Sunday, 30 August 2015

Leaving Belfast with a bang

We're off on holiday tomorrow - Jamie and Charlotte don't have to rock up at their new school building until Thursday 10 September, mainly because it hasn't yet got a roof.

And we've reached the "final packing" stage.

People who've known me for a long time will be shocked to learn that I'm struggling to narrow down my summer wardrobe.  This is because people who've known me a long time say I always looks the same.

However, the biggest challenge we face is finding another bag for Jamie to carry on board.

Below you can see the bag he's taken on as cabin luggage for the past few years.

It's his Busy Bees trolley dolly and it was given to him when he was attending the local Busy Bees nursery.  Yes, he's been a walking brand ambassador.  But that's a matter for them.

He had it with him on Tuesday when we were passing through security at Belfast City Airport.  We'd had a great few days, the airport wasn't busy and all was fine with the world.

Jamie's bag went through the scanner with all the others and I was about to pick it up.  But I was beaten to it by the security lady who advised that it was being taken off for a special scan.  Okey dokey, Jamie's eyes are fairly close together and you can't be too careful.

A couple more minutes passed before I was asked to go and see a grim-faced security man standing in a dark corner behind a desk. Over I went.

"Hello sir," he said.

"Hello," I replied.  It seemed the obvious response.

"Sir, I don't know how to tell you this.  But your son's bag has shown traces of TNT."

I shit you not.

My new best friend - as he instantly became (my choice) - then spent the next 10 minutes asking me questions about what I'd been up to over the previous few days, where I'd been (he wasn't familiar with the Big Marquee Weekend), what I did for a living, who I'd met, and so on.

But we weren't really getting anywhere.  And neither might I be if I couldn't find a way to sort this out.

Then the conversation took an unexpected turn.

"What's in your toiletries bag," asked yer man.

"Urmmm....deodorant, contact lens stuff, toothbrush, shaving stuff.......oh, and moisturiser," I whimpered.

"A-HA!"  boomed my mate.

"Man moisturiser, all men are at it these days - even men from Norn Iron," I protested.

"What make?" he asked.

"Nivea - for MEN.  Like in that TV advert with the Liverpool players in.  They're all men," I battered on.

"GOOD ANSWER!" he announced, with what seemed like genuine pleasure.

"Thank you.  Do you moisturise yourself?"

"No.  But that's where the TNT reading came from!"

He then proceeded to explain that apparently 90% of explosive materials are organic.  (I almost interrupted to remind him he was in Belfast and he might be better to keep his voice down).  And Nivea (for Men) moisturiser had many of the same natural substances in it.  You learn something every day.

Anyway, given that around about this time tomorrow we're due to pass through Turkish customs - where many wannabe ISIL suicide bombers have recently chosen to go for their last piss-up before heading into Syria - we've decided that Jamie's Busy Bees bag will not be coming with us.

Should we be fortunate enough to gain entry, my next update will be from that part of the world.  And if we're not, I wish each and every one of you well.