I’m glad I called the taxi for 11.30 and not 12.30 as I originally did.

I’m glad for a number of reasons. But mainly because if I hadn’t we’d be sleeping the night in Little Chalfont right now instead of flying high on a 747 on our way back to Bali drinking our third vodka and splash of tonics and watching crap movies (Qatar – the world’s five star airline – in a world where the YMCA is six star).

I know Mercury is retrograde but there’s retrograde and then there’s just retro-want to screw you grade. And Mercury was clearly wanting to exercise something medieval on our asses.

It started with a muppet taxi driver who felt that the M25 was too circuitous a route to Heathrow when a detour via Staines and half of west London could be had instead and our direction to terminal four was responded to by a scenic diversion vias terminals 1, 2 and 3. I got him back by getting Alula to eat her jam sandwiches all over the seats, ‘Oh don’t worry about the crumbs darling. Jammy fingers? Sorry, I don’t have a tissue.’

It progressed to Qatar Air informing us at check in that unless we had an outgoing flight from Bali they weren’t letting us on the plane. We had a challenge Annika moment where laden with two trolleys, nine bags and a soft toy called Hammely we had to a) locate wifi b) swiftly buy three onward tickets to Bangkok c) print them.

You’d think this would take what? Ten minutes? Normally it would. Except John then forgot the password to his email account rendering the buying of tickets somewhat pointless because the only thing Qatar needed was the e ticket proof now sitting in the Fort Knox of his email account.

‘The name of your first pet.’ The computer said when he tried to reset his password.

‘You’ve never had a bleep bleep pet.’ I countered.

John stared blankly at the screen then typed a woman’s name.

‘Wasn’t that the name of your godmother?’ I asked.

INCORRECT PASSWORD the computer said.

Incorrect husband I thought to myself.

By this time my eyeballs were bulging like planets. My nostrils flaring very unattractively. I almost bit through my tongue. I mean seriously. At that point I was ready to forgive the taxi driver anything.

Anyway this all led to d) me prostrating myself over the information desk until the man let me use his computer and his phone and e) John waiting on Hold with Air Asia whilst the minutes ticked down to the check in closure f) the computer crashing when we pressed Print finally. Which led to g) me having a nervous breakdown.

I finally picked myself off the floor and we presented our printed out onward tickets and passports.

‘Sorry this card isn’t recognized.’

‘But it’s the card I paid with. I’ve paid for the tickets. The passport you’re holding is in the same name as the tickets and as the card…how can you NOT LET US ON THE PLANE?’

‘I know but the computer won’t let me override and it won’t print your boarding passes.’

‘Well make it.’

‘I can’t.’

‘Well make it make it or I will make it make it.’

The man looked scared. Twenty minutes later, boarding passes in hand we make it to security.

Where of course the two girls in front were contenders for the synchronized quarter-speed security check event. I by passed them only to then get stuck having to unpack every bit of liquid in my bag (how does a 5ml vitamin e oil count?), remove two laptops, scavenge for 80 quids worth of change out of my pockets and then have to repack it all whilst the two girls tutted behind me.

Quick quick, let’s get to the gate.

As IF.

‘Please sir, can you step this way.’

‘You’re kidding right?’


‘Why do you always stop him?’

I’m serious. In ten years of being with John I don’t think I’ve ever been on a flight where they haven’t stopped him at security.

‘Random check for explosives.’

The only thing combustable and highly flammable by then was me but I don’t think he realised. Bless him. By this point I was telling John that we’d be lucky if the plane didn’t explode in mid air and as I type this I realize I’m tempting fate what with the fact we’re 36,000 feet up right now. I was willing to call it all quits and just stay in the UK until Mercury had stopped retrograding the f*&cker.

We actually had time to get two large coffees. But alas no duty free OR an Amazon Kindle.

Mercury if you’re listening. I hate you.

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