Please, he’s all yours!

My beloved rang me this morning from Germany. He only ever rings me for two reasons: either he’s at a loose end or he wants me to do something. I always know when it’s the former. He’s got nothing to do so assumes I must be in the same boat. This is rarely the case. He’ll start the conversation by asking what I’ve been doing. My response is always the same. ” Don’t do a Nigel on me!” Nigel is my brother-in-law and he rings  my sister at least 5 times a day to check up on her. My sister has the patience of a saint. If my beloved did the same, I’d change my telephone numbers and not tell him.

So, at 10:00am in the morning, it was far more likely that he wanted me to do something for him. I was right. He had lost his passport and by telling me he was effectively passing over the problem. Yes, my beloved is never unduly inconvenienced by the loss of money, credit cards, documents, personal belongings or even me. No, he knows that I will sort it for him. 

He rang just as I was leaving for my 2:30hr ride. I was not delighted to hear from him particularly given the problem. Richard and his passport have become separated on a number of occasions but his passage in international waters has always been soothed by me. In other words, it’s not been a problem for him. I know the drill and within minutes I had advised him what to do in order to ensure his return to France tomorrow. I was tempted to omit this stage but recognised that it would only cause me more problems further down the line.

I then set about  resolving how he could get a replacement passport on Monday so that he could fly to the US on Wednesday. Of yes, when my beloved does something he always goes for maximum impact and disruption. The very helpful embassy staff in Marseille advised me that while in theory it was possible to enter the US on a temporary passport, it was probably not advisable. Given that my beloved is tall, blond-haired and blue-eyed this may well have worked, but I wasn’t taking any chances. 

I have arranged to catapult him to the front of the queue at the embassy in Paris on Monday morning. He cannot fly to Paris as neither Easyjet nor Air France could confirm that he’d be allowed to fly from Nice with only his German driving licence to confirm his identity. So, that means he’ll be going up on the train on Sunday afternoon. In addition, I’ve printed off the necessary forms, dug out his birth certificate and arranged for our Doctor to certify that his photos are indeed a true likeness of him. Now, I’m just savouring the remaining few hours of bliss before his return.

Spoilt

My regular reader(s) knows of my obsession in planning as much as possible, as far ahead as possible. I’ve volunteered to help out at the World Road Race Championships in Melbourne 2010, and I’ll be going irrespective of whether or not they avail themselves of my services. The challenge is to find the lowest club class fare. Yes, I know economy would be way cheaper but I don’t do long-haul steerage. When I get on the plane for a long-haul flight I want to either go upstairs or turn left, never right.

I confess to having been spoilt many years ago while working in the internal audit department of an American bank. At short notice, they needed someone to fly over to Hong Kong to conduct an audit of the loans department. Bizarrely, I was the only volunteer and, even as a fairly junior member of staff, I got to travel FIRST CLASS.

I flew first class on Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong, cocooned in the lap of luxury, where I had a truly fantastic time, largely because I was on my lonesome and could do what I wanted, when I wanted; always my preferred state of affairs. I would travel to the office each morning in the (free) air-conditioned, hotel limousine as far as the Star Ferry and then board the ferry. Evenings were spent wandering around Hong Kong’s different districts and visiting lots of wonderful restaurants, which included having  afternoon tea at The Peninsula Hotel, something of an institution or rite of passage. I also visited China and Macau.

I was then asked to fly down to the Singapore office which was having problems accounting for futures and options. I flew there on Singapore Airlines, again first class and similarly luxurious. Regrettably, I had to fly back to Blighty on British Airways.

This was in the early eighties before Lords King and Marshal had worked their magic on the airline. Suffice to say that the difference between the oriental airlines and BA was so marked that I was moved to write a letter to Lord King with a few constructive criticisms as to how he might bridge the yawning chasm, which stretched over 5 pages. I firmly believe you get what you’re prepared to put up with. So, if you’re not happy, speak up! I received a delightful, hand-written note from Lord King thanking me for my thoughts and advising that they would be taken into consideration in the forthcoming re-launch of BA. And, so they were.

On the other hand, Richard Branson, oft-cited as a business guru, could not find the time to respond to my letter outlining my dissatisfaction with Virgin Atlantic, as a consequence, I have never darkened his door again. Plus, I shudder to think how many people I have told about my dire experiences on his airline.

Contrast this, if you will, with my experience of Easyjet who refunded the cost of my flight, after a delay of in excess of 4 hours, before I had time to apply finger to keyboard . So, while I’m happy to support both Easyjet and BA, neither of these are going to get me a cheap, business class fare to Melbourne. We had planned to use our Airmiles with Lufthansa but this took us on a round the world odyssey going out via LA and back via Bangkok. The best deal I’ve found to date is on Qatar airlines, via Doha from Milan. Of course, I’ve already booked the hotels.

Postscript: Booked two club class return tickets to Melbourne on Qatar Airlines for Euros 5,224 – bargain!