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Easyjet or just regret!

This blog picks up from my previous blog where we arrived at Gran Canaria’s airport to fly home from holiday, back to Southend Airport and we’re waiting to board the flight on their hottest day of the year and I am a shit scared flyer.

So boarding didn’t actually happen, not to us anyway, as while we were still waiting to get through the gate those already on the plane were off boarded.

Word quickly spread from the other passengers, not from any ground staff, they had been told to get off due to ‘a technical problem with the plane’.  Just what every nervous flyer wants to hear and for the second time that day I was pleased I had not gone commando (see previous blog) as my bowels needed the extra support of pants as they were also threatening to off board and just as quickly!

Once again, by another passenger, we were advised that they were calling an engineer to fix it. At which point I turned into B. A. Baracus and basically said ‘I ain’t getting on no plane’. I think I might have said ‘f’ing’, before plane.

Our airline, easyjet, continued to make no announcement about what was happening. And we continued to get updates from other passengers. ‘Latest is the engineer will be here in an hour’. ‘It’s a gauge that’s gone’. Er who are you and why are you giving me technical updates which basically amount to the probability of me surviving this goddam flight!

Tony, my husband, asked me if I was ok? ‘Er, no. I’ve basically gotta get on a broken plane that’s broken!’ ‘An engineer has been called in to fix it’. ‘Yer, a bloke that’s probably on the beach somewhere right now, drinking Sangria, dancing to a mariachi band, and pissed off being called in. That makes me feel really good’. ‘It’s ok, he will be experienced’, Tony said just before he started laughing loudly looking out to the plane saying ‘he’s here, he’s just arrived in a golf buggy thing wearing a sombrero’.  ‘Great what’s he gonna do shake his maracas at it!’

Still no announcements, just information via other passengers that veered from, we will be flying at 2am (great, 11 hours in an airport), to, nope we are going tomorrow. There were no easyjet staff. The only guy that was there to represent easyjet told us just that and no more. ‘I’m here to represent easyjet but I am not part of them and have no idea what is happening’. Whatever question you asked, he repeated this.

We sat down for a while in a bank of 4 seats next to two other passengers. My legs facing away from them in a clear, I do not want to engage in polite conversation with you way. Some people can’t pick up on body language, as a desperate attempt was made to engage us in conversation. ‘They are probably checking the wings are still there, they just need a bit of oil on it, they’re getting an elastic band as we speak, that’ll fix it’. Just keep looking at your shoes I think.

But the conversation doesn’t stop there. Immediately everyone starts to share their ‘I was so delayed once stories’. ‘All you can hear is, people talking to their partners saying, ‘do you remember the time we went to Egypt and got delayed, it was terrible’, ‘yer we got delayed coming back from America, you’ve never known anything like it’. God it went on. Everyone with a story, everyone described in infinite detail and everyone thinking they had the far worst experience.  There was a sense of pride that went with the stories.

I felt sorry for a couple excited to be going to Southend for their holiday. Not because of the delay, but because they are going to Southend for their holiday! The delay building a sense of anticipation that it will be worth the wait. Er, it won’t. A bloke is telling them you’ll like it. Yer, if they want to buy a kebab and go to a strip show at any time of the day.

A day out in Southend one afternoon is where Tony and I understood the definition of broken Britain. We’ve known each other since we were 13 and our birthdays are a day apart, so it is tradition for us to go to Southend and basically get smashed.

A bit drunk one birthday, we went into a bar. A woman in a short, orange dress came up to Tony and while I went for a wee (just a short one mind, no lipstick application or anything), she offered him sex. This was unfortunate as he had just ordered two tuna baguettes. So unable to leave and not wanting the sex, we took them outside and sat at the tables.

That’s when we clocked the strip show sign. Underneath advertising a list of snacks, it said the show started at 1pm. It was bizarre, people were sitting around eating cockles and winkles waiting for this. There was a bloke with his shirt off, all red, throwing his baby up in the air with the sign just behind him. With some careful positioning we caught a snap, while Tony pretended to snap me eating my baguette. But sure, maybe this couple stuck in the airport waiting to visit Southend will like it!

