In early December we Archers escaped to the sun, our first family holiday (with the Hubby) for almost 5 years. We could barely contain ourselves before the event but we didn't tell the sproglets where we were bound until the day before we set off..... very top secret of us...
We drove to London the day before our flight and stayed in a hotel at the airport. Apart from losing the 11yo's coat at the Premier Inn after a particularly yummy dinner....grrr..., all seemed well and good until we heard that Gatwick was malfunctioning and those in charge of techy stuff couldn't switch the airport out of 'night mode.' We were worried, was our first holiday in a million-zillion years about to have a tricky start? Turns out not; our plane was in a hanger, already on the ground and the next morning we merely loaded, locked and took off. Phew!
May I say that travelling with children who can carry their own hand luggage is a revelation and that introducing ones' children to travelling with Virgin Atlantic is exquisite. But first we had to circumnavigate the security checks.
I always feel guilty when I approach security or customs, though I can assure you I have nothing to hide and nor does The Hubby. We therefore didn't expect to be pulled to one side by Gatwick Security Officers.
With hindsight we probably should have checked the 9yo's bag, in fact I'm sure we said it to one another several times before we'd even left home.
'Did you check his bag?' I said to my husband, concerned.
'Thought you did it' he replied, checking the passports and tickets for the umpth time.
Who knew that our James Bond dinner party in October for Hubby's Birthday would have such repercussions.
Having stripped our coats, belts, jackets, bags; placing them into blue crates to be whizzed along metallic rollers towards the security monitors, I wasn't worried, if I made it through the body-search I felt I was home free. I could see the other side of the gate, people smiling, re-shoeing, re-belting. Foolish me.
I should have guessed that there was an issue when several security agents began to run to the custodian of the monitor. Our property was immediately segregated and a handlebar-moustached security guard motioned us to the side.
We laughed, imagining that the 11yo had secreted some perfume or face wash in excess of the 100ml limit. What we hadn't bargained for was being displayed for our delectation on one of those x-Ray machines: The beautiful, unmistakable imprint of a neat, die-cast, perfectly authentic-looking hand gun. #bum.
I began to smile, that is until I took a look at the officials who were less than amused. The handle-bar mustachioed fella had, by now, deferred to his boss but not before hissing,
'It's a good job you've got him,' he nodded his head to the boss, 'anyone else would've called the armed police. You could've shut the airport.'
I wiped that grin right off my face and started acting big-time grovelly? the 9yo began to hide himself behind Dad. When he finally peeked out to hear the fate of his favourite toy; confiscation and annihilation, it was clear he was gutted.
So, two disasters down; coat and gun-running..., I awaited the third.......