“So, can we just laugh and point at you now?”
I’ve learned a number of things over these past few days, including the fact that Phil is not always the most tactful of people. He speaks his mind. A bit like me. Which is why I didn’t mind too much when he came out with this quote.
After all, I was the one who’d just left his backpack on the airport bus. Complete with his tickets, passport, iPad and house keys.
With the countdown on to check in, I made some hurried enquiries. First, the Arriva bus desk, where there was a very nice man who promised to call control – who would in turn call all of the drivers on the X2 bus route. They found nothing.
I also wrestled with the possibility that I’d somehow simultaneously picked up and dropped said backpack when moving my heavier case off the bus by the departures entrance. But I hadn’t.
For the first time in my life, I prayed that the airport police would have found my bag and be surrounding it, threatening to explode it as a suspicious package. But they hadn’t.
So, with no way of boarding the plane – or indeed gaining entry back into the UK, I bode farewell to the crew and headed to the police station. The officer behind the desk was more than helpful, and went about filing a report which said my bag had been both “lost” and “stolen”, which was technically true. One by one, his colleagues came in for their tea break, filling the small office with loud conversation – probably centred on the idiot standing in front of them.
From there is was a trip by expensive taxi to the British High Commission, which by good fortune was just around the bay in Gzira where we’d been staying. Predictably, the building was just by the Yacht Club and the Royal Polo Club – in avast, modernist building shared by several European countries. I felt rather special – and rather British – as I took the glass lift to the top floor to explain my woes.
The middle aged lady was very lovely, but the exact stereotype of how you’d expect a member of Her Majesty’s Consular Staff to behave.
“You lost all of your documents? Oh, how TERRIBLE. That really is horrific. Now, fill out this form why I disappear for fifteen minutes for no apparent reason.”
En route to the Consulate I’d expected Chesterfield sofas, warm tea and chandeliers. Instead I got an interview room which made me feel like the criminal. 45 painful minutes later – and 120 Euro lighter, I emerged with several receipts and instructions to return later for my Emergency Passport.
I then checked into the hotel connected to our apartments. The receptionist was a bit surprised to see me. Then the messy business of trying to lock or locate the stolen iPad and arranging for someone to unlock my apartment doors back home. Of course I keep spare keys. In my bedroom drawer.
Still, things ould have been a lot worse. One thing I’d not packed was my wallet, meaning an extra day in Malta and more time to relax.
You can all laugh and point now.