I started this trip determined to write everyday, to write in my blog, to work on my novel, there were grand plans my friends, but as we know, the best laid plans of mice and men… I will write on my stay at the Chateau de Gudanes soon, but now - a little on my trip back home.
Scene: Airport Toulouse, Carmelina sits and waits for BA checkin to open.
40 minutes of waiting for the check in to open. I snapped a couple of photos but will post them later. An anxious man approaches me and lets forth a rapid stream in French. I advise him I speak very little French and ask if he speaks English, He says yes but don’t worry. I told him it’s ok and asked him to continue. “Do you have an unaccompanied child on this flight too?” I was surrounded by my luggage which I was yet to check in. No, I explained, but I’m sure they will be take good care of them, I am sure they will be fine. “Thank you” he murmured as he walked away, returning to his seat to watch his child take off. There is nothing you can do as a parent once you have escorted you children into the airlines care. Watching the plane, as futile as it is - your children can't see you looking from the plane through the terminal windows - offers a small amount of connection and comfort. I sat there watching him watch the plane. We sat there for a good long while, me feeling for him and he feeling anxious for his child. He was still there after I checked in and departed.
Airport security when you are a well endowed female can be troublesome. For the 3rd time on this trip my serious hold undergarment set the alarms a ringing and for the the second time I received a FREE FULL body massage, talk about service. They reached places that haven’t seen the public eye, well… ever. It is comforting to know that French security take it seriously though. The guy training the girl that was patting me down was a little unsure she had done a thorough job and asked the lady swabbing my carry on wether my bra could set off the alarm. She asked if she could feel. Why not? The trainee had certainly copped a handful. The lady reached for my underwire and gave it a sold grasp before confirming that yes, it was indeed a solid piece of undergarment engineering and that yes that would be what set the alarm off.
I don’t know if it was as consolation or a prize for being woman handled in front of an airport full of strangers, but, I must confess I stole 2 small packets of dried fruit from the lounge in direct violation of the signs that said the food in the lounge must be consumed in the lounge. I am hanging my head in shame. This is not rebellion, this is greed. Those figs were damned good. I am not proud of this, I am also not proud of the fact that I posted before I left, getting to the gate after passport control at the last minute. Thankfully someone else entered the plane 3 minutes after me and I was in 2 A so didn’t disrupt anyone getting into my seat.
And so I find myself sitting on a BA flight from Toulouse to Heathrow, the sun streaming through the window so hot that I feel myself burning under its gaze, it’s almost like I am sitting in the car in 40 degrees watching my arm tan and darken as I ride. I have never felt this heat whilst flying before. Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines… How did Shakespeare know?
I have put my sunglasses on, not to stop the glare but rather to cover the tears that are streaming down my eyes. I don’t know if it’s the champagne that I had with my meal, or the music my phone is shuffling for me. I don’t think it’s leaving the Chateau, I’ve never felt this emotional when leaving a place before, I am convinced it is something else. I am not sure what yet. But there is a sadness welling in me that I am unable to stop at the moment. I am doing my best to prevent those around me from knowing that i am an emotional mess but Who wears sunglasses on a flight? I mean properly, not on your head but over your eyes? Druggies and the the emotionally unstable that’’s who.
I have had to remove my glasses as they have fogged up and it is impossible to type with them on. Jo - the wonderful Purser who has been so attentive all flight has just brought me a mountain of tissues and offered to sit with me which I declined. Poor thing - that’s not in her job description and I can’t tell her why I am crying. The strains of Sight by London Grammar are filling my ears and telling me to keep it together which I am trying to do. Two steps forward one step backward right?
I know I am going to feel like a nong when I read this back, which is why I don’t edit my blog posts. They are the raw thoughts I have. The Ship Song by Nick Cave next, more writing followed by San Jose (the Frankie Goes to Hollywood version), Jo wanders past to do a final waste collection and asks if I’m OK. Yes, I think I am. Looks like we’ve made it through, I think we’re good - she says confidently whilst teetering on the edge. At least I’m smiling again. A quick trip to the bathroom and Jo asks if I’m OK - yes, I am, She says she wants to give me a hug which makes me feel all AWWWWW, you know? Quick tip - don’t look in the mirror on a plane when you’ve been crying, I looked like shit, no really, this is not an exaggeration. Quick splash of cold water, fluff the hair out to cover the less than perfect visage and we are good to go. It’s the champagne, the champagne and this damned over heating of everything!
We land - my phone is still on French time and I am panicking that I have 20 minutes before boarding closes. Why would they book me on flights so close together? Has the airline industry gone mad? NY winter coat on, I am sweating, backs packed and belt off a tad early - why do you make a dinging noise to tell us to keep our belts on? Half the plane takes that noise as it’s OK to unstrap. I rush off the plane, 7 steps in I realise, London is an hour behind. Well done Carmelina, you knew this, clearly the champagne is still winning.
Another near miss at Heathrow on the bra front - thank goodness for those full body scanners! If I had another pat down today, I’d have to look at changing professions. Journalism, to write about the injustice to the over endowed. Get your mind out of the gutter you cheeky devils!!
Quick tip - when you have eaten 2 packets of semi-dried figs, had lentils for late lunch and have drank pear and peach juice, along with 2 cans of coke (that and chips - now you know my weaknesses), don’t be a hero, don't go through passport control and security again and wait until you put your bags down at the far end of the lounge to use the facilities. Just don’t do it. Trust me on this one.
Have to go and board for Paris and I’m guessing go through passport control again even though I have not entered another country. Ahh the joys of non-direct flights.
This will all make sense soon. I am totally blaming the bottle of champagne (mini - don’t judge me) #champagnedereims at altitude with heat does strange things to you.