Well, that was a new experience. A long time flying devotee, airports and airplanes have always been places where I enjoyed a drink. Or two… or more.

We arrive at the airport early, two teenage travellers and their 50-something parents. Fumble and fuss, fuss and fumble until we are all sorted out and can take a seat.

Read a book, read and do not think about it! I’m reading a quit lit classic, in fact, Clare Pooley’s Sober Diaries and that certainly helps.

I realise that I have usually drunk at airports when in the Qantas or Emirates lounge where the drinks are FREE – and you’d never expect a Scot to pass up that sort of an offer. This time we are Vietnam Airlines economy and there’s no hope of a free anything!

The bushfires in New South Wales have been burning for weeks. The plane climbs above the smoke haze and we fly above plumes of smoke. As the sun sets, there’s a red glow from below, the fires still burning.

The plane takes us north, beyond Australia’s further escarpments and floodplains and over the Timor Sea. A blood red moon hovers between smoky grey slipstream clouds. I finish The Sober Diaries, which I have hugely enjoyed as I relate to the author so much.

And off to go, water, tonic water, tea and coffee, and more books… and the flight is fine.

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