Sprogs Abroad: Travels with My Daddy
Today is a very special day. I am going on my first trip abroad with my mummy and daddy. I don’t really know where we are going or why but it’s all terrible exciting.
Mummy has told me not to worry or be too scared as she says that Daddy spends half his life travelling abroad and is really an expert in these things. Looking at him struggling with the three cases, two carry-on bags and changing bag you would never have guessed. Look, he’s forgotten my favourite teddy-bear. Perhaps if I kick my legs in the air and have a little bit of a cry he will remember and put it in his pocket for me…
Right, that’s better. A little boy can’t be expected to travel the world without his favourite teddy bear can he? I mean, I may be all of three months old and already a man of the world with my own passport and airmiles card, but some things just aren’t done are they?
Daddy is looking quite stressed. Mummy is rushing around trying to get organised. Last night I watched them wrap lots of presents up with pretty coloured paper. Daddy told me all about Christmas and visiting Granny and Granddad Cloggy (as he calls my Dutch family). Of course it’s all new to me, and I think I will have trouble sleeping on my way to the airport as I am so excited.
Daddy is now packing his own case. Almost every week since I have been born I have laid in my cot and watched him struggle to squeeze everything in. I don’t know where he goes when he goes away with his case, but Mummy says it’s to see his mistress in Helsinki. Mummy hasn’t explained what a mistress is but I don’t think it can be too bad as every time daddy comes back he always has presents for mummy and I. Last week he bought me a football shirt from somewhere called Denmark – its too big for me now but next summer I shall definitely look the part in it. Perhaps that cute little baby Sophie from the nursery will be impressed.
It’s now time to go. Daddy has arranged for his normal driver to collect us and drive us to the airport. Neither mummy or daddy wanted to drive as they told me that the M25 was always busy and not much fun. This worries me as the last time daddy said something wasn’t fun he took me to the doctor’s for some injections that hurt terribly. Daddy can be so nasty sometimes.
Whilst Daddy straps me into the car seat mummy is helping the driver with the bags. It’s funny, but Mummy and I have often waved out the window to the driver and his car seems much bigger when it’s only daddy and his small case than with all of our things. I just hope that when we get to Holland my blanket and rattle are still there. Daddy seems to be focusing on all the wrong things and is rushing around muttering about passports, medication and tickets when he really needs to worry about my teddy bear and rattle. Silly daddy.
Our driver’s car is much nicer than either mummy’s or daddy’s. Mummy’s always smells of leaking oil and Daddy’s is too small and noisy for my liking. This one seems much nicer; leather seats, soft music and the temperature is just right. Mummy and daddy sit in the back, and I am allowed to sit up front in my car-seat and keep an eye on the driver, who seems more interested in making faces at me than keeping his eye on the road. Frankly I find this rather worrying (though, of course, I am a handsome little man, and get this response everywhere I go) and wonder if this is why Daddy always comes back from his travels looking shattered. Poor daddy.
The traffic it seems isn’t too bad, and I am able to let mummy and daddy close their eyes and get some rest on the way. The driver, who now seems to be concentrating on the road a little more, is amusing enough to keep me interested. Poor Daddy has big black bags under his eyes and looks like he needs a rest anyway. Mummy I notice has dribbled on Daddy’s shirt. Poor Daddy again. But look, we are arriving at the airport now.
As Mummy loads all the bags onto a trolley the driver helps Daddy lift me into the baby carrier and we head off towards the terminal. Daddy has told me lots of horror stories about how busy it always is and how long we will have to queue. I hope he is teasing me (as he does when he tells me that I am going to get a Manchester United shirt for Christmas) as I am getting a bit hungry. As much as I like hanging here on Daddy’s chest, he really isn’t equipped for dinnertime.
Check-in, Daddy tells me, can often take forever. He normally travels business class so that he doesn’t have to queue, but Mummy refuses to pay business prices for us and Daddy thinks we might be stuck here forever and a day. Mummy tells Daddy that he is a snob, which seems to upset Daddy.
