Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Going Mad!

Never knew that international travel can be included in the job description of a mother!

It is completely mad.

At 10.30 a.m. this morning I was walking the dog with mother in law and hubby and now here we are in Madrid. (Hubby had already taken the day off, and mother in law had come up to visit from Devon, because a few weeks ago he won tickets to a "Take That" concert in London tonight. We never win anything, so that in itself was pretty amazing. Took some organising. Hubby arranged day off and MIL to come and look after the brood.)

We had thought that as we had heard nothing by 5 p.m. last night that she hadn´t been successful at Monday´s audition. So in the words of all those nauseating people on t.v. competitions, we both said: "It´s ok We´ve had a great day out, and it´s been such a wonderful experience". You can imagine the sugary sweetness of the sentiment as we say it.

Then at 5.15 p.m. yesterday evening Tarquin phoned. Tarquin is ED's agent gained from mother running a stage school and trying out agency system on daughter, to see if students can get jobs.

"You´re the hot favourite" he said, but they are not making a final decision until tomorrow morning." Talk about last minute. We knew that the filming was to be in Madrid on Thursday and Friday.

10 a.m. this morning. Phone Tarquin. Still no news.

10.30 a.m. Go for walk with dog, as decide am probably going to London tonight to see "Take That" and not going to be international parental traveller.

12 0´clock. Phone rings. In a completely non excited way, T says. "Well, they´ve booked her. Where´s your nearest airport? And can I have both your passport numbers?" I am to go too, because ED is only 16 and they feel that it is more appropriate. Birmingham I reply. "I´ll call back," he says.

12.05. "No planes that work from Birmingham. Where else? "
Heathrow or Cardiff is probably best I say. (Decide to avoid Bristol, due to impossible drive across or round Bristol itself).

12.10. "We´ve booked you on the 3.35." We can´t, I say. It´s over 2 hours to Heathrow from here.

12.15. "Youré on the 4.35. Can´t be any later, because there is a costume fitting tonight. "

Hubby meanwhile has gone to collect eldest daughter from school, where he has to explain to Head the necessity to take her out of school for 2 1/2 days. She is in the 6th form, so legally she is covered, but he takes the educational viewpoint of course. "From the school´s point of view, as an educator, I have to advise you that I really don´t think that this is a good idea. But of course, it is your call." Hubby manfully rises to the occasion and tells Headteacher that it is important that Emily does this and that they have to go, now, as flight is leaving very soon. From Heathrow.

12.20. Throw my bag together very quickly, Probably pack completely inappropriate clothing. Have no idea what the temparature is in Madrid and no time to find out.

12.35 Talk to eldest daughter on phone. Directs me to do packing.

12.49. Write super quick blog to let world know the news. MIL downloads camera, so that we can take it, even though it has very weak and on way out batteries. Will buy some at Heathrow.

12.52 ED and hubby arrive home. ED runs upstairs and gets another 1/2 a dozen things to put in the bag.

12.55 Leave for Heathrow.

1 p.m. Help, I don´t think I packed any knickers I say.
Mine will fit you Mum says ED. Highly unlikely I think. (ED size 8. Old Mother pushing a 16 at moment).

3.05 p.m. arrive at Heathrow. Park. Walk away from car.

Walk back to car. Haven´t locked it..

Walk away again.

Walk back again. Didn´t take note of bay.

It´s E13.

Go to get bus. Very uncoolly take photos beforehand. Not regular international traveller.

We arrive in the airport at 3.30 p.m. and check in. Oh my goodness. We are going business class. Now for all you seasoned travellers out there, this is no big deal, but for me aged 44 and for ED aged 16, it is BIG!! Boarding card is marked as MAD. I presume that this is intended to show our destination, rather than the state of our mind.

I look at my clothes. Having had no time to change I am still wearing the clothes that I walked the dog in this morning and ED is wearing uniform. All the years I have HOPED to be upgraded for free and have dressed smartly at airports, and then the one day that I DO travel business I am dressed as dog walker. No problem. Everyone will know that I am cool and nonchalant person who travels regularly in business class with very glam and soon to be famous in Spain Daughter. No need to dress up.

Get to the security queue. I think of going up to the security guards and pointing out that we ARE tavelling business class, and do we have to wait in the queue? I then look at others in the queue, and realise that considering the number of suits in sight that such a comment is not a good idea.

Never mind we think. We can at least have a drink in the business lounge, before boarding.

4.15 We finally get through security. By the time we have worked out which way it is to the gate we hear a call. "Would all passengers travelling on the IB3177 to Madrid, please make their way to gate 4 now. This is your final call."

Adrenalin kicked in and I realised that the boys in Chariots of Fire had nothing on me. 44 year old woman and ED were NOT going to miss plane and international fame opportunity to Madrid.

No time for business lounge. Will have to wait another 44 years for that clearly.

Get to gate.

"Oh slow down, Don´t worry. You´ve got bags of time" says guard. "They always make those announcements. It´s really annoying."

4.35. On plane. It´s just the normal seats says ED, with a spare seat in between. Slight disappointment. Menu in front of us seems to have prices attached. Do you think we have to pay for food I say? Try to send text to hubby. Am told off by stewardess. Whoops!

AND THEN we take off!!!!

As the trolley comes round ED, who is sitting on the aisle seat listens out for transactions in front. Ascertains that it is after all free. Phew. Quite a relief, as have come out of the house with less than five pounds (no pound sign on this keyboard, of course) and have no way of getting euros, as didn´t have time to stop at bank in airport.

The menu arrives. We try very hard to look nonchalant, like the others on the plane, who are clearly seasoned business travellers. But it is no good. We are obviously amateurs at this game. Complete novices and so easily exicitable.

Anyway. We are now here.

They have just stuffed some euros into my hand for the "per diems". Haven´t got a clue what they are supposed to include, and no-one speaks very good English. Hope that it isn´t to pay for food in hotel. Assume not, as wouldn´t cover cost............. We´´ll see!

Meanwhile ED is having costume fitting and a meeting with the voice coach (It´s being fimed in English, and then dubbed, so they have to get the lip synching right), and they are talking about a two year exclusivity contract for "Orange" in Spain. They let me have a computer, as I am really a bit of a spare part. Perhaps they sensed that I looked like a blogging type, and thought that I could use up some time.

Our world has gone mad in Madrid! Will keep you posted.


Nicole said...

Very exciting- beginning to see that having many children may be good for blog as crazy things are bound to happen! I think there is something amazingly fun about lastminute holidays- just dropping down somewhere and having to just wander around and find some fun. Hope you both have a fab time!

ChrisB said...

I keep trying to get an upgrade when I fly but never had any luck ( far too scruffy I expect). With a 2 yr contract you will soon get used it flying to and fro Spain. Have fun.

Sally Lomax said...

Hi Nicole!

Having five children is certainly crazy at times, but this is one of the craziest times ever!!

Back home now. Exhausted but happy!!