Anyway, having now been stuck in the airport for hours, we went to get some wine in the bar. Something got lost in translation (in a good way) when I asked for two large wines (see the picture). Quite happy to keep going to the bar to get wine in that quantity (already feeling quite drunk), I was disappointed to see the shutters go down. And looking around, I realised everything was shutting.  And not only that, there were only two food places left open and with sandwiches now at a premium, and still no flight update, people were starting to shove and push for a cheese toastie.

We then decided we’d just get wine from duty free and get hammered. So off I went. I grabbed a bag of sweets to replace the small child’s shoe that was eaten by our dog while he was looked after by his foster family and spent about 20 minutes locating the only bottle of wine with a screw top. I found a couple of shot glasses with bull fighters on (my principles had long gone) and made my way to the till. At which point, I had no boarding pass and had to leave my purchases there and walk the 20 miles back to the gate to get it.

On the way back to the gate, I clearly had time to reflect on our situation and the fact the latest rumour was we’d fly tomorrow but with no real updates or announcements or wine in bull fighting glasses, I wanted answers.

So, I went up to the representative, basically a man with a badge saying happy to help but whose words were less congruent, when he kept saying, ‘I can’t help’ and while everyone was patiently queuing for a voucher for a meal, I turned into an idiot. I embarrassed myself by going up to the unhelpful guy and telling him that I spoke on behalf of all the passengers (no election took place), and we wanted hotels for the night as it was against our human rights to sleep in an airport (twat).

Once again he said he couldn’t help. ‘Well you’re not worthy of that badge’ I told him. This strong and adult argument was sure to win him over and get us hotels. There is no doubt the seriousness of my argument was undermined when I got my note book out which had been chewed to shit by my puppy, I slapped it on his podium saying I was going to write down everything he said. Why, no idea. Just cheese toastie deprivation I guess which had impacted my mental functioning hence not thinking to actually just live stream!

Not only was I speaking for all the passengers (idiot), I was walking around with copies of ‘what happens if my flight is delayed’? Leaflets I found randomly strewn in an area of the airport. No doubt left by some other stranded easyjet passengers whose skeletons I’d find later.

I read out paragraph 2 repeatedly, (with excessive finger pointing I might add) which clearly stated we were ‘welcome to a hotel’. Not just entitled, but ‘welcome’, as I kept emphasising to this man. The queue turned into the House of Commons with lots of jeering, ‘yer’, though no-one called anyone a ‘pleb’ or fell asleep as far as I know.

Then, people started coming up to me and asking me questions. ‘I’m trying to get back to my brother’s wedding in Oz, what do I do’? ‘How do we use the food vouchers’? ‘Are we getting hotels’? I had become the people’s voice.

After about an hour of this and being told to ring the easyjet centre in the UK (helpful when it’s closed), and then speaking to the easyjet rep in Spain only for her to put the phone down on me (21:03 that went in the book for me to do absolutely nothing with later), we had a discussion in the queue about our strategy. The basis of the strategy was me saying, ‘we’ll get it sorted’, when a better strategy would have been to just shut up!

Some people had emails now from easyjet telling them accommodation was being booked for us and yet the Live Update board on the easyjet website basically said, ‘you’re on your own, fuck off. Find your own accommodation’.

It seemed there was nothing available on the island. At which point, I did what any self-respecting leader does. I sorted myself out. I arranged for us to go back to our apartment as it was empty tonight. It was only 1 bed and we did make some half arsed offers for people to stay, but only after first mentioning it was small, cramped, 1 bed but they were welcome to join us if they wanted to sleep on the tiled balcony. Everyone declined but in doing so we felt it was agreed we should go.

But how to get out of the airport? Well, this helpful security guy took us back out through security. Of course it wasn’t embarrassing to see the security lady at her station laugh at me as we went by, as they switched off the equipment and finished their shift. If you didn’t read yesterday’s blog, I basically flashed her my pants in some confused exchange about swabbing me and my stuff.

