Hand luggage and Teflon

It takes up a disproportionate amount of time in my working memory:- how to minimize luggage but maximize options?

It's quite selfish really.

I have three sets of clothes that I wear all the time, the on, the off and the in the wash. It's perfect. It's perfect until we set off for our annual holiday to England.

Wear one and pack the other two in a suitcase?


Wear one and pack the other two in the hand luggage. My suitcase in the hold will be full of other essential items, none of which will be clothes, least of all my own clothes.

This is o.k. because I will need all three sets of clothes for the journey. I shall be up and dressed in set number one at about 5 in the morning. I shall then remain immaculate throughout the day until we fly at 7 in the evening. It is essential that I remain in set number one come what may. During the first hour of the flight, my eldest son will have a technicolour accident, a combination of fear of flying and air sickness. At this point, I shall abandon set number one, wrap them in several bags and shove them at the bottom of the backpack.

Once I have donned set two, I shall remain inviolate during the remaining 9 hours of the flight, apart from other little accidents. Those lap tray tables are so tricky to manage. During the 9 hours I shall be speckled with three meals from several people, and possibly my own. I shall be sprinkled, doused and drenched in every available beverage. I shall reluctantly shun the offer of a free glass of wine. Befuddlement in confined spaces is a mistake.

As we move forwards through the night, we shall arrive yesterday. As we hit the ground in England, de-plane, charm customs, salute passport checkers, locate buses, hire a car and pile ourselves into it, I shall then have been in set number two for 12 hours, together with enough foodstuffs to make a severe dent in the world food shortage.

I shall resist the urge to change into set number three.

We will drive to our rental, de-car, relocate ourselves and our baggage into the flat. I shall make up four beds in the hope that someone will sleep sometime soon. Only when sleep is imminent shall I remove set two, leaving set three available, ready for the next shift, although not necessarily the next day. Otherwise, waking time will arrive and I shall be threadbare and threadless.

This annual problem weighs heavily upon my mind.

Whilst the English are more open to nud.ity, the weather tends to be inclement.

I need an alternative solution.

And here it is.

There again, I may just have to grit my teeth and go shopping for an entirely new outfit altogether.

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The Wedding

I peer at the computer screen and the announcement of my brother's wedding to JP. It will be a duplicate of their Chinese wedding which took place, funnily enough, in China. This time it will be in England. Friday 29the December. Autumn and Winter are busy months in this American household. The children zip back to school just in time for us to bump into Halloween, trip over Thanksgiving, plummet into two December birthdays, tumble into Christmas and hop over New Year. It's carousel time. We plan to insert another horse.

“So this is the itinerary as I see it,” he announces, as my mind is busy with other things. Perhaps if I buy two suits for them, one size too large, right now and then beat the fabric with rocks, I might just be able to make them soft enough for them to wear in……….two months time?
“Christmas Day is on a Tuesday this year, so we'll fly on the Wednesday, Boxing Day and land on Thursday.” I wonder if they'll want her to be a bridesmaid or a flower girl? It's a civil ceremony so at least we won't have to be silent and immobile in a church.

“We'll drive down all day on Thursday from Heathrow. With a bit of luck we'll arrive at the hotel late Thursday night.”
I should probably get her a new outfit anyway. Where will I find something woolly and warm enough, in California? I may have to buy something myself! Ooo how I hate shopping.
“Then if we can drag them all out of bed the next day, on Friday, just in time, the Wedding is at 1 p.m.”
I should probably start prepping them for the agony of air flight again as soon as possible. Tomorrow would be a good time to start.
“Then they'll leave on their honeymoon, in the wee small hours, I expect.”
At least we'll probably get away with only one suitcase, or maybe two if we take our own bedding. I'll have to find or buy some ordinary warm clothes. England in December can be wicked.
“On Saturday we can drive back and stop off at my parents in Poole and stay the night. Probably only a five hour trip but it will be the New Year weekend, so traffic might be busy.”
I must remember that if I'm wearing woolly tights, I won't have any shoes that fit. Perhaps I should wear boots, or galoshes hidden under a long skirt?
“Then we'll drive to the airport the next day. Have to be up early though because of 3 hour check in.”
Should I just pack the present and wrap it on arrival? Otherwise all the paper will be scrunched. Can we stop off somewhere to buy paper? Should I pack the paper here?
“That means that we should be back in SF on Sunday and home later in the afternoon. Almost one complete day devoted to the wedding and all the other days traveling.”
I wonder if we'll have time to visit some other chums, en route?
“All done and dusted in 5 days!”
“Well……with that many transitions…..it's probably best to just let all the meltdowns flow back to back, with no wriggle room. A huge 5 day melta-marathon.” I feel slightly nauseous and I'm still on terra firma. I'd better buy an extra large catering carton of ear plugs…..and Goldfish.

Perhaps I should just shove the Goldfish in my ears and have done with it?

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