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It ought to be rather obvious now that The Mom and I have significantly different ways of travelling: she wants to look her best and I figure that if I’m going somewhere to stay with friends or to see friends that they know I generally look a bit rough around the edges and so to appear otherwise may just be alarming. As in: why are you dressed so nicely, do you have to go to court or a funeral that we are unaware of?

Mostly though, when The Mom was packing, I was worried about getting her in and out of Gatwick in as little time as possible. And knowing full well that it would be I carrying the bags.

Having previously been through airports with the Mom I had firmly informed her that she was not to come anywhere near the UK with one of her famous flappy shopping bags. She is notorious for these things and frankly I don’t know how her boyfriend hasn’t just refused to carry them for her. Picture a large beach bag overflowing with random items such as apples, bags of nuts (all varieties, salted, unsalted, roasted, raw), bags of granola, and other general snack items (she’s not unlike a squirrel in this way, ferreting around bags of nuts and chocolate for a winter than never really arrives), and other important items like her iPad (which was until recently Crazy D’s), her camera, several bags of pills, and Lord knows what else. All of this is randomly (she will tell you otherwise but trust me, I have seen the bag and there is no order to it whatsoever) shoved in the bag and oozing over the top. Additionally she will have a purse, a case, a jacket and probably a hat that is far too big for her.

Anyhow, the thing is I knew once I took receipt of her at Gatwick, I was in charge of carrying everything. Thus, I insisted on a zip up bag. I may have perhaps gone overboard in my description of London as pick pocket central. So when she arrived with a bag that was zipped up and not overflowing I was suitably impressed.

I was also, I must confess, impressed with the small size of her suitcase. Especially given the emails I’d been receiving for the previous fortnight wherein she was detailing for me her progress with the packing.

“I’ve managed to squeeze in three pairs of shoes!” she crowed.

“No high heels. This place is riddled with cobbles. Lousy with them!”

“But I want to look pretty for dinner!”

“No one is looking at your feet.”

“I am not wearing my running shoes with a dressy outfit.”

“I am not carrying you and your inevitably broken leg, knee, ankle, or foot home.”

“I will take my shoes in a bag with me.”

“I will not carry this bag. Needless fripperies!”

“You are a terrible child.”

“True fact.”

However, she did manage, to my great surprise, to cram a large jug of maple syrup in for my friends at whose house we were going to stay until they had to make a last-minute emergency trip back home to South Africa for a funeral. The maple syrup is now here, with me, and I am under strict instructions to deliver it at the next possible opportunity.

And the space now freed up from the maple syrup seems to be burning a hole in The Mom’s mind. As we make our way through London and the West Country, she is accumulating things of size at an alarming rate. Though, I only have to get her back to Gatwick. From there, she’s on her own. She even has to get through Pearson on her own, as she lands in the middle of rush hour and no matter how much you love someone, there is no one brave enough to drive to the airport and back in that.

It’s almost tempting enough to strap a Go Pro camera to her head just to see how she manages on the other end. She will of course be fine as the airport is full of people waiting to be helpful, and she screams ‘help me’ from the minute she gathers up her bags.