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Willow vs. Valencia

Holidays are supposed to a time of stress-free relaxation, with emphasis on the 'supposed to be'. I had a rather eventful time on tour and thought I would tell a little story, if only for the reason that by the end of this you will be glad you weren’t me.

At 4:45 am I rock up to the train station, meet everyone, get on the train without a hitch and easily make it to the airport. So far so good. Eventually most of us meet (shout out to Sophie and Grace) and we head to down to our terminal and find it easily. So far so good. Then we head on to security, this is where it all goes tits up.

A woman tells me with some concealed glee “The bags too big”. Now I should probably describe my bag. It’s rather large (okay, that’s an understatement, its morbidly obese). I had measured it before I left home to check if it met the bag requirements that Hema had posted (3 times). Yeah, it was 5 centimetres over on both length and width but I thought I could compensate for it with the bag being half empty. Clearly not. I go into mild panic but tried to look chill and Hema took me to check-in as Ryanair had told us to, constantly aware that our gate was closing in less that 30 minutes. So, when we finally get to the front of the check-in queue, the Ryanair guy takes an age to weigh my bag then proceeds to tell me I need to pay £35 to put it in. I’m resigned to the fact that this holiday may be a pricey one and hurriedly try to pay. But this attempt at actually having a holiday was scuppered by this Ryanair woman who clearly wanted to cause me suffering. She glared at me and said, “Its too late”. So, I politely asked what was I to do, poor little me, and she replied (with too much sass may I add) “It’s not my problem”. I reluctantly fought the urge to tackle her and just looked gormlessly at Hema being the brainless human that I am. We ran back to security, and I imagine Hema was internally cursing me for wanting to go on tour. So, we reach security and they already think I’m dodgy since I’ve been back through the ticket gate once and they have no idea what to do with my bag, which was helpful.

It was now less that 20 minutes until gates closed. Hema said she was going to go to Barcelona instead and I was envisaging myself staying in the airport for 5 days waiting for everyone to return. Then Brian (my saviour) came up with the ingenious idea of abandoning my morbidly obese, but beautiful suitcase and only going on with my backpack. I looked at Brian, he clearly didn’t comprehend the fundamental issue of leaving MY WHOLE WARDROBE IN AN AIRPORT. WHAT WAS I GOING TO WEAR?! It was a difficult choice, no, an impossible choice, but it was one I had to make. So, I sprawled myself on the floor, ripped open my suitcase and frantically grabbed at anything I could lay my hands on and shoved it into my backpack (which, FYI, did fit the bag specifications). Thankfully I remembered to pack my underwater camera which I brought specially, it’s an absolute essential! Meanwhile a security guard approaches us, ignoring my frantic state and asks whether we know a certain Sophie Penny. I reply that I do but at this moment am currently engaged with more important things than relaying my friends list. He seems oblivious to my state of panic and asks me whether I know Sophie’s address. I gave him my most scathing look and continued shoving things into my backpack. Meanwhile Hema is trying to prove that we indeed know Sophie whilst also hanging up on Sophie who is rather stressed out also since she lost her purse. Hema says she needs to abandon me now because I’m a lost cause and she actually wants to have a holiday (which is fair), so I’m left alone with Brian who thought it was absolutely essential that I remembered my toothpaste because I can’t get that in Valencia of course.

