King of Excellent (according to Scaryduck)

Monday, August 16

The tale of the missing passport. (May contain gratuitous swearing)

Last weekend saw the final return of TDT (on asides, do you think I should change that? I was thinking TFW, the future wife) before we head over to Ireland on a more permanent basis. This time, she brought her Mum with her, so she could see what TDT had been visiting so regularly since we met over a year ago. The weekend was very nearly non existent, with me being so ill on the Wednesday, so I was more than relieved when the medikashun worked and all was normal by Thursday morning. This meant all went ahead.
A pleasant weekend was spent seeing shops, scenery and pubs for meals, including for the first time, our return to the pub TDT and I first had a meal in. A small bit of food was still stuck to the wall. We sampled the delights of FForestfach on the outskirts of Swansea, where TDT's mum got a most excellent quilt and I got a new camera bag. The weather was decidely close and quite often our plans were put on hold because of hazy views and exceptional humidity. Also, getting up each day near to midday meant we didn't get to do half as much as we planned.
Anyway, by the Monday, it was planned to leave by lunchtime, head up to McArthur Glen (a local retail outlet), have a pleasant lunch in the harvester next door, and pootle up to Bristol Airport with loads of time to spare. All TDT and her mum had to do was pack, I'd print out the boarding passes, and Robert's your father's brother. All ready to go, TDT thought she'd check she had everything. Purse, check. Fags, check. Passport, where's my passport? She checked her bag, twice. I checked it, twice. We checked her mum's bag, twice. We checked the bedroom, bathroom, lounge and my office. Nada, nothing, zip. John checked the car, twice. The fact was, her passport was AWOL. After an hour and a half of looking, we realised this was the case. So, being born in the U.S., she'd have to see the U.S. Embassy to get a replacement to get home. I sat at the PC, and got their exceptionally helpful phone number. The automated system filled us in.
"If you've lost your passport, then you need to report the passport as stolen to the Police at your nearest station. Then you need to file a report and get a crime number. Then, and only then, will we book an appointment with you at our London embassy, which can take up to 15 days(!). You will have to turn up with any other identification to prove who you are, and we will require to take measurements of your inside leg and your DNA to verify who you are*"

*may contain traces of lie.
TDT started to cry. Quite frankly, I couldn't blame her. Apart from it meant she'd have to stay with me a couple of weeks, every cloud and all that. I checked around t'internet and found a phone number for U.S. office in Cardiff, and spoke to them. It was lunchtime there, but they said if I could report it lost to the Police, and phone back at 2, all would be ok.
I had half an hour to wait, so before I panicked and rang the filth, I thought let's do some of my own detective work. Let's work backwards from her journey, phoning whoever I needed to to find it.
The car didn't have it.
Bristol Airport's lost property didn't have it. (This was the most likely place.)
Aer Lingus's Lost property didn't have it. (TDT was sure she'd put it in the pocket on the plane).
Shannon Airport. (I'd lost all hope at this point. How could she have got through passport control and onto the plane without her passport.) They had it. "Ah yes, it's here in a brown envelope, waiting to be collected."
"It is? Great!" TDT starts doing a funny little dance. "So, how does she get on the plane over here if the passport is there?"
"I don't feckin' know. How did she get on the plane over there in the first place? I'll have to go and see the agents at the Aer Lingus check in desk, and let them know that their colleagues in Bristol would call them to verify they have the passport. You'll have to go and see the guys at Aer Lingus in Bristol and explain it to them, then they can phone to verify. Even better in fact would be if you can phone them on the desk before you leave for the airport, that way everything's in place for TDT's arrival." It was just after 1:30. It takes maximum 2 hours to get to Bristol airport, and the gate shut at 4:55. I had over an hour to phone them
"Welcome to Bristol Airport. For Arrivals, press 1. For departures, press 2. To leave the menu system, press star."
I try again.
"Welcome to Bristol Airport. For Arrivals, press 1. For departures, press 2. To leave the menu system, press star."
"Please enter the numerical part of your flight number"
"Aer Lingus Flight to Shannon is not delayed, scheduled to leave at 1720. Thank you for calling Bristol Airport."
"Double wank."
I phone Aer Lingus, who tell me I have to phone Bristol. I phone the lost property desk, who tell me I have to phone the main number. I phone any number I can find on the Bristol Airport website, all of which tell me to phone the main number.
"Shitty bollocks pooey wank wank"
It's now gone 3. I have an hour and 55 minutes, so we leave. I was now starving, and feeling unwell, so we had to stop for something to eat. I suggested a Burger King, not quite the last meal I'd planned, but what the hey. We actually left the Burger King in Swansea at 3:20. I had an an hour and a half to do 90 miles. It was going to be close. I said to TDT "If I get done, I don't care. By the time the ticket arrives, I'll be living in Ireland." And so, 110mph it was. The rain was coming down, the road was awash with spray, and 70mph in the conditions wasn't advisable. So, 110 really wasn't a good idea, but what choice did I have?
We arrived in Bristol Airport an hour later. 4:36 to be exact, and I dropped them at the door whilst I went to park. When I returned, knowing they'd get on the plane, I laid into the poor pleb on the desk. I know it wasn't his fault, but he got them checked in etc and frenzied goodbyes were made at the security gate. John and I, now coming down from adrenaline, went back downstairs to find the customer service desk.
The poor guy didn't know what hit him. He was all "erm" and "er" when I told him my problem. I made it clear that his phone system was about as much use as Richard Hammond's helmet on a York airfield. His colleague then appeared, and tried the phone system himself. After 60 seconds, he said something.
"Ah yes, this is the customer services desk downstairs. I was just checking. Thank you."
"You got through? You GOT THROUGH? How the f...?"
"It's ok sir. If you wait 30 seconds after option 2, you'll get options 3 and 4. 4 takes you through to the switchboard."
"And what fucking good is that? 30-fucking-seconds after? How am I supposed to know that? Are you deliberately taking the piss?"
"Why yes, of course sir. We're the CAA."

Nuff said.