There’s no place like home.

When I returned to work after maternity leave I enforced a strict no travel rule on myself, for sale vowing that unless it was critical to my corporate survival I’d manage just fine from my little desk in Edinburgh Thank You Very Much. Yet this morning I find myself onboard the BA8703 to London City for a 2 and a half hour meeting that I probably could have had over the telephone.

I don’t mind the travel so much, recipe it’s not that I go to far flung places but sometimes a wander round duty free when you’re not actually off on a proper holiday can feel like a bit of a treat. And it’s not that I have to sit beside lots of ‘big wigs’ on the flights who you know only read the business pages in The Telegraph when they are on a work trip, when their usual reading fodder is The Sun.

It’s the organisation and immense logistic planning that has to go on in our household to make it happen.

Me: “Think I’ll need to go to London next week.”
Super Daddy : “Can’t be Wednesday, I need to go to Belfast.”
Me: “Fine. I can probably go the following week.”
Super Daddy: “Hhm. Can’t be Thursday, I might need to go to London.”
Me: “Fine, I’ll just go next week, and I’ll go Tuesday.”
Super Daddy: “Remember I’ll need to leave sharp for boys football.”
Me: “Fine, I’ll plan an early meeting so I can get an early flight back.”
Super Daddy : “Okay, but I can’t do nursery drop off in the morning as I have an 8am call.”
Me : “Fine. I’ll sort flights and see if your sister will come after work to sit with kids whilst you go to football.”
Super Daddy : “Cool.”

So I call in a babysitting favour, which is really to allow Super Daddy to get to boys football and not to allow me to get to London, but that’s how I position it, so wonderful sister-in-law agrees, and commiserates that it sucks that I need to go to London and thought I wasn’t travelling with work anymore, yadda yadda yadda.

The night before I’m due to go, all of our clothes are laid out for the next day, so there are no last minute “Where are my tights?” incidents that may jeopardise an early arrival at the airport.  Little Princess Pink carefully chooses her outfit for the next day and assures me this dress is her favourite and she won’t get paint on it at pre-school. Little Monster Blue would happily to go nursery in his pyjamas, so there is no great debate about his styling for the next day.

Lunches are made, bags are packed, boarding passes and meeting papers are put into my bag, breakfast things are put on the table and the alarm is set.  I go to bed feeling exhausted and fall asleep after reading the same 6 and a half lines of my book that I read last night.

Surprisingly, all goes to plan the following morning – LMB sleeps a little longer than he ususally would, which has me all annoyed as he wouldn’t do that on a weekend – but we still all make it out of the door by 7.20am with breakfast done and no missing underwear incidents, ready for the day ahead. LPP is a bit disappointed not to see the aeroplane in our driveway.  I explained that yes, I am off to London for work today, and yes I am going to fly there, but I have to drive to the airport first.  So I kiss them all Good-Bye, they go off in Super Daddys’ car and I head straight for the airport.

I reach the motorway, have a quick glance in the eastbound direction, see that traffic is moving rather nicely, and take the sliproad, thinking at this rate I can probably sit and have a latte and maybe even a  read of the newspaper before my flight is called.  I smugly turn up the volume on the radio, start to have a little sing song to myself and then something just clicks and I realise I didn’t bring my photo id.  Great.

I think my driving licence is in my purse, but thats in my maiden name (even though I got married in 2004) but with a little bit of luck, I figure I could show my licence, and my work id badge, hope for a male security dude and give him a little wink.  With one hand on the steering wheel and the other rumaging around in my bag I remember my driving licence is still sitting on the scanner back home from when I had to send the details over for my new car….6 weeks ago.

Don’t panic, I think to myself. A quick glance at the clock confirms that I could exit at the next junction (which is actually the junction for the airport) do an about turn, get back home to grab my passport and with the wind behind me, get back to the airport with roughly 5 minutes to spare.  So off I go.  I’m actually very surprised that I remained so calm. Normally any deviation from a plan gets me all a flutter,  but recently I’ve become and advocate of the ‘Whats the worst that can happen?’ philosophy and it seems to have paid off.  25 minutes later, and I’m pulling into the airport with 18 minutes until the gate closes.  I reach the short stay carpark, and get behind the line of cars also waiting to park.  Then I notice the diversion signs.  Then I notice everyone else is moving into the left lane and not going towards the carpark anymore, so like a sheep I follow on without properly reading any signs. And end up stuck behind in the one-way system through the drop-off and pick-up point.  Aaaaargh!

