Although we were entirely off course and several miles from our destination Timpson lowered the undercarriage. the approach was, by any standards rather quicker than recommended and the speed we lost altitude was less than reassuring.
I think it was probably the wing tip striking the Oriole window of the Gothic building on the corner of Dover street that slewed the plane and steered it directly into the Davenport Hotel. The front south face of the hotel just crumbled to bits, possibly shoddy 19th century building techniques affected the structure. We had broken through into the third story cocktail lounge and by golly the place was in a real mess. Bill reckoned that we may as well have a drink whilst we were there, the service was really bad and we finished up serving ourselves. Finding an unbroken glass was a bit of a challenge and all the Gordon's bottles were smashed so we settled for London Dry. Eric found some tonic so we took a very needed drink.
I, in all my time as a frequent visitor of cocktail bars, have never seen one more unattractive than the Davenport third floor bar. There was broken glass everywhere, in fact broken everything and perhaps the most discouraging of all were the dead bodies strewn about. It was hard to realise that only one or two minutes ago the place had a five star rating.
We had not had many passengers and I was beginning to think, Bill's idea of not warning the passengers that we were making an early touchdown was a good idea. It would not have been easy trying to calm ninety four terrified people, fortunately so few survived the impact that the inconvenience was only slight. One of the survivors was a wretched kid that started howling her head off just after landing. Bill gave her one of the packets of crisps that were scattered around, Walkers Crisps I believe. The kids mother had been in the can as we landed and judging by the state of that part of the aeroplane, would be there for some time.
The emergency services arrived and turned what was a chaotic scene into mayhem. I have never seen such scampering about climbing over this and that, and the shouting was intolerable. Next on the scene, who else but the media, and we knew they were there, here, even before they had got out of their vehicles they were in everyone's way.
Now, like any other normal man, I can understand people getting upset and losing control, but really some people make a bit of a meal of it, I guess they are hoping to be interviewed by the media.
I'd had enough and when Eric started bleating about the money he'd wasted on the Spurs game he was going to miss, I told him buying a ticket for a Spurs game was always a waste of money.
Bill said he knew a pub just round the corner from the building that caused all the trouble in the first place, conveniently forgetting to pay for the drinks we retired to the Queen Catherine.