Flying was hard enough even before lockdown.  The queues, the delays, the waiting, the crowds and that was just getting into the airport!

Airports are quieter, less busy places now. But would you want to fly?

Members of my writers’ group (*Watford Writers) were asked to write some flash fiction (a very short story) based on one of the paintings in our local museum.  I chose this painting by the late Francis Gower, an artist who lived in Bushey. I based my story on a real experience OH (other half) and I had about a year ago.  


I had been so looking forward to this holiday.

We were at Luton Airport in really good time. We passed through security quickly and then went to have a coffee. It was only when our flight was called that Derek started going frantic. He couldn’t find my passport! We looked all around but it was nowhere to be seen.

He rushed back to security but it wasn’t there. What were we to do?  They said we wouldn’t be allowed on the flight. Think we had realised that!  We then had to leave Departures. Not by the way we had come in but as if we had just come off a flight. A security guy led us through the crowds and back along the route which takes you to passport control when you first land.

We were taken to the head of the queue so at least we didn’t have to stand in line. And then what did they say?

“We need to see your passport!”

“We don’t have it!” I howled with frustration. “That’s why we’re here!”

I was almost crying at this point. Crying with exasperation and with anger at Derek for doing something so stupid.

Derek then had a Eureka moment. He remembered he’d left my passport in his coat pocket – but the coat was back home in our hall cupboard! We phoned our neighbour who has a spare key and she had a look for us. It was such a relief when she said it was there.  She’s kindly arranged for someone to bring it.  And we’ve managed to book for another flight which leaves in six hours’ time. So all we can do now is wait.

We’ve been sitting here for a few hours now. Derek and I are barely talking and I’ve been trying to sleep. I’ve put my cardigan over my head to keep out the light and the noise. But if I had a pillow I would put it over Derek’s head instead.

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

The painting featured is Private Worlds by Francis Gower (1905-1995) from The Bushey Museum Art Gallery



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