I watch impatiently as loved ones get out and help fellow loved one with suitcases, and then give them hugs that last just a little too long for my liking. But I stay calm.  And I carry on.  With a sense of dejavu, I find myself back in the line for the short stay car park, now with 12 minutes until the gate closes.  Except upon closer inspection, this doesn’t appear to be a car waiting for the entrance barrier on the short stay car park to lift. No, this just appears to be a car.  Sitting.  Not moving. Not waiting to enter. Just sitting.  I gesticulate wildly towards the car, which is simply an over exertion of energy I could have saved for shouting as the silly woman – yes woman – sitting in the car couldn’t see me behind her and I had to blast my horn loudly and open my door to shout at her.  But still she sat there. She waited until I took off my seatbelt, got out of the car started to walk towards her before she decided to attempt a very bizarre maneourve which I’m sure she would have failed her driving test for. But then sitting stationary at the entrance to a car park with no apparent inclination to enter it was probably a driving test fail point too.  She moves. I drive. I park. I run.  I get to security.  It’s a man. I don’t need my photo id. I swear under my breath. I take off my belt. I take off my beads. I take off my chunky bangle. I take off my high heels at the request of a very miserable security attendant, and I walk through the scanners.

Of course, it beeps.

It would appear the underwiring in my bra has triggered the alarm, though thankfully there is no request on the part of the miserable security attendant for me to take that off.  A smiley lady (thankfully) body sweeps me and gives me the once over with the electric wand thingie.  6 minutes until the gate closes.

“Is this your bag dear?” another security person asks me.

Of course, it was.

“I’ll just be a minute.” she says.  And then conducts what I can only describe as a swab test on my bag.  Using a huge pair of metal tongs, she rubs my bag with what looks like a giant baby wipe, then passes the wipe under some UV type scanner.

“Clean.”

Clean?! She actually said that. Without time to wonder what she expected to be on my bag. I put on my heels, throw on my bangles,  fasten my belt on and stuff my chunky beads into my clean bag. And run.

No time to buy a newspaper and no time for latte, I run straight to the gate and am proud that I’m actually the second last person to board. Window seat 20D is waiting for me, beside a rather bored looking woman with odd-caramel coloured shoes and bad fake tan stains on her feet.  I take my seat, fasten my seatbelt, look down and realise I have a ladder down the front of my tights……

Deservedly so, the rest of the day goes rather well (apart from the fire alarm in the terminal building as soon as we touched down in City airport which meant a further 20 minutes sitting on the tarmac ) But  my meeting is a huge success, and I’m glad I made the trip. There were no ‘I’m on the blue line and should be on the red line’ tube moments and I even had time for a quick scoot around duty free and a latte whilst I waited for my return flight.

Yet when I arrive back in Edinburgh, I am exhausted.  It’s only 6pm, but I just want to crawl into bed with my book. I’m keen to read at least another 5 lines before flaking out.

I arrive home, to find wonderful sister-in-law rolling on the livingroom floor with LPP and LMB clambering all over her. I relieve her from her duties, which she stresses was all her pleasure, and take up her position on the floor. An elbow in the face, shrieking and giggling in my ear and lots of wet slobbery kisses from LMB and I’m back right where I should be. In the chaos and mayhem of our little world, and there’s no where else I’d rather be.

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Comments

  1. Yet another fantastic story! I think I’m a fan of your work because being an expectant mother, these are all the little things I should expect…. & cant wait.

  2. Super Mummy says:

    Hi Mrs LA,

    Thanks for taking the time to write! Lovely to know you’re a fan. I hope you enjoy sharing your journey to motherhood with supermummy and my clan!

    x

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