We had both settled into our seats on the train on the way to the airport when I asked TPR what he had done with the suitcase. Although we’d both remembered our rucksacks as hand luggage, he’d forgotten to pick up the larger bag from the hotel reception. It appeared that the best course of action would be for him to go back and retrieve our bag. I would continue to the airport on my own. There was a still chance that we’d both make it to the flight in time.
I transferred from the train to a coach for the last leg of the journey. As we headed north across Shetland towards the airport I pointed out of the window at the mountain peaks. I boasted to the other passengers of how TPR and I had tackled them by tandem on our last visit. I also attempted a conversation with the coach driver. I had spotted the pile of brand new children’s toys on a spare seat and asked who they were for. He growled back at me not to touch them. They were part of a collection for Rachel, a child who had recently died. I was desperate to ask what use new toys were to a dead child, but kept my mouth shut. It was clear that the driver did not want to speak to me.
In an effort to make the journey more interesting, however, a little later the driver announced that he was taking a diversion through a theme park. He then terrified us all by driving into the path of a set of dodgem cars that came careering down the hillside. We were given a few minutes in a souvenir shop afterwards to recover from the near-death experience.
When we finally returned to the coach for last few miles of the journey I checked my watch. It was 13:00. Our flight was at 13:15 and there was no hope of my making it to the gate in time. I should have gone back to the hotel to fetch the suitcase with TPR. This course of action may also have risked missing the flight, but at least I’d still have the company of my husband – a much more attractive option than serving a sentence as passenger of Shetland’s craziest coach driver.