Sunday, 31 October 2010 at 01:25
So having booked my return flight months ago, I was dismayed that three days before I was due to leave my passport was still with the Visa Section of the Ghana High Commission in London . . and the Inland Revenue having informed me that they owed me a sum of money from 2008 – had dithered around for FOUR MONTHS and still not paid me! Now I think we're all agreed that it works differently when they think YOU owe THEM money, so to say I was a little irate by this time would be an understatement. With a lot of determination and the use of that Magic Word 'Accountable', (I told them I would seek recompense if I had to cancel my flight!), I got a promise from the manager of the complaints department, who had tried to no avail to tell me my case would be looked at within two weeks, that my money would be in my bank account within a few days . . and then my passport landed on the doormat the day before I was due to leave the UK!
Well I've never managed to do things the easy way, but this time was quite spectacular! By now my family and friends were taking sides – I shouldn't go until I actually had sufficient funds unmistakeably available – I should go or I would loose the money for my flight – and then there were those who couldn't understand why I was going anyway and had always believed that I would somehow vanish somewhere never to be seen again! Nevertheless I made my mind up I was going with less than 24 hours to spare. That probably would have been OK-ish, except that I had been staying at my friend Diana's Healing Centre while she was away. Sacred Spirit is a wonderful place to stay, it restores your mind body and soul, (due to the beautiful uplifting energy she has created there), and I had been seeing the Clients of hers that needed an immediate consultation and nipping home to see my own in between. Meanwhile my youngest son Dean was newly installed in my flat looking after Diana's cats, (sounds complicated I know but it worked really well).
Now it just so happened that Diana and her partner Sebastian returned from their European tour on 12th October . . and discovered their car wouldn't start! By Wednesday 14th she was really wanting to see her beloved babies and anyway Dean was going to Edinburgh for the weekend, she also insisted that she had some money I could take with me to make sure I was ok till I got what I was owed. So I rang my brother, cos he said he wanted to see me before I left anyway, and his vehicle is big enough to fit the cats in with their whole ensemble so he very kindly offered to collect me and the cats etc., deposit us at Diana's and call back to take me home a bit later. When we got there they presented me with a bottle of Schnapps – from the Black Forest no less, 40% proof! So I opened it – well what else could I be expected to do? Beautiful it was and we shared a substantial amount – in fact it would be fair to say that we were all quite intoxicated by the time we parted after exchanging love and hugs and fond farewells. I got home and drank some more with Dean, (didn't want him to feel left out), and vaguely registering the fact that it was 4 am, confidently set my alarm and went to bed feeling happy and mellow.
I was shocked when I woke up to discover it was 9 15 am!! How did that happen? I sauntered into the living room saying,
“I can't believe I slept in this morning”
“I can't believe you slept in this morning either!”
I thought that didn't sound too sympathetic, so I set about throwing things into my suitcase determined to organize myself and not panic. Dean resignedly began packing my laptop and PC essentials, and my oldest son Gareth and his partner Kate arrived to take me to the airport. Gareth looked at me and my half packed case and said
“Mam you're the most disorganized person I've ever met!”
Now I would deny that . . but I could understand where he was coming from, and bless them they ran a couple of last minute errands for me and did what they could to help. At this point I was paranoid about the weight in my case. Gareth and Kate had enlisted the help of their friends and collected 22 football tops for the kids at Mum's Love Orphanage and I was mainly concerned with making sure they were packed safely, not to mention that by this time I couldn't remember what I wanted to take or where I'd put it!
It was awful saying Goodbye to them for six months. The weekend drinks, the outings, watching the match together, making a curry whilst we sat around listening to music and enjoying our favourite tipple . . we'd made an extra special effort during the last month to make the most of those times. It was impossible to hold the tears back completely but we tried for each others sake I think and we managed reasonably well.
I had my laptop in my hand luggage, I was flying Newcastle to Amsterdam and staying overnight but since I thought I had to take all luggage with me when I reached Amsterdam, the only other things I put in were what I needed for the flight. When I checked my baggage in I discovered I didn't have to retrieve it all in Amsterdam, I didn't need to deal with my big case again till I reached Accra – that was something of a relief - but of course when I got there I realized that there were things I needed for an overnight stay that were in my big case! Oh well never mind – that was pretty much how the week had gone anyway! And by 2 30 pm on 14th October, I was in Schipol Airport, the 1st
leg of my journey complete.
To be continued . . . .
Copyright Rosa Montague.