This is a snapshot of Phoebe and Dominic, my kids, on Skype talking to me this morning. Dom was in Sydney staying with Phoebe and Dylan. Last night his band played in Sydney and tonight they are playing in Newcastle as I write. The band is Rocketsmiths and you can see their videos and hear their songs on You-tube. Just search their name - Rocketsmiths.
Well, what a joy to be able to talk in real time and see your children and friends and family as we have done this week. And if you are both on Skype it costs nothing. Quite amazing. I remember Dick Tracey in the old comic srips had a wristwatch that he could see people on while talking to them. Life imitates art. We never thought this sort of thing would actually happen.
But Phoebe and Dom reminded me that I forgot to tell everyone the story of coming through security leaving Heathrow. Mainly because I had told Dom but forgot to relate it to Phoebe (not my usual style with the kids), so maybe you will enjoy it too.
First of all at Heathrow it is the full-on exercise of everything including "belts and every fourth person's pair of shoes must go through the x-ray". Not happy, Jan, already as I hate taking my shoes off. Then I go through and I hear a tiny beep. Shit, what is it. I must have some coins in my pocket I said. Felt my pockets. No coins. Too late - have to have the full body search. Not pleasant having a stranger feel you all over. (NO rude comments from Tony and David please). Of course I still had my kneeguard on from walking around London. "What's this then?"
"It's just my kneeguard. I have a crook knee."
"I'm afraid we will have to do a strip search."
"Well, why don't I just drop my jeans here for you. "
"There are women and children."
"Really, I am wearing boxer shorts underneath. Nothing will show I can assure you" couldn't help the smirk)
"There are women and children" he repeats.
Enter officious young Pommy woman who starts to order me around at which stage the Professor (Craig) has entered the fray and for some strange reason known only to him, proceeded to ask what about my shoes and then threw them at the male secuirty guard who was giving me the feel all over.
Officious female shouts at him to desist and screams that wasn't very nice. Male security man trying to put a lid on things. Craig spluttering.
So, off they march me, he and she, to a room down the hall. At this stage I am remembering all those terrible documentaries where people are held for hours in British airports. I am expecting the camera crew to arrive any moment. (At this stage in the telling, Dom does British accent voiceover: "What Does Noel have hidden in his kneeguard) Meanhwile officious female is carrying on and on as only she could about how rude Craig was.
Don't ask me why this next bit happened either. I said to her: "Oh for Christ's sake will you shut up."
"I don't have to take that sort of behaviour." She retorts
I replied "No, you have it wrong there. I have a right not to listen to you whingeing. So, please shut up."
Security man shot her a look and she did shut up. I must have been right ......... or lucky ......... or else I am a marked man every time I go through Heathrow for the rest of my life. Not only did she shut up. She left, thank God and a much more personable bloke joined us for the strip search. He had the gift of breaking the stalemate and the search was fine and I was back with the Professor, who was still waving my shoes menacingly at anyone he could try to intimidate.
Those of you who know Craig will be amazed at this story. He is usually the epitome of calmness. But as I always say to Phoebe and Dom. It's all tribal. He was only protecting his turf ........ me. Maybe it is Craig who will be a marked man.
So that is the Heathrow story. I know I will dine out on that one for years to come. Much better than the time I grabbed an errant Japanese tourist by the coat collar and lifted her off the ground just before she walked over a penguin nest. Read on for more adventures of the Professor and the artist.