The lady from Canmore would be disappointed in me today, as due to having gone 24 hours without sleep and my brain being rather addled as a result, I made loads of typos just typing the title of today’s Dollop.
We arrived back in England earlier today, and more or less as soon as I stepped off the plane I was greeted by Jeremy Corbyn. It was a text message. Perhaps he’d started reading the Dollops and was texting to share his views on kettles maybe. But no, it was just a standard public message, asking whether I’d vote for him. I haven’t really checked the news much while I’ve been in Canada, and have largely enjoyed three weeks of blissful ignorance, but now I’d only just stepped off the plane in England, and already I was being jolted back into reality, instantly reminded about my country’s political situation.
The reality jolt was also helped along by the surly and abrupt nature of the airport staff. The Canadian airport staff had seemed very friendly and hospitable, but the English airport staff were much more austere and loudly barked instructions at us. A Canadian man, presumably a bit groggy after the flight, accidentally went in the wrong queue and was barked at by one of the women supervising the line. He apologised to the lady for the mistake, but she merely responded with, “quick, you’re holding up the queue, move into the other queue sir.” He meekly apologised again and joined the correct queue, lining up behind me. “Welcome to England,” I said to him, smiling. The man chuckled. I think it was a reassured chuckle, although if I got my smile wrong and did the constipated psycho killer instead, then it might have been a nervous chuckle, and in actuality, I’d only served to make things worse for the poor man. I never got the chance to properly find out, because I was being barked at to come forward to get my passport checked.
Our passports were verified, and we were welcomed into the country with a bark of “next,” to indicate that I should move on and let the next person have a turn at being scowled and barked at. We then waited by the luggage carousel for the Accordion and guitar. One hour later and we were still waiting. There was no sign of the instruments. The carousel had deposited all the cases, but there was still no accordion or guitar. Sean went to find a member of staff to see what might have happened. An announcement came over the PA reminding us to keep all our personal belongings with us at all times, otherwise they might be removed or destroyed. But we had no idea where our personal belongings were. There was a part of me worried that they might have gone missing for good. But then there was another part of me that realised that I didn’t really have anything to write about today, and imagined how good it would be if I could write a Dollop about my Accordion in its hard case being mistaken for a suspicious item and blown up. Yes, that would be a good dramatic story for the Dollop, and would probably get me a lot of extra visitors to my website, and maybe even media attention. I began to think up jokes, just in case Sean came back and reported on the destruction of my accordion. Maybe I’d could make a joke about the member of staff at the fragile items desk asking me whether I was checking anything in of significant value, and how maybe I could have found a better choice of words than, “oh yes, this is worth a bomb.”
Eventually Sean returned. They’d said that the instruments might not have been checked on the plane and were maybe still in Canada. We then had to sign a long form, detailing what was in the case, the dimensions and colour of the case, and the estimated value of the items; I decided that now wasn’t a good time to do the “it’s worth a bomb” joke, and so just wrote the price of the instrument. We also had to provide our flight details, and our names, phone numbers and addresses to send the items to, should they be found.
“We’ll do our best,” said the man, which didn’t sound particularly reassuring. They’d somehow already failed to simply put the instruments on a plane and then take them back off again when it landed, and now they were charged with the job of trying to locate the cases somewhere in Vancouver airport, put them on another plane, take them off the plane and get it delivered to our address, which was a lot more complicated than the first easy bit that they managed to mess up.
. As we walked out of the airport, I noticed that the escalator was no longer telling us to take extra care when using it. Perhaps someone high up at Gatwick Airport reads these Dollops and made a note of my escalator observations and dealt with it ready for my return. If you’re reading today’s Dollop, my friend, then maybe you could do something about the barking, surly staff, and try and ensure my accordion doesn’t get blown up. Although, Michael’s guitar on the other hand … feel free; do us a favour.
I apologise if this Dollop hasn’t been up to the usual high standard, but I haven’t slept for over 36 hours and I’ve drfited off quite a few times while trying to write it. Back tomorrow.