The going was good for our journey in
a horse box to Manchester airport. The hurdles appeared
on arrival at check in desk 10 where the 32kg rule caught
us out. One box passed the test but two caused a steward's
enquiry weighing in at 4kg over. One hour, two Singapore
airline chilled meal boxes and a roll of packing tape later
we were finally checked in, but our three large boxes still
needed to negotiate security checks. Too big for X-ray machines
they needed to be individually swabbed. Then three loaders
were summoned from the airport underworld to take the boxes
to baggage land for onward transit, hopefully to be reunited
with us at Invercargill. We waved goodbye, crossed our fingers
and went for a coffee.
Three bike boxes ready for the
loaders to do their trolley dash
The boxes reappeared unexpectedly
at Christchurch airport, where no-one knew quite what to
do with them. We spotted them lurking abandoned on a lonely
trolley on the runway. The trolley was collected several
times, taken to a plane and then returned to its original
spot. Apparently too big to fit in the cargo hold of the
plane to Invercargill. As our connecting flight took off,
Matthew pointed out the boxes still on the runway beneath
us. We wondered if we would ever see them again.
Abandoned at Christchurch Airport?
A call came from the airport
three hours after we were settled into our Invercargill
homestay with Russell and Marion Miller. Our hosts chased
the airline mercilessly to deliver our precious cargo which
eventually followed us down on a later flight. "We'd
deliver it to you but we don't have a vehicle big enough"
said the apologetic Head of Baggage, "You'll have to
collect ." Nothing was too much trouble for Russell
who borrowed a trailer and took us back to the airport for
an emotional reunion. "You know mate, you were real
lucky" said the loader as he opened the giant freight
doors, "We got these in the hold with just an inch
Casually strapped on with
bungees the bikes were trailered to their final destination
to await unpacking and assembly ready for the real journey
to begin. They spent a happy evening basking in the late
spring sunshine on the balcony while we were finally able
to rest easily and prepare for the chaos of reassembly.
Reunited after all these miles...