Lone Charlie

This blog picks up as from when we arrived at the airport to fly to Gran Canaria.

The first thing I notice getting off the train and walking into Southend Airport is the Air Traffic Control tower. You can see people in it, that’s how small the airport is and how close you are to it. ‘I’m not sure there’s enough people in there for my liking’, I say, the nervous flyer kicking in. ‘Honey, they don’t just use their eyes, they’ve got like radar, they don’t need loads of people. Besides, you’ve spent your whole career streamlining the numbers of people doing a job’. ‘Yes and if I was rating them on efficiency I’d be happy, but I am rating them on my safety and I’m not’!

We get inside the airport and I start to walk towards the check in desks. ‘No we don’t need to check in, we did it online’, Tony informs me. ‘Oh. It’s amazing just how much of my life happens without me actually knowing’, I say at the same point I’m actually thinking, have we got any Euros?

We head towards the departure lounge. ‘Do you know it only took me 16 minutes to pack my case’? I say proudly. ‘Yer, because you spent most of your time filling up water bowls for the cats’. I laugh out loud, like literally lol.

We get to security and unload our liquids into the clear plastic bags. I fill up three. ‘Jeez, how much have you got? You don’t need your bar of soap in there or your makeup brush with powder in it. Take them out’. ‘No, you do, it’s liquid’. ‘What liquid in solid form…you’ve got half your bloody suitcase in them’. ‘Yer, well my suitcase is like a fine wine. It matures over time. I add shit to it each time I travel’. In the queue there are three separate double takes from people looking at the bags I am struggling to hold, each one spewing it’s contents out like its vomiting. One of the double takers is a woman in security, already eyeing me up. Still, I am happy at her level of diligence.

There’s a constant VT with a voice over playing saying, ‘in order to enjoy your security experience, please take your shoes off, your belt, blah blah blah’. I laugh, ‘in order to enjoy your security experience. It’s hardly a red letter day. Can you imagine. Merry Christmas honey, I got you a security experience at Southend airport’. ‘Ridiculous’, Tony agrees. ‘Like we will be remembering this for some time to come and saying throughout the rest of our life…do you remember the time we went to security at Southend airport. It was such a great experience’. We laugh. ‘What’s so funny is look, no-one is actually listening to the VT, they are all wearing belts and boots and being told to take them off and holding the queue up’, I joke.

We go through security and the security woman who’d been eyeing up my bags asks why I have so many. I neglect to tell her it’s because my bag is a fine wine. ‘Is this all yours’? ‘Yes’. ‘Ok. That’s quite a lot and the bags must shut and you don’t need your soap and makeup brush in there’. Tony was right on both counts, doh! I’ve now become that annoying person in the queue holding everyone up. ‘Are you travelling alone’? ‘No, I’m with my husband’. ‘Ok, it should be fine on this occasion. Just take the lid off the toothpaste so the bag can shut’. That frigging toothpaste lid!

Once through security, we go past the duty free area. A lady in a far too fancy neckerchief stops and asks if we want to try different flavour vodkas. Of course we do, der. There’s 4. We keep her talking and entertained and get to try all four. Even though I have no taste. I don’t tell her that though because I don’t want to be judged for just wanting to drink free shots of vodka.

We sit down and have a coffee. Tony moans, ‘it tastes like shit. Did they pour it from a flask’? We get chatting, you know, just about stuff. ‘Have you ever heard of Lone Charlie honey’? I ask. ‘No, whose that’? ‘Well I think his name is Lone Charlie. He was the last person to kill using a bow and arrow on the battle field’. ‘And when was this’? ‘First world war I think. Apparently he didn’t agree with guns’. ‘No, but he was ok killing people’. ‘Apparently so’. ‘Well I wouldn’t have thought it was an effective form of fight against machine guns’. ‘No, me neither. He worked that out though because he pulled out a knife and slit the throats of loads of Germans’. ‘Right, thanks for enriching my life pre-holiday experience with that’. ‘Your holiday experience was already enriched going through airport security remember…remember that time we went through airport security’, I joke. ‘Anyway, what made you think of this Lone Charlie bloke’? ‘Dunno, just interesting I spose’.

‘I wonder whether they will extend this airport’? I enquire. ‘Dunno, they’ve already thrown the vicar out of his church over there’, Tony tells me pointing. ‘Have they’? ‘Nah, I’m just kidding, but his sermons are interesting now I bet especially his weddings and funerals…dearly beloved we are gathered here today’, he says in a shouting way, then making the sound of a loud low flying aircraft. I piss myself.

Southend airport is the equivalent of having all your family over at Christmas. It’s a bit crowded and there’s not enough seats. But it is close by and I like it. Not many flights take off from there.

Our flight gets called and we’re off. ‘Are we in the right queue honey’? I ask. ‘Well there’s 4 gates and one flight being announced, what do you think’?

Tomorrow my blog will pick up from the actual flight itself. Complete with accounts of romantically blowing cotton trousers and trashed sunglasses.

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