The 2 Gs
Grannies Leask and Preston
Talking our way round the world
First day after the March strike and our BA flight to San Diego via Los Angeles was leaving on time-or so the captain thought!
But our journey did not start well. GL had been 2 hours 20 minutes doing 50 miles to get to Heathrow from Bedford. She arrived first in plenty of time to have hysterics at the desk because they would not sit her next to GP. When she stamped her feet and refused to fly unless she could sit next to GP they took fright at the commotion and broke their silly rules so two passengers could be put together- clearly rocket science- -one to us….
Meanwhile GP was doing a tour of suburban side streets-two hours criss-crossing South London in a taxi to get from Croydon to Heathrow- – a journey of about 15 miles. She pitched up later than GL at the BA’s desk for solitary children by mistake (Terminal 5 is very big). Anyway they were glad to see her as there were no solitary children in sight. GP asked to sit next to GL. “Hum”, said the man, staring at this screen, “You can only be seated next to someone if they are actually with you- but for some reason you are already next to Professor Leask.” The solitary children’s desk was about half a mile away from the BA departures desk for grownups so he had not heard GL drumming her heels and raising her voice. But GL was still at the grownups check in desk as she had to show that GP was a real person- she waited…
Meanwhile GP went straight through customs and phoned GL who had to sneak away before the check in staff noticed she was gone. She was thoroughly searched at the barrier.
GP went straight to the camera shop to buy a Canon 1000D camera, recommended by son and Which. A good entry level SL he told her- Also a matching bag. Her Visacard was in the machine and waiting confirmation when GL turned up wanting a Canon EOS 1000D camera – and a matching bag. “Sorry,” said a bright young thing at the counter, “that lady there has just bought the last ones in the shop.” Oh dear…They worked out quickly that there might be trouble here and rang around the airport to find one quick before GL had another fit.
GL and GP bullied the bright young shop assistant to put the camera batteries on charge in her little cupboard and charged off to see what Gordon Ramsey could provide for breakfast in 20 minutes.
On the way, bristling with new camera bits they had not yet packed GL said to GP, “What is an SL camera?” Neither of them knew- hum- handbooks will be read on the plane.
In the restaurant GL got into a deep conversation with the 345 operator about the costs of roaming on her new iPhone in US, Japan. New Zealand and Australia in the next four weeks. Hunched over her iPhone held between ear and shoulder she borrowed GP’s iPhone to work out the settings that were being explained to her.
GP could see that interrupting GL’s concentration would not be a good plan so she gestured that she was going back to the camera shop to get the charged batteries. GL waved her away still deep in settings and unaware that time was passing.
Bright young assistant in the camera shop had gone to lunch and small fit was staged by GP in order to impress on the assistant in the turban that BOTH the chargers and BOTH the leads in the ‘private out of bounds to customers’ staff cupboard belonged to her…Mission accomplished….but….. was she to met GL in Gordon Ramseys or was GL to meet her in the camera shop. This detail had not been part of the sign talk- and GL had GP’s phone so she could not ring her- and they had now 20 mins only to get to the gate.
They meet in a panic luckily between Gordon’s place and the camera shop only to discover that the Gate 43 was on a different floor- in a different building!
GL and GP rarely run…but they made an exception and ran to the connecting train and dashed up two escalators- Gate 43 was in sight- but between them and the gate what looked like a jumble sale- a long row of trestle tables piled with bags and contents. On one side were the customers. Were they trying on the shoes and clothes on the tables or taking them off? Both! Customs again.
GP realized that a newspaper article she had read recently was really true. On the other side of the trestles were not jumble sale assistants but amiable customs officials who were mostly from the same village in Bangladesh. They were courteous but firm. Yes GP and GL did have to take off their coats and shoes and belts and camera whatnots off again and have our hand luggage hand searched again. Maybe they have lost faith in electronic scanners in Terminal 5 (why are there two buildings? Is it because the first one is kept as a large and artistic space for the passengers to admire and all the stuff goes on in the other one?)
By this time it is 1200. The plane leaves at 1200. GL and GP sprint to the Gate- they can see BA planes just outside the door- but they need a bus to get to their plane.
The humiliation is not complete because two parents with their three babes in arms are also late- maybe they have a better excuse..At last up the steps and on the plane- GL shows her boarding card and goes to her seat. GP cannot find the red wallet with both boarding cards and passport. GL, to be helpful takes GP’s hand luggage down to her seat while she looks frantically for missing red wallet- the bus driver and the check in staff are telephoned. No red wallet. GL brings hand luggage back to the plane door as GP is not allowed on the plane without a passport- red wallet found in hand luggage- total humiliation. The plane leaves 15 mins late due to passenger incompetence. One to BA….
But never mind GL and GP both feel much better after 2 gins and tonics- then- a real emergency- the plane crew run out of gin and tonic.
At this final disaster should they turn back or go on with their world tour? Hum….