John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Sunday 24 June 2012

[Saturday 23 June 2012]
We had a wake-up call booked for 5.00am. Janet had done the bulk of the packing yesterday evening, so there wasn’t much for her to do. (I only had my hand-luggage to think of.) Because transport to Verona for those flying to Humberside was arranged for 7.30am the hotel had made breakfast available earlier than normal, so we went down at 6.30am. They lied! — because there was someone on Reception: the same young woman as yesterday evening, if I’m not mistaken.
 The coach for Verona-Villafranca Airport was on time, had one stop to pick up others (and not round the other side of Lake Garda, as when we came, either!), and deposited us at the airport perhaps towards 8.30am. This was before the baggage check-in was open for our flight, so there was initially half-an-hour or so to wait for the blank in that field on the “Humberside” line on the “departures” monitor to become a digit. And it was initially confusing, for the check-in point number, when it appeared, was shown as “0”, which didn’t exist: there were check-in points 1 to 15 or 16, but no “0”. Anyway, there eventually appeared the “Small Planet” flight to “Humberside” on the screen above the penultimate check-in point on the right, and two lines of people formed. We were well back in the queue by the time we realised where it was, but that didn’t matter much. “Connie” and co. were near us, and bespectacled daughter of “Connie” spoke a few words to us.
 With the bags off our hands we looked for “departures”, which were at the opposite end of the terminal. I had a hot, herb-seasoned ham, cheese and tomato sandwich from a food-and-drink counter part-way along to it. (Actually, Janet went to the counter while I looked after the hand luggage and saved her a seat, so it was she who had to ascertain the procedure: take a ticket, etc.) It was unclear just when one should go through hand-luggage checking and passport control to the departure lounge, so we did that when I’d finished the sandwich — all quite straightforward: even the little tripod that had caused consternation on the way out passed through unremarked.
 The departure lounge was quite full, so seats were hard to find. Eventually, the gate for our flight was opened, and we boarded one of two buses and seemed to stand around for a long time before it took us to the plane. It was another hot day, too. It wasn’t clear whether we should climb the steps at the front or at the middle of the plane — there was no one there to tell us, as there had been on the outward flight — we chose the front, but the seats in fact were nearer the middle. I had the window seat this time, and Janet the middle seat. A woman was already in the aisle seat and stood to let us pass.
 We were seated a little way behind the left wing, so I could see the flaps extend when they were being tested, and when the plane landed. (One didn’t seem to work properly when we were coming in to land!) We took off a little late and landed a little early. We were the last through passport control. Why there were two police officers standing there, male and female, I don’t know. Since they hadn’t stopped or arrested any of the other 140-odd passengers, the thought crossed my mind that they might be waiting for us! The luggage carousel proved to be the leveller, for we were by no means last to pluck our bags off and wheel them out of the building into the cold and wet and wind. We walked to where Gaz had dropped us off a week ago, but didn’t see him. Then we heard a voice call from the car park; he’d recognised us by the orange belts round the bags. And so he piled the bags and we piled ourselves into the vehicle and were whisked quickly home by ca.1pm.…

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