Many years ago, I had a family of blue tits nesting in a bird box nailed to the back wall of my inner city garden. It was a one egg family. For weeks, I watched chick tit spend its formative days with its tiny beak permanently poking out of the little round hole as Mummy tit and Daddy tit embarked on a never-ending feeding frenzy of tit bits. Eventually, chick tit grew into a fattened teenage tit. I was lucky enough to be working at home on the day it got its wings and I watched the launch from the window of my back bedroom. The doting parents took up position on opposite fences, tweeting melodiously to lure their offspring from the warm comfort of the nest. Now and again, they would show off with a cocky cabaret of aerial acrobatics. Teenage tit tentatively balanced its body on the ledge of the box to watch the flypast, nervously flapping its wings and preening its new-season plumage. After an agonising wait – which had me with my nose pressed hard up against the pane – teenage tit took the plunge, firing itself into the air like a rogue missile. I swear that its eyes must have been firmly shut; it shot straight towards me and slammed into the window like a bullet, just inches from my face. I got quite a start. Unfazed by its unguided maiden flight, teenage tit flew off into sky, never to be seen again.
You may wonder why I mention this tit chick flick, tender and delightful though it is. Well, we’re all forced to fly at some time in our lives, none more so than the courageous souls who migrate to greener pastures. Some stay the course and some don’t, but all have a tale to tell. Those who have tried know that it’s not all wine and song. The best of us brave the blunders with humour and insight. Ladies and Gentleman, I give you Forced to Fly, a delicious compilation of wit and wisdom from those in the know. And, I’m not just saying that because I’m in it. As writer and editor-in-chief, Jo Parfitt, says:
“Everyone knows that laughter is the best medicine, but Forced to Fly is more than a collection of funny stories about seeing the funny side of the day-to-day blunders we all make. It is packed with stories that resonate with anyone who has lived abroad. Its opening chapters, written by experts, counsellors and real-life expats who have struggled with culture shock, will provide support and advice to guide you through any dark patches.”