If you have every tried getting a cab at an airport that’s closed it’s not easy. Though eventually we did find one. Once back at our hotel, I enjoyed getting all the jokey status updates on Facebook about our ordeal! Thanks friends J

I didn’t want to go to work tomorrow, who does at the end of holiday, I didn’t mean like this! At least we have somewhere to stay and our flight is confirmed for 10:15am tomorrow and I found a beer in the fridge that we left for the maid. Yer, she’s not getting it. Oh and after all week of moaning there weren’t enough towels I opened a draw and found a shit load and a spare toilet roll so we didn’t have to ration out square by square yesterday being too tight to buy a 1 euro pack and leave the majority behind!

Silliness; LOL; personal blog; funny; funny stories; quirky; humour; humor; wit; happy; cheerful; fun; light-hearted; carefree; upbeat

The Russian revolution man

Time to come home from Gran Canaria back to Essex. Last day of holiday is like a year’s worth of Sunday nights and New Year’s Eves all at once, when you don’t want to go back to work and think of everything else you’d rather do with your life with vague promises of making some changes.

I moan about going home and say, ‘the only thing there is to look forward to now is the Russian revolution on the history channel in full colour and high definition’. My husband Tony asks, ‘you looking forward to that then?’ ‘Nope, that’s kind of my point’.

Still at least our flight isn’t until 5pm and our cab to the airport is not until 3pm, or at least we hope, given some basic arrangements with the taxi company about them meeting us outside ‘the shop’ at a time I think we both understood to be the same.

It is the only nice day we’ve had since we have been here. Oh yer, everyone is on the beach today. Everyone is on the sun beds and splashing in the sea. Everyone is getting tanned and not shivering their tits off as we have all week.

After spending time sulking about going home and then taking snaps of basically everything, we went off for a civilised lunch and some Sangria, before a leisurely stroll back to the apartment to get our stuff and head to ‘the shop’ to meet the cab. Calm, relaxed, sunglasses on.

Of course, there was no cab there. And for 15 minutes we were sure one wouldn’t arrive until a car pulled up, which I can only describe as something between a stretched limousine and a hurse. It wasn’t in good condition. Every time we accelerated it sounded like a low inbound helicopter coming into land. Tony said, ‘Jeez, I’ve not been in a car this screwed since the Gambia’.  Hard to hear him as we accelerate again.

The traffic was horrendous getting to the airport. The bloke tells us it’s the hottest day of the year so far (of course it is, we’re going home) and everyone is off to the beach. Gotta love that, it’s 3:30pm and people at work are like, ‘yer, about the conference call, I’m off to the beach’.

We got to the check in and prided ourselves on being the first to check into our flight. ‘This is the way to travel’, we said, exchanging proud glances, looking forward to a bit of civilised duty free shopping and a beer before hopping on our flight, though I am already transitioning into a nervous flyer quicker than Michael J Fox becoming a werewolf in Teen Wolf.

Off to airport security. It’s a mystery to me how flying from the UK its belts off, boots off and liquids in plastic bags. Over here none of this happens and I wonder whether they are taking this seriously or just thinking of getting to the beach on this the hottest day of the year.

There does appear to be an adequate level of attention as my stuff is pulled over. There was the initial conversation of, ‘have you got liquids in this bag’? ‘No’, followed by the security guy pulling out a large bottle of water, shaking his head and then putting it in the bin. Then he pointed at a security woman and I deciphered that his miserable grunts were informing me to go over to her. Yep definitely the case as this non-smiling, hard faced woman was calling me over with her finger.

Mrs Happy then started swabbing basically everything I owned. Inside my case, bag, you name it, it got swabbed. She pointed at my stomach and said some things that made me feel tense. She definitely wasn’t asking if I had a nice holiday and wishing me a pleasant flight!

She pointed at my stomach again. At which point I started lifting my dress up thinking she wanted to swab my stomach, like they do when you go into hospital thinking, I’m glad I didn’t go commando today. This was one of two options left to me when I discovered last night I was a pair of pants down. The other option, which I took, was to wash a pair in a dishwasher tablet. They are clean but crunchy.

