As you know, I’m big on building memories. My motto for this year (my hashtag, even – how New Media of me) is #snapshotsnotstuff (unfortunate, as it has the word ‘snot’ in the middle). As part of this, I want the boys to grab every opportunity, get out there and see the world, have wonderful new experiences and do new things. All this came very much into play recently when Sam and his study partner were planning their big A level Media project. For this, they basically have to produce a documentary. When throwing around ideas, one of them that kept recurring was a documentary about North Sea helicopter pilots (the job Mr English does). My reaction was why not? If we could get the company’s permission, persuade the school, sort out the insurance, etc, etc… At first, it seemed like it was never going to happen, but Mr English was brilliant, sorting things at his end, and the school were very supportive (imagine giving your very expensive camera to an 18 year old to take on a flight to Aberdeen) and very soon, the filming weekend was upon us.
A bit part of planning any trip, of course, is getting to the airport on time. Once we’d booked the flights, I sat down (a little smugly, thinking of myself as a somewhat seasoned traveller) with Sam and explained that you needed to allow a certain amount of time before the flight, add on a bit extra in case of traffic, etc… we worked backwards from his flight time and agreed a time to set off on Friday – 6pm gave us loads of time. Olly appeared, and off we went to Luton Airport, with Mr English primed to pick them up at Aberdeen for a weekend of filming.
Everything went smoothly. We arrived at our planned time and I waved them off, warning them to keep an eye on the boards and leave plenty of time to get to their gate. Half way home, I pulled over to text Mr English their arrival time, checking with the flight times I’d got in my confirmation email. ‘They should be there at 7.12′.
7.12? I looked at the clock in my car: 6.47 pm. Something had gone HORRIBLY wrong. I checked the email again. Departure time was 5.45. What on earth had we done? They’d completely missed the flight.
I frantically rang Sam. No answer. Rang Mr English. Of course he knew straight away, we’d messed up horribly. No idea how it had happened but by the time we’d left the house, their flight had already left.
Looking at the flight times, it started to dawn on me. Their return flight from Aberdeen was 8.05 pm on the Sunday. We’d worked back the times, but done it from the wrong flight. My heart sank. I drove back to the airport and found them sitting, dejected on the floor by the Easyjet desk. They’d talked to the ladies there, but there were no more flights to Aberdeen. The only thing we could do was abandon the whole weekend. The project, after all their hard work and planning, was ruined. And it was my fault.
I went to the Easyjet desk to talk to them – the staff there were incredibly nice and it turned out that there might be a ray of hope to save the weekend of filming: a 6am flight from London Gatwick tomorrow morning. We’d have to leave the house at 2am, but we could do it. We drove home and finally managed to laugh about it. I dread to think what Olly’s parents were thinking when they got the phone call. Months of planning and I manage to get them to the airport after their flight had left on this most crucial of weekends.
Ah well. After a consoling pizza and a very early night, we managed the 2am start and they got to Aberdeen on the Saturday morning to start their planned filming. All was not lost after all. Here they are in the back of one of the GIANT helicopters. The filming went well and the finished production looks set to be amazing.
Build your memories, people. When spending your money, choose snapshots in time over buying more stuff every time.
But for goodness’ sake check your flight times first.