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  • Philip Bryer

On a Carousel...

Updated: Apr 13, 2020

...or perhaps not.

Whenever we’re at the airport baggage carousel Mrs B says, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”

And I say, “You always have a bad feeling whenever we’re waiting for the bags and it never comes to anything”.

At the baggage carousel recently after a long flight, and Mrs B says, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this…,” and her bag appears and I haul it off, narrowly avoiding a legal suit for visiting sudden cruel and unusual punishment on the bloke who’s waiting quite innocently for his loosely taped-up cardboard box.

“Look,” I say, “bags are still coming off and there are plenty of people still here.”

“Perhaps they’ve lost their bags too,” Sandra replies. “I can never understand why two bags which are checked in together don’t appear together at the other end,” she adds.

“Me neither. Maybe they’re like the sock that goes missing in the wash.”

We wait. We have a few more inconsequential conversations until I can no longer say:

  1. Bags are still coming off.

  2. People are still here.


  1. They aren’t anymore.

  2. They aren’t anymore.

As we are pointed in the direction of Baggage Services, we remind ourselves that my 25 kg suitcase contains all of our toiletries, Mrs Bryer’s entire Clinique range of ladies make-up jollop* – the replacement value of which would match the annual income of a middling professional footballer – Xmas presents for our hosts, and, let’s not forget, all of my clothes for three weeks, including some, if I may say so, pretty fancy-pants footwear.

“Got yer baggage receipt?” asks the friendly Aussie bag-assist man with the beard.

“Ah, you mean the thing they give you at check-in that gets stuffed into a bag, or a pocket and instantly forgotten, or is left in the bar or on the ‘plane? That one?”

“Well, if you can’t find it, I can’t find your bag.”

I found it.

“Back in a few minutes,” he said, as he disappeared out the back.

“What are we going to do?” asks Mrs B, as she proceeded to list the entire contents of my bag, giving particular prominence to the Xmas gifts and the trove of Clinique - the global share price of cosmetics wobbled.

“Listen,” I reassure her, “all of the bags are tagged with barcodes now. They’re scanned all the way through. He’ll just tap in the details from the receipt and in an instant he’ll know exactly where my bag is. And your make-up.”

“Really,” she replies, looking up at me with puppy-dog eyes.

“Really. I promise,” I say, with a gravitas and firmness of purpose which would have served me well in my alleged career if only I could have located them a bit more often.

Sandra nodded. Reassured.

The man with the beard reappears.

“Where’s my bag then?” I ask.

“I dunno.”

Baggage carousel

* Jollop - a slang word applied to any sort of lotion, potion, or liquid.

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