With my full briefs on partial display to this lady, she frantically set about pulling my dress down for me, saying ‘no, no, no, no’. And then, she burst into hysterics. Even with the basic exchange between us, I knew she was saying, ‘what are you doing you twat’? She swabbed my tummy through my dress, laughing. She patted me on the arm, laughing. And she told the miserable grunter, laughing. They were both in hysterics. ‘Yes, funny, we laugh’, I said in Pigeon English in a way to bring us together, though my pants had just done that.

I look at Tony and he is shaking his head. ‘What have you just done? Did you actually just lift your dress up to that woman’? ‘Yes’, I said, looking back to see the woman bent over, still laughing. ‘Why the hell did you do that for god’s sake’? ‘Because I thought she wanted to swab my tummy’. ‘When have you ever known them do that at the airport’?

He had a point but in my defence, she just kept pointing at my stomach aggressively and I’ve taken 4 anti-mental flyer tablets (only supposed to take 2) and had a shit load of Sangria and I’m stressed as hell about flying and it all happened quickly.

‘Oh well, she was a miserable cow when we arrived. Now look at her. I’m just spreading the love’, I say. I think I’ll be spreading the love for a while judging by how much she is continuing to laugh, she’ll be telling co-workers for years, ‘I had a woman lift up her dress once’. Oh god, now she’s  actually doing the motion of lifting up a dress to other co-workers now also laughing. Bastards.

So, my bag not only does not stand up and has fallen 118 times in the last 10 minutes (obviously I exaggerate to make the point), and the handle does not fold down, but both wheels have now jammed and are not turning. My case is basically just using them as skis. This prompts me to ask it if it’s ‘f’ing kidding me?’ And in an attempt to get one up on the bag, I turn it over and drag it on its stomach, repeatedly calling it a piece of crap and kicking it up the arse.

Our flight is called. As we walk to the gate, I remember why I fell out with this bag before. Coming back on a flight previously, I lost my boarding pass between entering the gate and the plane. Every single person on that flight went round me while I frantically searched my bags. They stepped over my case and its permanently extended handle, as it had naturally fallen over upon immediately coming to a stand. I eventually found the boarding card bastard nestled into the pages of my book (still not read).

I was the last person onto the aircraft that day. Everyone was seated and looking at me. Stressed, nervous about the flight and the wheels on the case rolling and stopping in an ad-hoc  fashion, I kicked it along the gang way. The stewardess telling me to put my bag up the front as there was no more space above my seat at the back. Her offers of assistance ignored, I lifted the case/piece of crap up and in doing so, in one complete action, the handle forced its way up my floating shirt and as I lifted it into the overhead locker, it took my top up and flashed my lacy bra and a bit of nipple to the entire flight.

There exposed, I saw in slow motion every face on that flight looking at my chest. Tony just staring at me further along the plane with a look of embarrassment and disappointment which I’d like to never see again.

We are now boarding. I have my boarding pass, my dress is in its rightful place, I haven’t flashed anyone but I have transitioned into nervous flyer. We will be on our way shortly back to London Southend (er, it’s just Southend). Soon back to reality. Insert sad emoji here.

Ps, the picture is of our bags that just don’t stand!

The diary of a nervous flyer!

This blog picks up from us about to take a flight from Southend Airport to Gran Canaria.

We walk up the stairs of the aircraft. The lady in front is dolled up. Toes all done peeping nicely through sandals, a simple expensive bag on her arm and a husband carrying her bag. Her hair blowing gently, elegantly in the slight breeze, her neatly ironed linen trousers slightly blowing in a romantic way. Sunglasses on her head ready to come down on landing or crashing into the sea.

Me, I’m carrying both cases as Tony has MS. So I am sweating, puffing and chewing on my own hair in the breeze. And my sunglasses are slung in my bag with a hole in them as Winston (dog) ate them one Sunday when I had a nap. I’m also stretching the concept of my ‘one size’ fits all shorts. Got no chance of getting anything in the pockets, I thought they were sown up and was disappointed to find they weren’t.

