Hello? Anybody out there? I know I deserve to have NOBODY read this blog after my exceptionally haphazard approach to updating, but I hope there might be one or two who have kept the faith.
I'm just back from a damp but enjoyable few weeks in England seeing friends, doing daughterly chores and trying to make inroads into a teriffically dull online teaching course (example question: "Is there a best seating arrangement for a class? Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of various seating plans." No really, I'm serious).
Yesterday evening, after a suspiciously incident-free journey I disembarked and waited at the luggage carousel, getting to the front and adopting an aggressive wide-legged stance in the midst of all those pushy Italians. On seeing my blue suitcase with the cheery polka dot ribbon tied round the handle I edged forward and prepared myself to lift the heifer off the belt. One, two, three, heeeave....and the handle came off in my hand. Cue friendly Englishman chasing it down the carousel and hauling down the case amid cascading bits of splintered plastic, the remains of my handle contraption. Despite the man's best efforts to help me fix it back on it was beyond repair so I set off slowly for the station, alternately attempting to carry the 20kg weight and folding myself in half and wheeling it along by holding the actual body of the case. Tragic. Twenty minutes later, having managed to get to the station, sweating in my English jeans and jumper, I pondered what to do. I umm-ed and ahh-ed for a while over calling the ex, worried that if he accompanied me home I might have to spend the rest of the evening with him being awkward. In the end I called him and he didn't pick up, which was probably better for all concerned. I hopped on the train (or, more accurately lugged myself and the sorry, bits-dropping-off excuse for a suitcase onto the nearest compartment) and decided to get off a couple of stops before mine where there's a taxi rank and take a taxi home. I managed to get off the train and luckily a kind boy saw me struggling and offered to take the case. I'd stuck the deficient handle into the front pocket and the look of comedy surprise on his face when he pulled on it and his arm, attached to the handle flew straight into the air, was hilarious). He deposited me in a taxi and looked like he was going to do something embarassing like ask me for a coffee, so I steadfastly ignored him, willing the driver to leave. The driver, not sure what the situation was ("er, maybe he wants a tip?"), stayed put while the guy waved, tapped on windows and mimed telephoning to try to get my attention. In the end we managed to establish through a crack in the window that I wasn't interested, but thanks for the help anyway and off we went. I tipped the driver enough at the other end to get the case as near to my door as possible. Finally inside the house I breathed a sigh of relief and got on with making a well-deserved plate of pasta. Ah, it's good to be home.
ps, This is my second suitcase broken in a couple of years when going through Fiumicino airport. Has anyone had a similar experience? Are the luggage handlers particularly "enthusiastic" there or buoyed up on one too many coffees?