…even with all that planning!

Those who know me have made my obsession with planning, a family joke. The minute Lady and I decide on a break, even a long weekend, I open a new file on the computer and begin to build-up a calendar and details of flights, hotels, things to be checked and packed, spare batteries for cameras, diaries, travel insurance, booklets on local places to be seen, neighbours to check out the house, list of items in each case in case one gets lost…etc, etc, etc… A copy (sarcastically called the Schedule) is then made available to Son and/or Daughter.

And so (with everything planned and organised as per the Schedule) it was that four of us recently booked-into Glasgow Airport at the un-Godly hour of 6am. Luggage accepted by the airline within weight limits, and the appropriate boarding passes received, we headed to the comfort food area for a full Scottish breakfast and some banter, in happy anticipation of the forth-coming trip to the sunnier climes of the Canaries.

Adequately sated, all bags and coats were gathered together as we headed towards Security Clearance. This required that we all carry our own hand luggage, passport, and boarding pass, and since I had the assembled paperwork, it was up to me to hand over the passports and passes to each individual. It was only then we discovered, as we stood at the entrance to Security that there were only three passports to identify four individuals! …and guess whose passport was missing!!!!!

….OK folks, everyone check your pockets, handbags, wallets and rucksacks….but no sign! Everyone remained calm and no naughty words were exchanged. I now had to admit that my Schedule had not anything to say on such an eventuality…we were into uncharted waters. Logic was now called-for. If necessary, three could go on holiday and I could investigate the situation and follow as quickly as possible….not much fun for me!

I decided that I would go back over the areas where we had been and ask and hunt about. The restaurant was investigated but looking under the seats only resulted in the recovery of 4op in loose change. Also nothing had been handed in to the staff. Next, there must be an Enquiry Desk where things might have been handed in, but there was no-one about…great!

So back along the long walk to the Check-in Desk in Terminal 2. Long queues had formed, but I simply appealed to their better nature, and went to the front to ask the same lady who had dealt with us….but again drew a blank….Oh dear, the original optimism of an early resolution was fading rapidly!

Walking disconsolately back past a neigbouring check-in desk, my name was called out by the assistant behind the desk. As I moved over to him, he held up a little maroon booklet which looked remarkably like a passport! It was, and it even had details and photograph which identified me as the owner. We were happily re-united and a speedy call to the rest of the party brought blood-pressure levels back to normal.

The rest of the holiday was absolutely perfect, but the next time I’m watching one of those Airline programmes which expose the problems encountered at airports, I’ll be able to empathise with them!

Now what about this next holiday we’re planning?

…at the end of the hearing-aid.

I’ve been involved in the world 0f deaf and hearing-impaired people for over thirty years, much of that time from the managerial and technical side. I have lectured students, instructed, written technical papers, prepared audiology training courses, designed complex sound and inductive loop systems for major buildings, assessed and tested people,  fitted hearing aid systems and provided counselling.

All very worthy, and relatively-easy, as I felt I was in charge. Just over a year ago I was honoured when appointed a Trustee of the Board of Directors of Hearing Concern Link. It is a national charity devoted to helping people to survive socially and psychologically after the onset of hearing loss.

The early Board meetings had been tough with the reduction in Government and Council funding, and most of the talk has been about money (or lack of it!). Although we seem to have turned the corner with the help of some funding from grateful people who had been helped, we cannot rest on any laurels.

The necessity of the work we do was vividly made evident to me at an organised meeting of some of our members one Saturday in Glasgow. This is one of a series of regular courses providing an opportunity for many folk with severe and not-so-severe hearing loss, to get together and learn from a facilitator, and each other. I think it is fair to say that most of us were over 21 by a long way!

Many practical subjects were covered, including personal security, available equipment, frustration and anger. What we didn’t have the time to cover were the effect of losing the ability to appreciate music.

This is a season full of music, so can I ask you think of those who for one reason or another are not able to hear the wonderful music we so love during the Christmas period.

The luck of life

It’s been some time since I have attempted to amuse/entertain/inform/persuade/cajole fellow-bloggers with a posting here. I left you in the middle of Alaska when we were on a marvellous cruise trip from and to Vancouver. It was great and we arrived back home to get on with our semi-retirement, and to sort out the hours of video and hundreds of photos to recount the happy times.

………..and suddenly the BBC brought us news and photos of a liner beached just off Tuscany (a favourite spot of ours) and the loss of life, injury and terror involved. Whatever happened or caused it to happen may eventually be explained but things for those people involved will never be the same again.

How many times have we gone down a road where there had been a recent fatality, got on a plane after one of the same types had just crashed, or feared to get on a Pendolino train knowing what happened recently on the Edinburgh/London express?

I know that statistically travel is safer than it has ever been, and vast numbers of people traverse the roads, sea and sky of this earth of ours in perfect safety, but let us remember in our hearts those who set out on a journey and never arrived.