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!
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.