Remind me to avoid Geneva airport in the future. Coming back from a meeting about an exciting new book deal in London (which I will tell you all about once it is signed) I flew into the scene of my handbag abduction episode. When I parked that morning (at 6am so I was a little bleary-eyed) I opted for the unlimited car park. I carefully wrote down Red 17 so that I would be able to find my car again.
I trudge towards the car park in my pink heels which after a day in London are hurting like hell. It is odd, I think to myself, that when I arrived the car park seemed so close, and now it seems so far away. I finally get there, heave a hugh sigh of relief and put the ticket in the machine. “Your ticket is not valid in this car park” it tells me. I look at my ticket. Unlimited Car Park number 1 it says. I am in unlimited car park number 51. This could explain it.
So I trudge back, swearing at my own idiocy, unaware that this episode is totally minor compared with the self-inflicted suffering I am about to come up with.
It is now ten to nine. I landed at 8.20 pm. I have an hour and a half drive ahead of me. The children are waiting up to say goodnight. I am about to throw my shoes away they hurt so much. To say I am keen to get home is an understatement.
I finally get back to the right car park and put my ticket in. It won’t let me pay with a card and I root around my newly-found handbag for any Swiss francs in a total blind panic before I realise the machine takes euros. Phew. I find Red 17 without any further mishaps and sink thankfully into my car. I set Titty (the GPS navigator) to my beloved Blanchiniere and plug in my phone. Ready to go!
Now all I need is the car parking ticket. It has vanished. Much like my handbag days before, it has been abducted. I literally turn everything upside down. I even crawl under the car, cursing and shouting at myself. I am in total disbelief. It HAS to be here. But it’s not. So I look for the office of the car park, there is none. I decide to drive to the exit and explain what has happened.
But when I get there and the man asks me where my ticket is I am just too ashamed to tell the truth, to tell him (even if he is hidden inside a machine) that I have no idea, that somewhere between paying for it and getting to my car I lost it. He’d think I am a fool, which I am, but why should he know that? So I lie. I cross my fingers and tell him the machine ate it. I get very Italian and shout about the machine. And the fact that my handbag was stolen last time I was here, and that I just WANT TO GO HOME. Eventually he releases me. I blow kisses to the invisible man in the machine and head for the motorway.
At home the children are asleep but Rupert is waiting with candles and a glass of red wine. I am so relieved to be there I almost weep. On Wednesday we go back to Geneva Airport to drop Bea off. I think I might stay in the car.
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2008
You could be the lady I get stuck behind every time I leave the long-term car park at Geneva Airport.
But at least you didn’t drive a metre too far at the ticket machine, reverse too far, advance a metre, hunt for ticket in bag, find ticket, drop ticket, can’t exit car because too close to machine, everybody reverse again, find ticket, lose pink Manolo, insert ticket and then realise you haven’t paid.
I’m glad they let you out, it shows we’re not all bad. Please don’t let it put you off visiting us again in GE.
Boy did you have a bad day!
I missed one of your post the Arabia… and it was the most important. Coincidently I am moving this month to Abu Dhabi for at least three years and I feel excited but anxious at the same time…
I got stressed just reading about it. Glad Rupert came through with an appropriate welcome.
What are you going to do there? How exciting, we must meet.
If it’s any consolation at all, I’ve done that exact same thing at LEAST 5 times that I can think of. You’ll probably find it six months from now in some obscure pocket of your purse where you put it to be “safe”. I usually do.
Top job for hubby( I will send e-mail my whereabout)and me I am going to write the ‘third book of the trilogy’ Penelope in Emirates (two in old Albion) … Hope we meet each other, I will be 1st August there, the children start school on 26th August unfortunately …
I will be there on August 8th, so we can meet up for a cooling glass of something non-alcoholic. Maybe they will have the new ski slope in situ by then and we can go skiing!
it sounds surreal to go to the Desert for skiing!!! There you are then, the power of the petrol!!
I send you an e-mail
I read your book, to hell in high heels, and really enjoyed it, I eventually ended up here. I am writing with reference to a previous post about wine and Abu Dhabi. I live in Abu Dhabi and have done for 10 years – and my partner is wine manager for one of the licquor companies here :). We get lots of wine, and some is very delicious – we just dont get the choice you get elsewhere. Life here is great – hopefully you will really enjoy it. It has its challenges but that just makes it more exciting and exotic!!
What a joy to have a husband who works in the wine trade there! I am very happy to hear life there is good, we are very much looking forward to coming out. Hopefully we can meet when we get there? We are still looking for someone to live so if you hear of anyone going back then please let me know.