Susie Rushton: Spare me the hum please, Mr Hoon

Urban Notebook: Never so loud as to actually disrupt thoughts, the sound of Boeings and Airbuses sigh and groan in the sky

Share
Related Topics

In our living room, at the front of a north-facing flat, I can hear birdsong. But in the bedroom, at the back of the house, I fall asleep and wake to the same sound each day: it begins as a soft whistle, blowing through the clouds, neither birdlike nor mechanical in character. Gradually, its pitch develops into a bassy rumble, a rolling growl and finally, four or five seconds later, fades altogether.

After 20 seconds, the whistling begins again and the little tune repeats. Never so loud as to actually disrupt thoughts, or stop me from dropping off, the sound of Boeings and Airbuses sighing and groaning in the sky as they glide into Heathrow isn't entirely unpleasant. But still, it's a small relief when at 11.30pm, the sound halts.

The first plane of the day, meanwhile, wakes me at 6.30am, although those living in Wandsworth report a route overhead begins at 4.30am – and the proposed 30 per cent increase in night flights would surely mean a similarly brutal start to the day. On the scale of noise pollution, with Sipson residents enduring a high of 10, our spot on the Heathrow flight path registers a level two. But that, Geoff Hoon, is enough for me.

Fergus's just deserts

Congratulations to chef Fergus Henderson, who has just received his first Michelin star for St John, his austerely all-white restaurant just a pig's carcass's throw from Smithfield Market in London. A rule-beaker and innovator, as well as a natural wit, Henderson opened St John in 1994 with a philosophy of "nose-to-tail" cuisine – in other words, the consumption of all the bits of a beast, from gelatinous trotters to crispy ears.

I've eaten some strange but delicious platefuls there – I remember an alarmingly tender roast kid – and some plain delicious ones, like a simple starter of soft-boiled gull's eggs, sprinkled with celery salt. The dining experience is refreshingly free of frills and furbelows: tablecloths are plain paper, wine glasses stubby-stemmed.

The inspectors have obviously been chewing the fat on this one for a while – St John has been a notable Michelin oversight for many years. "I never really expected it," Henderson said on the phone yesterday, with his usual amiable modesty, "They usually go more for white linen and 15 glasses on a table." Will the star change St John? "Well, maybe we'll put more glasses on the table, more doodahs." Please don't!

Come on Kate, get with it

Yesterday was supposed to be the most depressing day of the year. But I spared a thought for Kate Moss, right, who was presumably nursing a bad hangover after her three-day medieval-themed birthday bender in St John's Wood, attended by Meg Mathews, Sadie Frost and the police (twice called out to turn the music down). Girls don't get more fashionable than Moss. But that guest-list, the Cristal, the bacchanalia – it's so 2005.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Labour leader Ed Miliband unveils Labour's pledges carved into a stone plinth in Hastings  

Election 2015: Smash the two-party system! Smash the voting system!

Armando Iannucci
Tactical voting is a necessary evil of the current first-past-the-post system, where voters vote against what they do not want rather than in favour of what they do  

Election 2015: Voting tactically has become more fraught in new political order

Michael Ashcroft
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before