My recent trip to Paris with the Canvas Bloggers brought back memories of my last trip to France three years ago, particularly as we passed through passport control before boarding the ferry.
You see last time I went to France I nearly didn’t get beyond this point, but then why would you if you were suspected of human trafficking?
To explain I need to go back a few hours. Sonny was just a baby, none of us were particularly well slept, the taxi had arrived late and by the time we’d reached the airport we already had a long list of things we’d forgotten to pack.
Even in ideal circumstances Janet isn’t the greatest of flyers, so with our combined stress levels such that they would need the Richter scale to be measured we approached passport control.
Now a wise man would keep the conversation to a minimum and concentrate on getting to the plane.
Only a fool would see this as an opportunity to make an ill-judged and inappropriate joke.
Oh to be a wise man.
I can’t even remember what I said. I do however remember Janet bursting into tears in that ‘explosion of uncontrollable wailing’ kind of way.
A Customs officer took her to one side and offered her a glass of water. That would help I thought, providing she could take a breath between the panic attack and sobbing to drink it. She couldn’t. Nor could she get any words out.
What she could do was angrily point at me, a man who by this point was struggling to carry a baby, all our luggage and a pushchair. A man understandably sweating a little. A man who looked more than a wee bit guilty. A man apparently taking a non-English speaking Chinese lady out of the country against her will. And her newborn child!
Now if I’d known my ‘guilty of making an ill-judged joke’ face was the same as my ‘guilty of human trafficking’ face I probably wouldn’t have made it.
If I’d known how close to tears Janet was and how difficult she found it to speak once she started crying I’d definitely not have made it.
And if I’d known how funny she’d find the whole incident afterwards and how she could forever threaten to pull a “Manchester Airport” on me I’d have booked to go to bloody Skegness!