As we are standing in the queue and Daddy is singing a nice little song to me, a kind lady in a blue uniform asks us if we would like to go to the front of the queue. She smiles at Daddy and makes lots of encouraging cooing noises in my direction and asks for our documents. Daddy hands over tickets, passports and bags. The kind lady says I look even more handsome in the flesh than I do in my passport picture. I roll my eyes and humour her. I had that picture taken when I was three days old – I am now a grand old man of three months, of course I am going to be more handsome. Silly lady.
Now we have our tickets, and it’s time to go through immigration and customs. Daddy tells me that today the airport is really quiet. I am quite pleased. There is already a lot to look at; pretty girls in strange clothes, people of all skin colours, sparkling Christmas decorations and lots and lots of sounds. It’s all terribly exciting and I can’t understand why Daddy gets cross at having to come to the airport all the time.
A nice man in a turban asks us to go to the front of the queue (Daddy howls with laughter at the cross-looking business men who look daggers at us), and after emptying his pockets – car keys, chewing gum, coins, my teddy bear, cell phone – he walks me through the metal detector. I am a little bit disappointed we don’t set the alarm off but have to keep a good eye out to make sure my teddy doesn’t get lost. Once he is safely tucked away again it’s off for some lunch. I am looking forward to a refreshing and healthy snack of milk whilst Mummy and Daddy are looking forward to a McDonald’s.
I really enjoy my lunch. There is nothing better than dining alfresco and as soon as Mummy has changed me (opps, sorry daddy, I am sure the stain will come out) Daddy takes me for a walk around the airport. There are so many things to do – shops to look in, new smells and sounds to experience, strange and interesting people to look at and some last minute presents to buy. Whilst we are walking around Mummy finds a quiet corner to sit down and close her eyes.
My head is just getting heavy and I am thinking about having a short nap when Daddy announces that our flight has been called. We rush back to Mummy, wake her up and head off to the gate. Daddy tells me that sometimes at Heathrow it can take 10 minutes to walk to the gate, but he says, rather ominously, Amsterdam is much worse. Mummy gives him a dirty look. At the gate another nice lady, who makes a real fuss of me (aren’t I just a real lady killer?) escorts us to the plane. Daddy explains that we get priority as it might take us a little more time to get settled. It’s really getting exciting now and I can’t wait to take off.
I have decided to sit on Daddy’s lap for the duration of the flight and Mummy’s on the way home. The stewardess gives me a special seat belt and straps me in. Mummy is next to me and I can see Teddy poking out of Daddy’s pocket. I guess he is excited too.
The plane is soon full and a safety demonstration is given (Daddy explains this to me as Mummy looks around worried). Daddy also tells me not to be too scared when we take off, and I notice that he has my comforter ready just in case. I gurgle away happily and try to not feel too scared – after all, I am a world traveller now.
The engines fire up and the plane begins to shake. Mummy looks distinctly grey now. Daddy has closed his eyes. The plane rattles and shakes and I am rocked around on Daddy’s lap. I am not scared as there are too many sights and sounds to keep me amused, besides it’s just like driving in Daddy’s car. By the time we level out and are cruising above the clouds it’s time for another snack. Mummy has a coke and a piece of carrot cake, Daddy has a beer and I have some more milk. Mummy then winds me and I let out a cracking burp. People at the front turn round and smile at me whilst Daddy sniggers into his beer. “Like father like son,” Mummy giggles.
I am really enjoying this. Everyone keeps smiling at me and pulling silly faces. The stewardess has been round three times to see if I want to play – of course I don’t, can’t she see I am having my after dinner snack? And then, just when things are getting a little boring and I am drifting off to sleep, the plane begins to descend into Amsterdam. Daddy tells me this might be painful to my little ears and again offers me my comforter. But I don’t need it and we are soon on the ground at the terminal. As Daddy lifts me into the carrier and straps me to this chest I can’t help but think this is all too easy and Daddy must get paid a lot of money for doing nothing. I mean, any fool can sit on a plane twice a week can’t they?
We bounce through the terminal doing all the things we did in Heathrow, except in reverse. We collect our bags, show our passports and wander out to the terminal. Grandad Cloggy is there to collect us and drive us home. I have so much to tell him, but right now I am a tired little boy and it will have to wait. Perhaps, travelling the world for a living isn’t so much fun after all.