Lugging the cases up the plane steps. I complain, ‘Jeez what the heck have you got in your bag honey, it’s so much heavier than mine’? ‘Er everything we need’. I know he is right so I keep quiet with my tightly clamped pockets.

On the final steps, Tony hands me my packet of ‘anti mental flyer pills’ that the Doctor prescribed.  We enter the plane and I immediately view it suspiciously for quality of cabin crew and leadership. Not because I am so into my job in HR (though I am) but because I know working in HR there’s a hell of a lot of under performers who need to be performance managed and never are, and I eye each steward suspiciously looking to see if there are any signs of this on the flight.

We get to our seats. There’s a lady sitting in the aisle seat so she has to get out to let us in. Yer, she’s not happy about that! I apologise and she smiles but at the floor in a way that says, I am being polite but you are really pissing me off. I know because I’ve done it. it was the look I gave the premature pee’er on the train when storm Doris hit. Every second delay in getting my stuff for the flight, I fear she will add time on letting me get to the exits in the event of an emergency. I’m already thinking she’s a cow. But I have to say ‘bless you’ when she sneezes as I need her on my side. In the event of an emergency, I will be clinging to her or Tony’s leg like a koala in a tree repeatedly saying, ‘save me, save me’.

Sitting with my head in my hands about to take off, I say, ‘why does everyone have to keep talking. They should just be quite’. ‘Because normal people are excited about going on holiday’. ‘Well I just don’t get that. We should not be in the air. We are not birds. It’s that simple’.

The captain speaks and immediately I am listening out to see how alert and capable he sounds. I am satisfied. Though I’d rather he didn’t focus on telling us about the on-board paninis and just stuck to doing pre-flight checks. I don’t want him to tell me about the hot focaccia capresse (whatever that is). He is about to take up this aircraft with god knows how many people on board. I don’t think he should be concerning himself with bread based snacks.

There’s an announcement about turning your technology to flight mode, but I don’t think enough focus is played on this. I vocalise this. None to quietly hoping to prompt my fellow travellers to check their tech.

They play the usual announcements which include a mention that there are flotation aids on board for children. I ask, ‘why do only the kids get flotation aids because if we crash we all want to float’. It’s met with a ‘shhhhsss’ from Tony very aware of the parents and the small kids behind.

They tell us to fasten our seat belts (no shit) and to keep them buckled in case we ‘hit unexpected turbulence’.  I think they should change the language from ‘hit’ to in case we ‘meet’ unexpected turbulence and why is it unexpected I ask myself? It is 2017. We should know this shit. Siri can tell me the likely % of precipitation and if I need an umbrella today for goodness sake.

I ask Tony, ‘can I have your coat please to put my feet on’. ‘Er, why’? ‘I don’t like to feel the vibrations under me and it dumbs the vibrations making it feel more like I am in a car’. ‘Well why’d you want to sit next to the wings there’s more vibrations’? ‘Because I like to look out and see they’re still there. If they are that’s a good thing and I wanted to be near the emergency exits in the row in front (normally I count the rows from my seat to the emergency exit because in the event the cabin fills with smoke, I want an advantage over other passengers as I head efficiently to the exits, trampling across them including parents blowing up flotation devices for their kids).

With my head in my hands, Tony starts to annoy me. Not because his legs look skinnier on the seat than mine, though I do note that, but because he’s munching Pringles. The distraction takes me momentarily away from my own safety and makes me very annoyed. I hope he’s not going to do that all the way, I think to myself. I need to concentrate.

I tell Tony, ‘just so you know I will be telling you to f off during the flight if you speak too much. It’s not fair but I need to concentrate on staying alive and I won’t be helping you off the plane in the event of an emergency, MS or no MS. I’m sorry, that’s just the way it is’. ‘Jeez you already look like you’re in the brace position’.

