So, Heathrow Terminal Five, 9.15am, early enough for all sorts of little jobs before we fly to Uganda at 12.30.
These included buying a new bag to replace the one that split asunder in two places, under the strain of holding 7 bows and quivers of arrows (don’t ask), a quantity of cosmetic and domestic necessities, shampoos, mosquito deterrent, flea spray, books, files, copious clothes,’ just in case’……..
The bag was no problem, we wanted one, they had one, job done.
Next we needed to post some letters and documents using the post box that stands proudly outside WHSmith. Easy.
The slot in the post box was far too small to take the fairly bulky, but not abnormally so, A4 documents. (it’s a security precaution, we were told)
‘Never mind, Look! WHSmith is right here. Let’s buy more A4 envelopes and divide the bulky packet into 2 slimmer packets’. Sound thinking.
‘Sorry, we only have Jiffybag A4 envelopes. 1.99p each. How many would you like?’
‘Will they fit in the post box?’
They had stamps though, something of a breakthrough for the UK’s national stationer.
Having created 2 slightly trimmer packages, what followed was like reversed twins childbirth on a public thoroughfare. ‘Push! Again, push!’
‘I AM pushing! Waddyathinkamdoing? It’s not easy getting a big thing through such a tight gap!’
‘Maybe you need forceps..?’ (not a very wise contribution, on reflection)
‘It won’t move! It’s stuck……(push, twist, grunt, grit teeth, glare) aaaah! It’s moving! Yes, yes, YEEEESSS!’
Safely delivered into the post box. Punch the air.
Anyway, we needed to call the recipient to say that the expected document would be arriving in instalments and hopefully all will be well.
After finally checking in, both of us were then singled out for special attention by the security, with ourselves searched and all our hand luggage dismantled and scrutinised minutely. We were innocent.
So, one and a half hours of toil and stationery-related stress later, after arriving at the airport at 9.15, we joined our 2 new volunteers, Jo and Jenny, who had been waiting and probably wondering in Pret a Manger.
Written by Redearth Education co-founder, Ronnie Katzler