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Been and Gone

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Well, that’s Megan’s much anticipated visit been and gone. At this moment, she is somewhere mid-Atlantic, on her way to Philadelphia. I’ve been tracking her flight. The aircraft has just climbed several thousand feet higher and made a significant deviation from its planned flight path. I suspect they are avoiding strong headwinds or avoiding turbulence. Megan’s check in early this morning at Alicante airport was a nonsense. Very short queue on arrival. Long delays while the checker-in-er checked in the two previous sets of people. It took ages. Lots of challenge about carry on bags. Lots of weighing and re-packing of hold bags. With one family, it took two men to put two cases onto the conveyor, the bags were so heavy. Lots of telephoning someone. Lots of anxious faces, some on the faces of airport staff.  When Megan’s turn came, the checker-in-er challenged her booking (stored on a mobile phone), rang someone (presumably at headquarters), consulted her computer screen, typed things into a keyboard. There had been a very short queue behind and only one check-in desk open. By the time the next twenty minutes had expired, the queue was snaking way past the barriers and into the main concourse. And people in the queue were beginning to expire. Some were diverted to the ‘business only’ desk. The supervisor was summoned, inspected the screen at the desk where Megan was waiting patiently, shrugged his shoulders and opened another desk to relieve the queue. We had arrived at the airport so promptly, promising ourselves a last coffee with Megan. By the time her three boarding passes were issued, one to Madrid, one to Philadelphia and one on to Saint Louis, Megan had to go straight through security as boarding time was close. How close it was for those still behind her in the queue is anyone’s guess. We got home from the airport to find a telephone message from Megan. Her boarding pass for Madrid, at the final boarding stage, did not work, so lots of computer typing had to be gone through before she boarded. When she boarded, someone else was in her numbered seat and she was ushered to a seat at the uttermost back of the aircraft. The message we received from her was, ‘In Madrid, why is it so difficult to leave Spain, got my Burger King.’ So, I hope whatever her flight is avoiding is not too tough on her. It has been a joy to have her in the house and all our arrangements, including yesterday’s lunch for church friends and neighbours, went well. Not for the first time, our house has been ‘standing room only’. Thirty people, including us. Not for the first time, we have struggled with the weather. We needed to be able to get some visitors outside: last time it was a problem with rain and the lower patio flooding; this time, high winds and every door in the house banging and clashing. But it was warm enough to sit outside in the arbor. It was so nice, that the final guests were still there well after sunset and we had to put the arbor lights on. A good job that I had replaced two bulbs that had been shattered in the ‘Gota Fria’ a few weeks ago. As she left the house, Megan promised that she would be back again. After this morning’s airport trauma, she may be having second thoughts. Jeanie and I, usually flying only to England, do internet check-in at home, have our boarding passes already printed out, take only a cabin bag, so never have to queue at the airport check in desks. Now I understand why we do it that way.

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