Cameraman based in Edinburgh, employed by ITN, working for ITV's Good Morning Britain covering stories all over the UK and the world. War Zones, World Cups, Royal Tours and many other less exciting assignments, like interviewing current and ex Prime Ministers have kept me busy over the years working in Breakfast Television since GMTV came on the scene back in '93 and regional TV before that. In 2009 I began to record what it is like to work, the often strange and long hours needed to bring the hard news, human interest and fluffy fun to the UK's TV screens in the morning, mostly broadcasting live.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Time to relax and unwind. Not now though, idiot!

Saturday 12th

I was in a relaxed mood when I got up and started to get my packing done.

Chantal and Greg had already gone, taking flights to other parts of Australia to have holidays now that the work was done.

Nick was doing the same.

Christina was going to stay around the Perth area with a friend for a few days.

Michelle’s husband had flown in to join her. They also had a tour of the vast country planned.

Sarah was going to meet a backpacking pal she had not seen for a few years and visit places they had missed out on.

It was only Kate, Simon and I that were heading back home.

Kate had gone out and done her present shopping for her kids Darcy and Billy.

Simon had packed his kit.

At just before twelve we gathered to say good bye to Kate and Simon who were catching their Qantas flight at around 15:30.

I was wondering what I could do for the rest of the day as my flight was not leaving until after eleven at night. Would I just stroll around Fremantle? Did I need to do any shopping? How about a trip back to Cottesloe and spend a few hours soaking up the sun on the beach? What about having some fun with my new hobby and have a look for some Geocaches?

We were saying our good byes. Simon and Kate’s taxi had arrived.

My iPhone was in my hand. Something prompted me to check my flight time again. I opened up e-mail with the itinerary containing the details of most of my 14 flights and 10 hotels over the month I’d been criss-crossing Australia.

I scrolled down to the last set of three flights. There was the time of departure as I knew it would be, 23:20.

At first I could not quite believe what I was looking at as my eyes fell on the the details a couple of lines below the time. It said departing Singapore.

Flicking my thumb over the screen I revealed another time and another departure. My blood ran cold.

Coincidentally at that moment Simon asked the most innocent of questions, “What time do you fly?”

I looked at him with a face drained of colour and said, “In twenty minutes.”

I had been looking at the wrong flight. It was the leg from Singapore to London that would leave at 23:20. I was due to leave Perth International airport, a forty minute drive away at 12:20. It was now almost dead on midday.

I received the reaction I expected from those in our little group.

Visions of an extra expensive night in Fremantle, an even more expensive flight home and a lot of trying to explain away my stupidity flashed before me.

I composed myself and got on phone to Qantas who for once over the recent days actually answered the phone without me being on hold for literally hours and gave me a bit of good news. There was a flight that I could get which would still get me in to Singapore to be on time to connect with the flight to London.

The only thing was that they could not do anything about getting me booked on the flight because it was a British Airways booking. I would need to contact BA.

All at once I ordered my hire car to be brought round, my eleven bags and boxes to be brought out of the porter’s store and the phone number of BA.

“You’ll be lucky if you can get an answer from them though”, said the Head Concierge as he handed me the number, “they never answer when I call them,” he continued, half laughing.

Ian, Michelle’s husband helped me throw my baggage into the car.

I waved a rushed farewell and drove away setting the sat nav as a was pulling out of the car parking area.

I shoved the hands free kit in my ear and called the BA number. The advice was correct, well partially.

There was a reply, very quickly, by a recorded asian accented voice telling me that the British Airways office was only open from Monday to Friday.

I thought that I might get on better with the UK. So I checked the numbers on the website.

That was no good either because it was getting on for half past four in the morning back home and all the numbers were pretty much nine to five on weekdays. I could not and still can’t quite believe that there is not a twenty four hour help line for twits like me that need to get something sorted out in a time zone other than gmt or bst.

I did have better luck with American Express. A slightly sleepy voice answered their emergency number. He got straight on to the case and had my booking up on his screen instantly.

There was, as the Qantas guy had said availability on the flight that I was hoping to catch but, he could not change the booking, It had been closed out for booking and opened up for check in.

I would only be able to see if I could get on at the airport.

The rental car return, I was relieved to see was not too far from the terminal building and more importantly there were trollies nearby.

As fast as I could I loaded up my two trollies and pushed them piled with my eleven bags and boxes in a relay towards the check in desk.

There were a few amused faces looking at me as weaved my bulky towers through the waiting crowd in the arrivals area of the terminal.

Sweating I got there and saw Kate and Simon checking in for their flight which I discovered would now be my flight all going well.

I had made it in enough time for Rod at the ticket desk to get over a few problems that would not let him transfer my booking to the new flight even though thankfully the class of ticket would allow it and there was a seat available.

There was also enough time for the Australian customs officer to complete my carnets in slow time because not only had he not done one for a while he was training a young officer.

At last all I needed to do was to run to the rental car desk and chuck the keys and sat nav at them. It was even easier than that because there was no one at the desk, just a couple of slots marked “key return” and “GPS return”.

I met Simon and Kate in the lounge and even had time to throw down a cup of coffee. There was also enough time for a very distinguished gent and his wife to come up to Kate, confirm that she was who they thought she was, get their photograph taken with her and then go on to tell us how much they disliked Daybreak compared to GMTV, which was slightly embarrassing.

This leg of the flight was a five hour hop to Singapore with the long thirteen hour slog after that.

When we got to Singapore I had a couple of hours to wait for my BA flight to the UK. Kate and Simon should have had a similar wait for their Qantas flight but, as soon as we arrived Qantas staff at the top of the air pier were handing out meal vouchers to passengers who would be getting on that flight.

The flight was delayed by three hours.

I said my last good bye to the pair as they settled in for a long wait after organising the change in time to the cars that would meet them at the airport in the morning.

Just another twelve hours to London and another short hour's flight for me then I'd be home too in a slightly chilly Edinburgh.

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