I'm back! Somehow I'm still in one piece, but I don't know how. On Friday, me and 'him indoors' returned to France from a great trip to the USA, but the return journey was a complete disaster. Don't get me wrong - the planes landed safely, but everything else that could go wrong, did. The American end of the flight ran smoothly enough. The trouble started at the changeover at Heathrow. We were very tired at the London customs point and almost didn't notice the beep as we walked through the customs xray door. But now I understand why Diana Ross made all that fuss several years ago. For some reason we were both roughly body-searched. Yes - us - an ordinary couple in our 60s. Then, whilst struggling to put on our shoes and other outerwear, a rude second official said, and I quote, 'if you don't hurry up and move your bags from the belt, I won't be responsible for my actions!' When we finally boarded the European flight, we - along with the rest of the passengers - sat for some time listening to a horrendous 'sawing' noise coming from one of the engines. Eventually, the pilot said there was a fault and that we'd all have to get off the plane and wait for another one to be made ready. But, shouldn't the engineers have checked everything before we all boarded?? And, had the second plane been checked? Didn't fill nervous fliers like me with much confidence. Two very weary passengers arrived at Blagnac, Toulouse after 10 hours travelling without any sleep, only to find our checked baggage missing - the only ones from the whole flight! Had they gone astray in the US, at Heathrow or here? As usual, no officials in sight as we frantically tried to locate them. Eventually I spotted a BA stewardess and she explained to me. The monitors that showed that our flight's baggage had gone to belt 2 did not refer to those, like us, who had made a connecting flight from somewhere else! Oh - I should have realised that??? Our bags were sitting all on their own on a completely different belt, but as I struggled to put them at last on our trolley, a customs official appeared from nowhere and asked me what was in my cardboard box. I told him it was a new pool cover bought in the US. Where is the receipt? I didn't know or care. But, when I told him the price in dollars, he shrugged and said O.K. waving us on and out of the airport. You think that was the end of it? No. When we went to the carpark payment machine, we discovered a horrendous charge because, whilst we were away, our usual P2 park had changed from long-stay to a daily rate.
Sometimes I wonder why we go on holiday at all! Oh well, c'est la vie!