15 minutes til gates close and I have to put my bag somewhere, I cant just leave it all alone in the middle of the fast track lane in this godforsaken airport. I am told I must take it to Spar, as in the shop Spar, or lost property. I was rather confused what Brian meant by taking my bag to Spar since I wasn’t intending on having a clothes sale in the middle of the airport, hence I denied this lucrative business opportunity and was rushed to lost property by a lovely lady called Debbie (probably, I wasn’t really looking at name badges at this point). She said we needed to rush but she seemed intent to only speed walk which I was not content with. When we finally reach lost property this man has the gall to tell me that I need to pay him £60 for the privilege of having my bag in lost property. I am resigned to the fact that I will be stripped of all my money and my dignity at this point, heavily sweating that I am and say yes hurriedly reminding him my gate closes in 10 minutes. He, however, seems unconcerned and asks me security questions trying to ascertain whether I had any bombs in my bag. If I was a terrorist, my masterplan would not be to blow up lost property, you numpty. I deny being a terrorist and he writes down my details in this table, which I really don’t have time for. When he finally takes my bag Debbie shouts run and I run. I pushed past old men and children alike through the fast track lane to security where dozens of people are in the way of me and my holiday. But an angel shouted, “She’s on the Valencia trip!” and I was taken to the front and helped to separate out my electricals and liquids like the helpless child I am. I then realised at this point I had brought in liquids over 100ml so I threw them in the general direction of the bin but mostly at innocent bystander’s legs. I then proceed to the scanny thingy to check that I had no bombs and get VIP treatment skipping to the front of the queue. After a rather detailed pat down since I looked dodgy af, I hopped from foot to foot waiting for my measly remaining belongings. When they eventually arrived, I shoved them into my backpack unable to close it and ran like a mad woman. I don’t know why the person who designed Manchester airport thought it would be so necessary to create so many corridors, maybe they knew it would cause people pain and they are sadistically inclined, either way I cursed them whilst channelling my inner Usain bolt. I glanced at a screen as I whizz by to see “gates closing” beside the Valencia flight which really wasn’t that encouraging but I ploughed on. I ran past a help desk and knocked over their telephone in my haste but I was rather preoccupied with catching a flight thank you very much. I saw the gate ahead of me and flew forwards and shoved my boarding pass at the rather baffled lady, surveying this bright red, dishevelled creature in front of her. Thankfully she let me on and I sprinted down the stairs relief flooding through me. I was going to go on holiday! I ran past this couple also getting my flight who were completely unconcerned by the fact that they nearly missed their flight and jumped up the stairs, entering the plane to be greeted by Sasha’s disgusted head shake.

I have never been so relieved in my life. I then proceeded to find my seat, which took a while in my muddled state and plonked myself between Hema and Ruth. Needless to say, I felt like a bit of a moron. But anyway, I was there. Safe. Then I realised: I forgot to bring underwear. This seemed rather hilarious to Ruth and Hema but I was thinking in dread how many ways I could wear one pair of knickers. I worked out 4 ways which was the majority of the trip so that seemed okay. At least I had my underwater camera. So, the plane set off and I looked out the window, mulling over my life and all the mistakes I have made. On the bright side this was my chance to be in survival mode, living off the basics.

However, when I stepped out into sunny Valencia I decided I needed to go shopping immediately and purchased a swimsuit, top and underwear, the latter I nearly forgot to buy. Praying that this would be enough to get me through the trip, I allowed myself to be lulled into a false sense of security that the worst of the holiday was over... In the next few days there were a few minor incidents. I had also forgotten to bring socks, shorts, boots and a gumshield for the match on Sunday so I was going to wear Hema’s tight tight shorts until Ruth (saviour) lent me her match shorts. Katie also helpfully said as soon as we arrived at the pitch that she had brought boots and shorts with her that I could have worn. I (accidentally) cut Hema with some broken glass and nearly got kicked out of a bar. I got a slit in my eyebrow. Again. I had to endure a multitude of banterous remarks consisting of “where’s your bag” and whenever I was wondering where my key card was the general chorus was that I left it at the airport. I also coined the phrase: “Could be worse, could be Willow”.

Then it was the last day! I was relieved, nothing else horrific had happened to me. We had a lovely day at the beach, consolidating our tans. This was the icing on the cake. I did apply sunscreen, I swear I did. Three times in fact. Either the sun cream betrayed me or Valencia wanted to punish me even more. Whichever it was, 6 hours later someone informed me that my arse and legs were rather red. This is an understatement. The suns heat was radiating from my arse,

I was that burnt. Needless to say, it was rather painful. I slathered after sun on my arse and legs liberally but this couldn’t sate the burn. I slept with deep freeze and after sun by my bed that night. I woke up with a tear on my face. Had I finally been punished enough? No, I then I had to sit on this magenta tragedy for 3 hours on the flight and nearly 2 on the train. The only brief release I had from the burn was when I rubbed after sun on my bum in the airport waiting area, totally bereft of any self respect or decorum. Valencia had taken it all. I found out on the train back to York I had taken a little bit back from Valencia, I had (accidentally) stolen the key card for our room so hah. Valencia 1000-1 Willow.

So that’s my series of unfortunate events. My reunion with my morbidly obese bag was rather romantic and beautiful. I’m happy to be home and having my mum look after me again because its pretty obvious I can’t look after myself. But apart from all that, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

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