Different travelling styles



As I sit, poised on the edge of my seat, my left eye twitching, clutching my wheely and passport ready to bolt for  the gate where our plane is now boarding, I realise that travelling with Husband is probably not good for my blood pressure.

There are two types of travellers, those who like to arrive at the airport in plenty of time, to perhaps browse in duty free or visit Starbucks and keep stress to a minimum, and those who are quite happy to draw up outside the terminal in a taxi as their flight starts to board, saunter through security and dawdle to the gate as their name is being called over the tannoy.

Now I am not saying that one way is better than the other, but as a member of the first group, and Husband a fully paid up member of the second more, devil may care community, things can get rather tense when we travel together, as we frequently do.

I like to leave home with plenty of time built in for traffic jams, late taxis or just Acts of God.  Husband will frequently ring to say he is leaving the office for the airport when I have already cleared security.  Luckily I always make sure that I have all my documents with me so that if he misses the plane, I can still travel.  In fairness he has only missed two flights, one due to the fact we had forgotten the clocks moved forward an hour that day and the other because he got lost on the Japanese train system somewhere between Kyoto and Osaka  (easy to do when you don’t speak Japanese).

Part of the problem is the fact that we hardly ever travel with check-in baggage but carry our lives with us in carry on bags.  With the low cost airlines, once the overhead lockers are full, anything left over is put in the hold which adds to the journey time at the other end as you are forced to hang around the baggage carousel waiting anxiously for your suitcase to appear.  So getting your wheely on board is vital to ensuring that you go straight from the plane jetty onto a train or into a taxi.  As stowing the luggage is done on a first come, first served basis, sitting in the lounge finishing an email or wandering blindly away from the gate while on the phone can be the difference between a breezing onto the plane and having the luxury of placing your bag in the bin above your head or frantically forcing your way down the aisle looking for a non existent space to cram your possessions into, at least 19 rows away from where you are sitting.  Teenage Son and Daughter now insist on carrying their own documentation if they are flying with us, so they can board when they like and not wait anxiously for Husband to appear after he has vanished in a puff of smoke while taking a call.

Funnily enough I can see that our offspring are following in our footsteps.  Teenage Daughter has always been slightly dippy when it comes to travelling, although we recently discovered that she needed glasses.  This may explain why she couldn´t get to grips with the London Tube system as she was completely oblivious to maps on the wall or directions to the various platforms.  ¨Wow, is this what everyone sees?¨she asked as she put on her new glasses for the first time and the world swam into focus.  She, like her father is very relaxed about timings and thinks nothing of popping into Lush to buy a few bath bombs while she only has 20 minutes to get across London to catch a train.  Teenage Son on the other hand is a whizz at getting around and can plan and execute a journey using multiple modes of transport and like me, prefers to travel with plenty of time in hand.

The slightly annoying thing is that both Husband and Daughter always seem to arrive in the knick of time while I have been gnawing my fingers to the bone waiting for them.  I think the only solution is to  take Teenage Daughter´s advice.   ¨Chill Mother¨ she says as I am spluttering about timings.  So henceforth I will ¨chill¨ and travel in splendid imaginary isolation and board the plane while still in my comfort zone and let the more relaxed members of the family waft on board when the mood takes them.






Comparing Vices



The sales are here again and with them comes the temptation that faces me every winter.  The seductive pull of a new coat or jacket.  Some people can´t help buying shoes, others are addicted to jewellery but my vice is coats.

I have to admit to owning two whole wardrobes full of coats and jackets.  The coat cupboard in the hall is full to bursting point and guests have to leave their outer garments on the chair in the entrance as no more can be shoehorned in.  Every so often Husband flings open the cupboard door and loudly counts the number of coats squeezed along the rail.  ¨Do you really need all these?¨ he asks, and I am forced to defend the fact that I wear every one of them, I have a coat or jacket for every conceivable situation or weather event and anyway two of them are his.

Of course this doesn´t mean that when I am out shopping my eye doesn´t still stray to the coat rails.  I even enjoy buying coats for other people.  Teenage Daughter and I spent a wonderful morning on Oxford street buying her a new jacket  which was the perfect excuse for me to browse through acres of temptation and indulge my habit although vicariously.  At least I am aware of my addiction, I now think very carefully before giving in to the siren call of a new coat and any new addition to the cupboard has to fulfill the strict criteria of being something completely different to anything I already have or replace a threadbare or moth eaten veteran.

Husband actually doesn´t have a leg to stand on when it comes to commenting on my coat habit.  He is in the grips of a far stronger addiction – buying kit.  By kit I mean anything that can be worn, ridden or layered while training for a triathlon.  He has more running tights, swimming goggles and road bikes than Emelda Marcos had shoes.  Not only that but huge piles of kit is packed into everyone else´s suitcases whenever the family travel together.  Teenage Son and Daughter are now used to unpacking at our destination and finding a pairs of cleated bike shoes, the odd wetsuit and some running shirts squeezed into their bags.  Walking past the Asics or Adidas shops in London is fraught with the danger that he will nip inside and emerge clutching bags full of running gear.  When challenged he will admit his kit habit is at least as bad as my coat vice but his goes on all year while mine is restricted to the winter months.

At the moment there is no hope in sight as his ironman isn´t taking place until June and I fear that the whole house will disappear long before that under drifts of manmade fibres and spare cleats.  I on the other hand have my eye on a very snappy little jacket which will complement my collection perfectly and after all, what is one more coat?