Dystopian Travel

I’m sitting (not comfortably) on the plastic cattle seats in Limoges Airport’s departure lounge, ready to board my first flight in 2 years. I am of course looking forward to seeing my family very much after a prolonged period apart, but I can’t lie, when the alarm went off at 5.30am this morning and I had to pack my dossier of paperwork I had a little dose of apprehension. Firstly, about 8 house alarms went off because we had a humdinger of a storm last night and we lost power for a while. Rather then rely on Alexa to wake me up we had to just set alarms on everything else and I woke to a proper din of bleeping and screeching. Not ideal already.

I am very much a rule follower, I need to know that everything is in order, that I’m fully compliant. The last few days of admin I’ve found particularly stressful. Booking the pre flight covid test at the local pharmacy, where I’m sure the swab tickled the back of my actual eye-ball. Figuring out which day 2 PCR test was appropriate to use from a plethora of providers that are making an absolute fortune by the way. Cheaper in some instances is not better, so I didn’t opt for the £20 option with fairly mediocre reviews, I went with good old Boots at £69!! But at least it’s been delivered safely to my mums without issue. £69 for something I administer to myself at home though. Wow! And for something that Grant Schapps reckons we won’t need in a few weeks, although he’s backtracked on giving a date now as everyone went – hang on Grant, we don’t actually have enough of the cheaper antigen tests! Honestly, one of my cats makes less U turns deciding if he wants to come in or go outside.

Anyhow, the day got to a roaring start as we arrived at the Airport, dutifully 2.1/2 hours before my flight is due to depart, only to find Limoges Airport in utter darkness. Of course the airport isn’t open yet. France!. There was about a dozen of us queue loving Brits waiting outside in the dark before the doors were finally unlocked about 25 minutes later. We tried Ryanair, we really did. Once in however, instead of languishing in the cafe with a pastry and a coffee (or sometimes a beer), my paranoia, and everyone else’s too it seems, meant we all went straight for security. I had a big bag to drop, it’s just cheaper and easier to pop it in the hold, and then only have a small rucksack to deal with in the melee for customs at the other end. I will be ready to elbow people in the face for a speedy disembark though – no dawdlers please!!!

The security chap I had a bag drop reviewed my dossier, I explained that my Pass Sanitaire was in my maiden name and I had my birth and marriage certificates with me. He just said. “don’t worry Madam, I believe it’s you, and smiled”. That was the thing I was probably most concerned about. In France many items of official paperwork are issued in your Maiden name if you are female. Which is weird but fine, unless you need that name to match your travel documentation. Then, because I had a checked bag, I had the usual luggage return sticker applied to the back of my passport, but he said to show that at the second security check to show my dossier had already been reviewed, and explained all I’d need to show there would be my vaccination status. In reality they did check my passport, WARP card and the vaccination status, but all fine.

I figured I’d just buy a bottle of water from the vending machine, so once though I deposited my 1 euro 20 and selected the right number on the machine. Out of bloody order. Gah! So the only other options were what I’d class as overly acidic for a slightly temperamental early morning constitution, and had to stump up for San Pellegrino. I don’t really like fizzy water, and now everyone in the departure lounge will think I’m a pretentious arse. Ah well. Can’t be helped.

No duty free to browse or WH Smiths in this airport, it’s dinky, and can just about manage 2 planes at once, but barely. In a way I like it because it’s easy to navigate, but I am looking forward to a good old browse of duty free at Leeds Bradford when I return, plus the customary pint and beans on toast – even if it is 6.00am!

I have a pretty full week planned, including a much needed eye test, hopefully with new glasses if they can do them fast enough, otherwise I’ll order some online when I get home. Lots of catching up with friends, proper Yorkshire fish and chips, proper Sunday dinner, Homesense, Sainsburys, John Lewis, pubs…… very excited! Best of all I get to see my Mum!

I’ll do a second part to this with the customs experience at the other end, and let you know how that goes. I’m sad that I can’t use the EU passport channels any more, and I’ll never stop being sad about it. I’ll let you know how that all works out.

Have an excellent Sunday my loves. V xx

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