical, tragic and comic. In a word it is Magic.

Comical

The talk: Jim and his Dad in the Great Lakes

American Pie: And this is like having to choose your favourite child (btw, it’s the one who buys you the biggest gift).

Who can pass Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, Some Like It Hot, Gregory’s Girl, Monty Python and The In Betweeners?

But on the grounds that there are three of these.

Then the classic coming of age trilogy on the Great Lakes will keep you occupied, smiling and gorging in American Pie. Whisper it but Los Angeles doubles for East Great Falls.

Mysterious

Kathy’s no clown: Fried Green Tomatoes in Georgia

Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle Stop Cafe: And the title lives up to its billing in this Deep South Classic from Juliette, Georgia.

Juliette, 56 miles from Atlanta, is where the action takes place and you can still visit The Whistle Stop Cafe.

And no, they don’t put on a barbecue.

Feelgood

Feline better: A Street Cat Named Bob

A Street Cat Named Bob: Now we’ve all binged on movies on transatlantic flights… and often fallen asleep during some.

And a tip here… if you’ve worked out that you can fit in three movies, always pick the one you least want to watch as the last in case you do nod off.

I’m glad to say that I picked A Street Cat Named Bob as my first movie on the way over to LA… and cried.

It is set around Covent Garden in London and deals with a drug addict homeless man who is saved by a stray cat. And it proves that cats really are better than humans.

Scary

It’ll make you cross: The Exorcist in DC

The Exorcist: And scarier still than the cutesie little girl who turns evil, spins her head and chucks priests down stairs with the power of her mind, is that its true.

The author William Peter Blatty agreed with the family to change the child’s sex from male to female to defend their anonymity.

There are tales too that the actress Linda Blair was psychologically damaged by playing the part.

You can visit the area where it was shot in Washington DC. Head for Georgetown.

So that’s five films to escape the Platinum Jubilee, and we’ll come up with another listicle to plan your altenative Platinum Jubilee weekend.

 

 

America, Countries, Flying, UK

Fly me, I’m Norse, London to New York

And for those of us of a certain age they’ll remember Fly me, I’m Freddie, and Laker Airways… and fly me, I’m Norse, London to New York is the latest plane on the transatlantic runway.

It is no exaggeration to say that Freddie Laker’s Skytrain revolutionised the skies.

When he burst onto the scene 45 years ago, and brought the world to the common man and woman.

Norse power: Norse Atlantic Airways

Because we wouldn’t have seen low-budget carriers Ryanair and EasyJet unless Freddie had boldly gone before.

We’ll dip in and out of Freddie’s legacy here but the trigger for revisiting transatlantic travel is the launch of Norse’s £200return fares from London to New York, from August 12.

Bjorn again

Norse Atlantic Airways are going where Norwegian Airlines and others have gone before.

And they are being powered by former Norwegian Airlines boss Bjorn Tore Larsen.

Larsen said: “We are very pleased to now be able to welcome customers looking to book great value flights between London Gatwick and New York JFK.

“Customers now have an affordable option allowing them to book a last-minute trip or a holiday of a lifetime with an airline that offers choice and flexibility.”

Now I didn’t have first-hand experience of flying Norwegian Airlines.

Although I have flown a plane into JFK on Turkish Airlines’ flight simulator and very near landed on the runway?

I did send a colleague over for a Norwegian Airlines flight overnight and a Christmas shopping mall trip.

Overnighter to NY

Freddie, steady go: Freddie Laker

All of which the bould Eoin did manfully and returned bleary-eyed.

Although not I can recall with anything for the kind editor who had sent him.

That aside, and back to low-budget transatlantic flights.

And Freddie’s story is a familiar one across all businesses.

Where a new competitor brings the prices down and the more established operators follow suit.

And the consumer is a winner but the price war puts a strain on the bottom line and ultimately not everyone can survive.

Amid the fall-out new entrepreneurs come on stream, low-budget airlines return and find their place in the market.

The legacy

Hands up, baby hands up: For Ryanair

And that is why we have Ryanair and EasyJet today.

There are challenges, of course, fuel increasingly burns more and more money.

For those who want to make a living flying us long distances.

So yes, we’d support more choice and competition in the air and say Fly me, I’m Norse, London to New York.

And we are looking forward too to them opening up other transatlantic destinations.