A very good evening to you all from the Lifestyle Support Guru, and a somewhat belated Happy New Year (or HNY as many people wrote. Why not go the whole hog and just use MC for Merry Christmas and HB for Happy Birthday – saves all that tiresome effort of writing or typing the whole thing out!).
Tonight, I thought I would regale you with the tale of a friend who recently had the misfortune of having to be wheeled through Alicante airport. When I say ‘wheeled’, I mean that she was in a wheelchair, rather than attached to a set of wheels like some strange living suitcase – no way she would have fitted in Ryanair’s overhead cabin lockers! How did this come about? you may well wonder. I shall recount the tale as she recounted it to me.
This very good friend had gone on holiday to Spain over the Christmas period with two siblings, to get away from the hurly-burly of a British Christmas. It was a very enjoyable time, visiting the local bars to get the authentic feel of a foreign country. We went – sorry, THEY went – to places such as ‘The Bog Road’, ‘O’Leary’s’, ‘O’Riordan’s’, all filled with people who had lived there since time immemorial, or at least since the 1970s. There was one upstart newcomer bar called Bushwhacka, but the friends couldn’t see that lasting long because they actually measured out the drinks such as Baileys – rather than just pouring them until you said ‘Stop – AND charged an incredible 3 euros for a large glass of wine, compared with the ‘proper’ local bars which charged a more acceptable 2 euros. One other bar which showed potential was called Miguel’s (or something equally foreign) and had a lovely tapas menu as well as an owner who only spoke Spanish.
The siblings were quite prepared to spend the holidays there, improving their foreign language skills and working their way through the tapas menu. Imagine their disappointment when they turned up the next day and saw a notice on the door; ‘Cerrado hasta febraro’ – ‘Closed until February’! Miguel obviously hadn’t realised quite how much business he could have had over a 12-day period with the siblings.
So, what does this have to do with the friend being wheeled through Alicante airport? Well, nothing, really – I was just trying to give some local colour and tell a tale!
Without boring you with details, suffice to say that, for unknown reasons, the good friend had developed some problems with breathlessness during the holiday and it was thought best to ask for assistance at the airport for the return journey.
Upon the siblings’ arrival there on the day of departure, a very nice young lady turned up with a wheelchair and wheeled the friend off to the special queue for the less mobile, followed by one sibling wheeling two suitcases (the other sibling would be following a few days later). They joined a queue of other similarly afflicted people, none below the age of 70, apart from my friend – God’s waiting room, indeed! Once through the security check (helpers on either side of the stand-up screening machine in case anyone wobbled or fell over), the wheelchairs were all lined up alongside each other to await a helper to take them to the aircraft – this was true GTA! (No, not Grand Theft Auto, more Geriatrics To Alicante!)
Luckily, the friend had her sibling to push her along – the airport was pretty busy, but the sibling managed to find a space for a wheelchair to await the announcement of the flight departure. (Did I mention that this space was in an airport bar and that every other wheelchair-bound person had found their way there as well?)
All went well, including the friend being ‘offloaded’ at East Midlands Airport via the mobility lift from the plane, during which time she made a friend for life – between getting in the mobility lift and going through passport control, this other invalid had told the friend her full life story, from where she’d been born to why she was on the mobility lift.
The only worrying part was when they seemed to be one wheelchair short and it looked as if my friend was going to have to be loaded back onto the plane and returned to Alicante like some piece of discarded and unwanted baggage. Maybe the siblings could have claimed something on the insurance?
The friend has made a full recovery – well, when I say ‘full’, I mean as full as is possible for a lazy, overweight person who avoids most form of exercise other than walking to the pub. Good night!