The air steward asks the passengers in front near the emergency exits if they could read the notices on their seats about how to open them. I don’t care how nice her nails look and how big her smile is, I don’t think, ‘read that’ constitutes an adequate safety briefing. I am beginning to regret taking the tablets the doctor prescribed, on the plane steps. They take an hour to kick in. Shit, I wish I’d had more of that free vodka from fancy neckerchief lady.

The captain comes on saying he ‘hopes’ we have a relaxing and safe flight. See this is where it’s a paradox for me. I want to know they are taking safety seriously and all the passengers on board are too. But when they say ‘safe flight’, it implies safety is a concern and we could be potentially anything other than safe and we just have to ‘hope’ were safe.

We take off, immediately I think about my life and what I have and haven’t achieved and how I probably have only a few hours to live. I have been known to text my family at this point and say, ‘you guys know I love you right’. I focus on a pet’s face, today it is Mr Nut (cat), to relax. Shit, if I die what will happen to him. Shit now I’m not relaxed. I’m now worried about flying and the future of my pets.

Slight turbulence. I jump. My hands do this weird thing like they are breaking into an uncontrolled Mexican wave. ‘Jeez it’s like sitting next to someone with MS. Sit on your bloody hands if you’re going to do that’. I should have taken his advice because the next petrified spasm sends my drink all over Tony’s legs. ‘Er, great, I’m soaked’. Ridiculously I say, ‘no, it’s just a shadow on your leg isn’t it’?

Look at Canvey Island honey, it’s like the French Riviera. ‘Er, don’t ask me to look out the window. In fact, can you shut the window blind’. ‘So you want to see the wing but you don’t want to see the wing’. ‘I’ll tell you when I want to see the frigging wing and it’s not now’. I get a token ‘you’re doing well honey’, before Tony puts his head phones in. Me, I pull out my Dalai Lama, The Art of Happiness  book. I take it on every flight as I want to die happy.

The woman next to us is miserable throughout the entire flight. I lean in to Tony and say, ‘she even looks bloody miserable in her sleep’. Eventually she wakes up and starts watching a film on her Ipad. Tony says, ‘I need a wee’. ‘What you telling me for, tell her’. She must pick up on the vibe because she unclicks and goes to the toilet. ‘Quick, let’s go for it’. To help Tony get out with his balance, I pick up her Ipad. ‘Shit, shit, shit’, I say as during the action I hit the play button and it moves on from where it was. In a very high pitched voice Tony’s telling me to stop it. After about 4 seconds of it playing I do. We get out into the isle and Tony’s dragged his bad leg out with her handbag hooped over his foot. We piss ourselves.

When we all take our seats again I ask Tony ‘do you think she will notice about her film’? ‘Of course she bloody will, it’s starting at a different point’! Then we laugh about all the important film changing words that could have been spoken in that 4 seconds, ‘I love you’, ‘his dead’, ‘I’m pregnant’, ‘I’m leaving you’.  Tony tells me, ‘if she has a go at you, you can argue with her in Spanish with the string of B words you spent 6 weeks learning when we were in Mexico. Never get why you started with B’. ‘Yer bitch might be good to know but I can now only remember butter…and I started at B because it felt less far away from Z and motivated me.

Finally the pills and Prosecco kick in. It didn’t dumb down the words from the pilot with less than an hour to go, ‘we are flying at 39000 feet mid-way across the waters on the coast of Morocco’. Unnecessary! I do not need to know how high I am or that I am crossing open seas.

We’re about to land. ‘How long do you think it will be before people take their seatbelts off after we land’, Tony says. This is how it actually went down, ‘we have now landed at Gran Canaria, please wait for the plane to finish taxying before’…click. Then isle seaters immediately spill into the isle to frantically grab their stuff. The middle seaters move into the freed space and turn into Mr Ticle, just putting their arms out into the isles and grabbing their stuff. The window seaters do a half stand, half crouch awkwardly waiting to grab their stuff at the first opportunity. Tony and I stay seated and pride ourselves on being the last to leave the plane.

I made it! I’m alive. We’re in Gran Canaria!

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.