I have been away from bloggoland for almost a month and I have to say I miss you guys. I enjoy writing about the crazy stuff that happens to me in Italy, but more importantly I love the comments and interaction between other bloggers. So, normal service has now resumed or as normal as it is ever likely to get.
Over the past month, we have had an assortment of Mrs Sensible’s family arrive and depart, I have eaten too much fine Italian food and gained nearly all the weight that I had earlier lost. I have also played countless games of Scoponi, see here for instructions. My Zia gave me a new nickname ‘Furbo’, I think it means ‘he who wins every game of Scoponi.’
Last week I flew to the UK to watch my daughter’s passing out parade, we celebrated with copious quantities of beer as only an Englishman can. The following day I was Godparent to one of my nieces and once again we celebrated with gallons of beer at the local rugby club.
Feeling slightly hung-over and very tired I arrived at East Midlands airport at 5.30 am Sunday morning. Still wearing the clothes I had partied in four hours earlier. I consider myself a seasoned traveller; I know not to wear boots with large metal eyelets. I understand that if you don’t remove your watch and belt before passing through security, the guards become upset and will give you a quick pat down to make sure you aren’t trying to smuggle a pen knife through security. Some people do you know, even innocent mother in laws.. see here.
I passed through the metal detector without a problem, as I started to rethread my belt and scoop up my loose change I noticed that there seemed to be a bit of excitement over someone’s hand luggage. Three security men were pointing at the monitor. It was at this point that my hand baggage emerged from the x ray machine. As I waited for it to trundle down to me, (I was still struggling to loop my belt through my pants,) a female security guard picked it up, turned it on its side and pushed it back into the machine.
Stranger and stranger I thought, as my case disappeared into the machine, the guards again started pointing at the monitor. This time I took a long stare at the monitor, they were pointing at a dark grey square that looked like a big block of plasticine. Ah ha I thought, my two kilos of hermetically sealed bacon does kind of resemble a slab of semtex, or maybe even, the better quality C4 much used by the professionals.
As my case exited the machine for the second time, the female security guard asked in a very loud and authoritarian voice. “Whose case is this?” I sheepishly held up my hand and frantically started to worry, if it was illegal to transport parts of dead pigs across European borders. “Did you pack it yourself… sir?” she asked.
Breathing a fair quantity of the previous evening’s alcohol in her general direction, I said I had packed it. “Can I look inside” she asked. Now, I have always, always wanted to say “No bog off”, but ever so politely I said of course. As she started to rummage through my clothes, I tried to breathe the alcohol fumes out the side of my mouth, “it’s full of dirty clothes” I said, as a pair of boxers rose to the top of the case. Ah ha, mmm hum, she muttered. She moved my camera case, that contained my Semtex Plastacine C4 hermetically sealed middle back bacon and grabbed a box of Yorkshire T bags. “Erm” I said raising a finger in the air. “Two minutes” she said as she waltzed of down the conveyor with my precious cargo of T bags.
When she returned, she gave me back my T Bags and said “they looked strange on the monitor, but you can pack your bag and go” I nearly, ever so nearly said you made a mistake, what you saw on the monitor that looked like a block of Semtex was my bacon. It was only because I was trying to breathe out of the left hand side of my mouth, thereby not intoxicating her with alcohol fumes that I literally… kept my mouth shut.
So the moral of this story is, if you want to smuggle Semtex bacon in your hand luggage, hide it in your camera case and drink enough alcohol the night before, so you remember not to open your mouth and incriminate yourself.