On Our Journey To The House & The Hill
1. If you choose to take a resin energy pyramid as a gift for your friends, note that it contains copper coils, iron filings, as well as myriad crystals. This will show up in the baggage scanner.
2. When asked to explain an energy pyramids purpose to an aeroplane scanner man, make your explanation brief and matter-of-fact. Remember – the more normal you believe your “item” to be, the more likely that normality is transmitted. (Thankfully we did not need to test this on the small clear bag of herbs that my travelling companion had recently purchased from a Chinese Herbalist. This could have been difficult.)
3. Should you wrap the pyramid in a very strange smelling piece of silver tissue from the local stationer (Bob – we need to have words about your silver tissue wrapping paper. It smells like old fruit), the likelihood is that it won’t have stopped smelling by the time it is opened in customs.
4. When one baggage handler (reassured about energy pyramid) walks off smelling his fingers (and getting his co-worker to smell his fingers too), chances are you know that the smelly fruit/old vomit fragrance was real and not just in your head.
5. On arrival in France, once you have the keys to your hire car, remember to call your French contact and check you are in the right airport. If not you will be asking various people directions to a very small place that is 100 km away.
6. Safely in the drivers seat of hire car, you have to press the hire car clutch in order to start the ignition (otherwise you sit there like an idiot turning the key on and off whilst every other person in the airport heads off to their various destinations). This is considered to be a child safety measure.
7. Once you have worked out how to start your hire car, make sure you know how to put it into reverse. Otherwise you will find yourself in a small corner of a rental car car-park, unable to move forward, sideways or back. This can give one a sense of playing Mario Cart but in real life and this time you aren’t Yoshi and your hire car person will be looking at you and shaking their head.
8. After ignition and reverse have been conquered, drive slowly into various areas of rental car-park. It doesn’t matter if you are trying to find your way out as this exercise gives you a chance to test your driving abilities before hitting the highway.
9. If you find a pot-holed track that appears to be leading onto Industrial Estate (rest assured, this is the way) pull over and set up our Sat Nav. At this point, if a car pulls up and offers to guide you – take up the offer! Life is all about risks and if helpful French driver ends up being psychopath set on leading you to haunted chateau somewhere, you will realise and be safe in your hire car, meaning that if all goes wrong, you can
stall drive away at break neck speeds. On the other hand, he might lead you to Limoux.
9. Just re-lax. Apart from occasional battering of left hand against car door in attempt to find gear stick that is not there, continental driving is a breeze; a simple matter of focusing on the comedy of the moment and not the juggernaut on your left and the steel barrier and mountain gorge on your right.