winter wilson

That was a close one


It was all going so well. We watched the football yesterday afternoon (Spurs v Man Utd, good game), up in good time this morning, first onto the airport shuttle bus, 20mins into terminal three at Heathrow and there were no queues at the check in.

“Do you have a copy of your visa madam? Only it’s not showing up on the system.” We exchange nervous glances. Kip being the belt and braces type had indeed got printed copies neatly placed in the travel folder that contained every detail of our ongoing trip.

The very pleasant young man (Josh) then began checking said document. He cheerily pointed out that he and Kip share the same birthday. “You’re clearly not that old” I said, realising immediately that I should have kept my mouth shut. He laughed and then pointed out that Kip’s passport number had been entered onto the visa incorrectly and that her visa stated her passport was German, when it is in fact British (Kip is German born but a UK National).

Our hearts sank to our knees. (My first thought was that I could do the tour solo, but if I did I needn’t bother coming home again. I kept quiet about that.) Josh said not to worry, he’d phone OZ immigration and see if he could get it amended. As he was talking on the phone we scrutinised his every facial expression. “Hello Bruce, I’ve got a couple of ageing dipsticks in front of me who’ve screwed up their visa details. She doesn’t know what country she was born in and he just stands there grinning like my dad on acid.” No he didn’t, but I bet that’s what he was thinking.

After twenty minutes Josh had got it sorted, we told him we loved him and he threw up in the bin.

Then came security. It’s clear that they don’t get many piano accordions through airport security. It was subjected to more X-rays than my right knee and had three beefy security men looking very puzzled. “Please take it out of the bag madam” at which point they all took a couple of steps back before slowly edging forward. One chap picked it up (brave man) it was turned over, swabbed, prodded and inspected at every angle before being handed back with a smile that said buy a chuffing mouth organ.

Drama over, we’ve had breakfast and I’m writing this waiting for our flight to Perth to be called.