Four middle aged travellers after a few days by their friend’s villa pool get to Toulouse airport. They are tanned, relaxed and ready to go. Its been good, books have been read, wine has been drunk, laps have been swum and the problems and joys of being grandparents discussed.
Now they are on the way home. How will the garden look, has someone moved the dustbin back, did the burglar light work.these are the fast forward thoughts.
Toulouse airport, a wonder of modern Frnance. Modern stylish, roomy and efficient-why can’t more airports be like this?.
Two of the party are booking in their excess luggage. There is a delay, it goes on, there is a search, more delay, more search. End of holiday smiles have turned into frowns, panic looms. A passport is missing.. Maybe it slipped into another part of the bag. This is turned out not once but three times. No passport no check-in, no flight. No go,
Maybe the document is back in the hire car. Maybe its back at the villa. The villa is phoned. Its not there. The car is regained and searched, it’s not there.
Maybe it’s in the main luggage. This is now spread out on the concourse. Still its not there. Panic looms closer. What to do? The check in says go to Information. Initially Information says go back to check in. They rethink and phone the British consulate in Toulouse.
Sorry this number no longer works, Try another. It’s engaged. Ten minutes later. Sorry there is no one in, the message box is full, try the Bordeaux consulate.This is more than 100 miles away. This too is unmanned, the message there , suggests try tomorrow. It is 4.30 on a Tuesday afternoon. We tax payers ask the Foreign Office to do more than discuss the pros and cons of arms to Syria,
Our friend now wonders whether maybe she should take a cab into Toulouse and see if she could raise someone at the unmanned consulate. Maybe she should stay in Toulouse and catch the consulate first thing to get a travel document. She starts to work out the tiresome options.. She says good bye to her friends as she walks down a lonely and unrewarding road.
Just to square the circle she goes to the airport police to see if they have any bright ideas. A lost passport you say. Your name. Well I never. Just a minute. Is this it. She catches her plane. The kindness s of some anonymous stranger has saved the day.