It’s 5 O’clock in the morning and Sean and I are in The Young’uns van, heading to Heathrow Airport. I always get mounting paranoia towards flight departure time regarding my passport. I definitely have it, I have checked multiple times, yet this doesn’t seem to temper the feeling of unease for long, and I have to check my bag again. This paranoia is most likely due to previous passport-related dramas that I’ve either experienced or know about.
In 2007, a sea shanty group from Teesside which Sean and I were in at the time, were booked to perform at a festival in Norway. The journey began with Sean and I getting on the first bus from Hartlepool to Middlesbrough, at 6am, a journey that would take less than twenty minutes in a car but takes just over an hour on bus. At 7am we arrived at Middlesbrough where we were picked up by one of the other group members. We got in their car and drove to a couple more destinations in Middlesbrough where we picked up some more people. We then began our journey to Manchester airport.
Five minutes into the journey someone jokingly said, “just to make sure we’ve all remembered our passports?” I was 100 % convinced that I had remembered, after all, I am not an idiot. But since everyone was getting their passports out and checking, I got mine out too. And indeed, as I already knew, it was there. As I said, I’m not an idiot, or in other words I’m not a Michael Hughes. But I’ll recount that story later.
I pulled out my passport, which opened onto one of the pages. It was then that it all unravelled. Sean noticed the expiry date written on the passport. My passport was over a year out off date. There was no point me continuing my journey. I was driven back to Middlesbrough bus station, said goodbye to the others who recommenced their trip to Norway without me, while I waited at the bus stand for nearly half an hour for the next 36 bus to take me back to Hartlepool. I then got back on the same bus that I’d been on an hour earlier, and when I say the same bus, that is precisely what I me, because I also had the exact same driver who had taken me the opposite direction an hour before, and was rather amused to see me back on his bus with my suitcase and to hear of my plight.
I arrived back home just over an hour later. I’d set off from my house just before 6am, and rather than it being a journey to Norway, it was a round trip taking in such sights as the 36 bus, and Middlesbrough’s bus station, and I was back home just after 9am.
I then had some breakfast and headed to the post office, where I’d gone to less than twenty-four hours earlier in order to change some British money into euros. Less than twenty-four hours later they were back into pounds, although with a few pounds lost due to exchange rates.
But at least I didn’t forget my passport. Only an idiot would do that. In 2008, The Young’uns very own Michael Hughes was at Heathrow Airport, heading to Singapore for a couple of weeks, a much more lengthy and expensive journey than three days in Norway. Upon arriving at the airport check-in area, he realised that he’d forgotten his passport. In fairness, at least he then had the presence of mind to formulate a plan.
He called his mother and arranged for her to fly from Teesside to Heathrow Airport. If she was going to make it in time, she would have to leave the house immediately and time every traffic light perfectly. So out of the house she figuratively flew, and then into Heathrow Airport she literally flew. She didn’t actually see Michael, because he’d already been whisked into a special area where he was being held, and his mother was unable to pass through that way for security reasons. So she had to hand the passport to a member of airport security. Michael’s mother then got straight back on the next plane to Teesside. The member of security staff brought the passport to Michael, who hastily went through the rest of the checks in order to board the plane just in the nick of time. Except, then they found the drugs …
I hope my ability to influence events with this blog don’t prove true today, given that yesterday I wrote about crashing into the Indian Ocean. But my main concern is that my airport anal cavity search dream I wrote about in January comes true. If it does come true, then maybe I could get Sean to film the experience and I could do a Digital dollop whilst someone has their hand up my arse. I don’t know whether that would be a ratings booster or a crippler. I suppose it dpends how many friends you can bring to the table Chloe.
So, we should arrive at the airport at about 830. We then have to go through all the various checks, which hopefully doesn’t involve my anal cavity. Our flight is at 12, and so I am counting on having an hour to record and publish the audio version, providing there is WIFI. I will then be on a plane for twenty-two hours. Tomorrow’s Dollop will probably be written and maybe even recorded on the plane. It’s all very unpredictable and hopefully exciting, rather than just coming across to you as boring logistical talk. I think it will be more interesting for the listeners to the audio Dollops, given the variety of locations I am going to have to try and record from. I’m not sure how practical it’s going to be recording from an airport, and I think a plane might be rather awkward.
Don’t worry, I’ll be home from Australia in a month’s time, and we can get back to covering your favourite subjects, such as my trips to Sainsberry’s and anecdotes about my kettle. But for now, you’ll just have to put up with hearing about my adventures down under, adventures which most certainly don’t involve inappropriate vegetable-based activity.
Onwards and upwards, and then hopefully downwards and onwards again.