Hey blog lovers we are back on our hols! Its been a long 4 months since our trip to Copenhagen but we are back destroying the environment with a trip to Bilbao. This is actually a present from my parents and my sister Nikki, for Karen’s birthday. If you remember last September we all went away for Nikki’s “significant birthday”. Well this time it’s Karen’s significant birthday. I’m not telling you how old she is, but they do make bank notes in this denomination, but I have never seem one; you know when you get that feeling that you are now closer to being a centurion than you are to when you were born? No, me neither, but Karen will do tomorrow.

As I say, this trip is a present, but I think it might also be my present for my significant birthday. The only thing is that I don’t reach that milestone for ages yet. We’ll have left the EU before I get there; we’ll have been knocked out of the World Cup ages before I get there; ok it’s only next year, but at the the moment I am still enjoying only being in my fourth decade.

The first part of the trip i.e. getting to the airport was remarkably unremarkable. We arrived earlier than anticipated and less than 10 minutes after dropping the car off we were stood at security going through the undressing performance. I was stopped to be scanned. I looked back at the monitor on the body scanner and it had highlighted some issue with my left ankle. Funnily enough I have been having a few problems with my left foot, so I wondered if they had done a quick CT scan at the same time and it had identified a torn ligament or such like. It hadn’t. I just obviously had a very suspicious left ankle so my shoes were removed and lower legs scanned. A couple of minutes later I was let go, happy in the knowledge that at least my calf, ankles and feet were gloriously metal free.

When I caught up with Karen she had all her possessions and my case but told me that the tray with my jacket, phone and tablet had gone down the other side to be inspected. I’m guessing with current events in the Middle East that security will be tighter than usual so I just resigned myself to it. Saying that, there were a LOT of people having their bags inspected. In fact people were struggling to get past us to continue their “onward journey”. (What is it with air travel that they wish you a “pleasant onward journey?” What other sort of journey is there? Anyway, I digress.)

The security staff were struggling to keep up with all the trays coming through and when they picked up the next tray of possessions they would parade it like a prize in a raffle or a lot at an auction and ask whose it was. A rather large ruck sack was claimed by a young gentleman.

“Have you packed this bag yourself?” He was quizzed. English appeared not to be his first language and he looked slightly bemused. The security staff were obviously used to this scenario and had been trained how to respond professionally.

“HAVE…YOU…PACKED…THIS…BAG…YOURSELF?” The officer bawled at him slowly and clearly. It obviously worked though as he responded “No”. Now in all my days travelling I have never heard anyone reply “no” to that question. The group of people waiting for their trays to be searched looked at each other slightly nervously. The security officers also looked slightly nervous.

“Who packed this back?”

“My family”

“Are your family here?”


Cue the group of onlookers taking one step back from the bag.

“Do you have a passport?”


“Where is it?”

“In the bag”

Cue the group of onlookers taking a further step back. I knew my passport phone and wallet where in my jacket in the tray, but even I considered that now was the time to just to leave and head to duty free.

There was a conflab between the officers and it was deemed that the bag needed to be completely emptied and swabbed to within an inch of its life. In the meantime (and much to my relief) my tray had made it to the search station.

The officer scanned the tray and his bar code reader made that “computer says no” sort of sound. He tried two more times, still with the no joy. The only thing that could have made this moment more perfect would have been if it had chirped “unidentified item in the bagging area”. He tapped away at his touch screen and had a little rifle through my belonging before declaring;

“This shouldn’t have come through, you have a bad tray”.

I have to confess I never realised that I was playing a baggage orientated game of Russian Roulette when I went through security; but it would appear that lurking amongst all those innocuous looking grey trays is one bad ‘un. For a moment I wondered what sort of of a life this tray must have experienced to go off the rails and reek havoc on a passengers journeys, then I noticed it was just that half of it’s bar code had been ripped off and it wouldn’t scan. A few minutes later my jacket was put into a “good tray” and rescanned. We quickly headed off to departures while the gentleman with the bag he didn’t pack headed off the other way accompanied by security officers and the sound of rubber gloves menacingly being snapped on.

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