Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Day Twenty-One - Friday, 11 July - The End

It took a while, but we finally figured out which combination of suitcases each of us could manage and piled it all down to the entrance to the parking garage. I was a bit nervous waiting for Bill to bring the car -- would he actually be able to find it? I thought his mind was more on Helen's wedding at the time and I could imagine him wandering listlessly. However, he did produce the car eventually, we loaded up and headed for the airport. Simon had taken Rhiannon to the airport earlier and would meet us there.

At the checkout, US Airways didn't seem to have read their own website. The woman didn't care how many bags we had, only that mine was overweight by 7 pounds. I'd hoped to put mine in first in case this problem arose, but Bill had told me to get out of the way and so it was the last. She didn't ask me to pay additional money, so I gathered the weight had to go. The zipper on Bill's carry on was stuck and his hands were shaking. We were holding up the endless line of travellers. The three of us found our selves frantically scooping handfuls of costume jewellery out of my overweight bag into Bob's and my carry on bags, like so much pirates loot. It was a bit surreal.

I got stopped at the entrance to security; I was carrying too many things. I took the insides out of Rita's photo album, put the binder in the trash bin and then did some trading with Bill, whose zipper was now unstuck. The lady thanked me for cooperating, like I had a choice, but it was nice of her anyhow. I was half expecting to be stopped at the X-ray machine for all the 'treasure' I was carrying, but no one seemed the least interested.

The US Airways staff on the return flight were a vast improvement on the lot we had going out and there was sufficient space that Bob got to lie down in the middle and sleep across the Atlantic. We sailed through immigration, baggage claim and customs with two minutes til our train to Newcastle departed. We ran for it (my second bout of exercise on this trip) and got to the platform just in time to see it pulling out. A nice cup of coffee was in order and it was good to be able to stretch out.

Bob's daughter was picking him up but Bill and I splashed out on a taxi. You can guess what the weather was doing.

It was good to be home all the same.

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