Sunday, 6 March 2011

Excess Baggage

Are you sitting comfortably for March’s Storytelling Sunday?             Then I’ll begin.

I’ll soon be flying off for a short break in the sun/warmer cloud/less acidic rain and as I’ve refused to pay extra to take a suitcase, I have to either pack everything into my hand luggage or wear it!  Airlines are fussy about what they let you take into the cabin these days and I don’t fly that often so I needed to check what I am and am not allowed to take on board!  I’m not sure if the rules have relaxed recently but I find that I can now take knitting needles and even a travel iron inside the plane, but I’m sure that my fellow passengers will be glad to know that I still can’t take a harpoon with me!

Airline Liquids

This got me thinking back to a time when I flew more (as in distance and frequency), accompanied only by my younger brother, to visit our father in Lagos, Nigeria. We loved the sandy beaches, colourful streets, sunny poolsides and exotic fruits. My stepmother taught me to play bridge and my father taught me to water-ski behind his motorboat. It was all very exciting and different from home.

However, like any ex-pat, my father and his new family missed various things from the UK, and we would be tasked with bringing supplies of items like Typhoo tea, Weetabix, and Heinz Baked Beans with us.  At Easter we’d have to bring chocolate eggs too - at least that way, we got to choose our own!

The most memorable item we ever had to take arrived by post at our house just in time to be packed.  Although it was only about 14” across, it was far too heavy to fit into our suitcase and would have probably ripped the case to shreds when it was manhandled on and off the baggage trolleys anyway!  So, as the cabin baggage wasn’t normally weighed, it was decided that I, being a few years older than my brother, would have to carry the item in a small cabin case and hope that it wasn’t confiscated.  Back then, we didn’t have the sophisticated checks and scans that today’s passengers have to endure; the airport officials would look inside bags at random before allowing you through to the boarding gate.

Guess who got checked?!  I think that the giveaway might have been the lopsided way I struggled to carry such a heavy bag while also steering my little brother down the corridor.

What’s this?” asked the man, although it was actually fairly obvious, despite being wrapped in my beach towel to separate it from the sausages and Cheshire cheese that had also been requested.

A propeller.” I replied; his eyebrows went up a notch.  “For a motorboat.” I added helpfully.

Why are you taking a propeller with you?

Dad's boat needs a new one.

Fair enough.” he snorted, lowered his eyebrows and waved us through!

I wonder if I'd manage to do the same these days?!

Want more storytelling?  Check out Sian’s blog for the other Sunday Storytellers and perhaps even share a story of your own.


Allycat x said...

Certainly not your average item to take abroad!!! Love the story - thanks

Sian said...

Now, there are two things I love about this! Firstly, the story, of course, and secondly I have discovered a lovely connection: my dad taught in Nigeria for years and when he met my mum she went out to teach too at a Teacher Training College. They only came home because the war and their first baby - me - were expected round about the same time! They had very many happy memories and we still have lots of Nigerian souvenirs round the house.

Thanks so much for joining in today and letting me find this out :)

Ruth said...

That's a great story, a complete contrast to today's travel stories.

scrappyjacky said...

You wouldn't even get the food on...let alone a propeller these days!!!!I'm surprised you even managed to carry it!!

Mary B said...

Priceless Made me giggle and that's not a bad thing. What a thing for a young girl to have to take on board a plane, no wonder you were walking lopsided.

humel said...

lol! This might just take the prize for 'most unusual story of the day'.... Mine's about flying today too of course, but is very different! (And yes, soppy!! Unashamedly so :-) My husband had been in Rome for 2 weeks on a work trip so I was missing him badly - the fact I was heading to Rome was special, but the fact I was going to see him again was even better!)

Miriam said...

Brilliant story! It just wouldn't happen now would it? thanks for sharing x

Ginger said...

LOL! Love this story :) Reminded me of the time I had my appendectomy and was flying back home, but I had to bring a typewriter (not as unusual as a boat propeller though) with me. Obviously I was not allowed to carry it, but I did have help from the staff with the airline. Thanks for sharing!

Amy said...

I am just thoroughly relieved that you won't be travelling with a harpoon!
Thanks for sharing a fantastically entertaining story :-)

Maria Ontiveros said...

What a great story! My dad taught me to play bridge during long summer nights at a rented beach house. . . thanks for bringing back that memory.

cate said...

wow, that's a new spin on excess baggage!