|We had such a great show.. what could go wrong?|
I do not usually resort to expletives in my blog contributions but today is an exception. Having completed a very successful and enjoyable CRISIS 2018 in Antwerp, Toggy and I had planned an early start on Sunday - breakfast at 0830, on the road for 0900 - Ramillies by 1015, Neerwinden by 1400.
Having checked out at 0900 I reached the car and fumbled in my pocket..... no keys. Eh?
|We are supposed to be here! Where are the f*****g keys!!!!!|
This cannot be. I have OCD. Where are my keys? Both bags emptied in an underground car park, pockets emptied, coat emptied, no keys. We walked round two floors of a large underground car park for fifteen minutes... nothing on the ground. Back to reception, the bar, the lounge... nothing. Re activate the room key - search the vacated bedroom - nothing. We have to be in Ijmuiden at 1500 tomorrow! Today we have to be in Leuven as a hotel is booked. Back to last night's restaurant - no keys.
|We are trapped.... in Antwerp|
OK - phone car emergency service number - Can you help me please
Yes Sir!, We'll have to get a local garage to uplift your car, remove the locks and replace them, re-programme the engine etc - how much will that cost and how long will it take? Hmm... a couple of grand and 2-3 days. Agggh!!!!!-- I have to be in Dubai on Thursday. This cannot be happening.
Next step - phone home. Brace for incoming.
Four options emerge after Mrs H calls me a major t**t -
1. Wife drives 160 miles to North Shields and sails for 15 hours, then drives three hours to Antwerp. - won't work - too long, no capacity on boat, pending divorce.
2. Toggy gets workmate to truck keys to Boulogne and we get a train to Lille then Boulogne, stay overnight, meet truck at 0600 and get back to Antwerp for 1200 to get car and drive to Ijmuiden for 1500 - risky, expensive, stressful but possible. HOLD THAT THOUGHT!
3. Toggy gets workmate to truck keys to Boulogne. I send taxi from Antwerp at 0400 to get keys and get back so we can release car from car park and reach Ijmuiden to catch boat. Cost: 350 Euros but probably worth it to avoid total meltdown from Tuesday onward. BETTER STILL!
4. Wife gets flight from Glasgow to Brussels via London, train to Leuven and delivers keys to us so we can ALL go back on the boat to Newcastle - possible, expensive, pending divorce, risky too. I WILL NEVER LIVE THAT DOWN but still an option.
|ROKS Chungmugong Yi Sun-sin (DDH-975) - nice ship!|
Whilst all these plans were taking place Toggy and I walk down to the Scheldt, go on board a visiting South Korean Frigate (yes you read that correctly) and have a free tour of a visiting warship and supply vessel on a world PR tour. I walk around in a daze completely flummoxed about where I could have lost keys.
|Ahoy! ROK Able Sea Man Togwash|
|Even these modest calibre guns look formidable|
|The ROKN sailors were really nice! Polite and welcoming to all visitors. I even used the 'Head'!|
Time now - 1330 and back at Hilton Antwerp. I decide to check the bedroom for the third time (although already checked out), the lounge, the car park etc. I ask the concierge for my bags just to check that the keys are not in the dirty underwear, with the toothpaste etc. As I rummage through my smalls the voice of an Angel hovers over my head and in perfect English says..
Mr Hilton, Housekeeping have found A key.
I dare not hope. I continue to check my luggage calmly and repack a bag. Five minutes later the blonde Angel materializes holding... my key.
We don't know. Not in your room. Somewhere else in the hotel.
No one knows.
Many phone calls... (wife, taxi company, transport company) later and 70 minutes on......
Toggy and I arrive at Ramillies for three hours of diverting de-stress.
|We made it finally - more on this in another post|
We're back in business... Namur tomorrow before tea time and the boat to the Tyne.
What a F*****g day!