You Know On Those Airport Programmes When People Turn Up Too Late ???

So the four idiots spent a night walking the streets of Barcelona and then managed around four hours sleep before arising and driving off up the motorway to France…

…oh yes, we damaged the hire car on the way out of Barcelona too, managed to clip another car’s wing mirror with our wing mirror, cracking the housing and causing the glass to have to be stuck back in with chewing gum, looked ok, if you didn’t look at it.

Spent the next two days in France and then drove back down into Spain to spend a night in a hotel in Girona, awoke on the Monday morning with a flight back home to catch from Barcelona at 4pm and all day to kill.

We didn’t have a road map but it was just one stretch of motorway back to the airport, in fact I still haven’t worked out how we managed to navigate anywhere that long weekend as not only didn’t we have a map of any description but we hadn’t even looked at a map before we got there, it was a sort of sixth sense that led us to believe that France was North of Spain, and we were right, it is, and still is I believe.

So what to do all day, well, looking at a postcard in the hotel reception it appeared that two holiday resorts lay to the east of Girona, Lloret-del-Mar and Tossa-del-Mar, we opted to go to the latter if only for the reason that we all wanted to buy a baseball cap with the word “Tossa” on the front, and women wonder why men are so simple in their wants and needs.

Sitting on the beach, warm sun on our faces, beach bar within three paces, just before I fell asleep I asked the others what time we should set off back to Barcelona, someone suggested that it was only an hours drive, seemed reasonable, flight at four, we can set off at two then…snore.

I awoke much later, burned red as a beetroot, alone, turned to my left and there were the three of them being propped up by the beach bar surrounded by empty bottles of beer, I guess I’m driving the hire car back to the airport then.

It was only when we’d got back to the motorway that we noticed the time, Jesus Christ this was cutting it a bit fine and despite my best efforts the Vauxhall Zafira  wouldn’t go much faster than 100mph, we hit the Barcelona ring road by 3pm and thats when the sign for the airport disappeared and lots of multiple choice, multiple lane, multiple exit junctions started to appear, along with lots of other traffic who all seemed to know exactly where they were going.

By some miracle we made the correct choice at every junction we came to, even at the junction where we had to take a right fork and there was no sign for the airport, fortunately you can see the aircraft landing and taking off from several miles away, so we assumed that must be an airport, it was a fair guess.

It was 3.30pm when we hit the access road at the airport, 3.31pm when we saw the entrance to the Hertz car lot, 3.31.30secs when we missed the entrance to the Hertz car lot and had to drive all the way around the one way system to get back to it again, 3.36pm when we abandoned the car outside the Hertz portacabin office and we still had to explain about the damaged wing mirror, Rob went into the office, there was a queue of people waiting to be served, we were going to miss our flight.

He came back out within seconds, “Run” is all he said, so we did, half a mile to the Departure building, “What did you say to the car hire bloke” we gasped on the way there, “Nothing” explained Rob, “I just threw the keys on his desk”.

You know all of those airport documentary programmes on TV where some idiot arrives 30 seconds too late at the check-in desk and then starts to rant and rave and deny that they were late at all and you sit there thinking “Bloody idiot, should get up earlier next time”, well when we arrived at the Jet2 check-in desk they were just taking down the “Leeds” sign and were packing all of their little boarding cards away muttering  “Four no shows, oh hang on…”

They didn’t get an option to say “You’re too late”, Gareth is a solicitor you see, he threw his bag on the scales and shouted in a very domineering voice, “Come on hurry up. we’re late you know”, and it worked, they dithered a little then got their little boarding cards out again and checked us in, only adding, “Hurry up lads or you’ll miss it” right at the end.

Ten minutes later we were in the air, now thats what I call cutting it fine.

And yes, Hertz noticed the wing mirror, and yes, the bastards had a credit card to surcharge, and yes, it was my credit card that they surcharged.


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