Valencia is Spain's third city. We will be there by lunchtime tomorrow, making our way by metro to the Hostal Venecia on the edge of the city's oldest quarter. After "The Panic of the Lost Passport" we then moved on to the next episode of our living soap opera -"Will Our Carry On Cases Measure Up?"
We're flying down to Spain with Ryanair - Britain's most successful budget airline. I guess I first travelled with them ten years ago, taking advantage of rock bottom deals to Norway, The Czech Republic, Sardinia, Porto, Berlin, Marrakech and so on. I am grateful that Ryanair provided me with such a golden opportunity to make a carbon footprint as deep as the Cheddar Gorge because they also allowed me to visit places I would have otherwise missed. However, over the years the airline has altered and many air passengers have grown to despise Ryanair for their pettiness and trickery in squeezing extra payments from passengers they should be cherishing.
The latest scam concerns carry on luggage. A lot of Ryanair passengers try to avoid presenting hold luggage because each bag adds another £30 to the overall cost of travel. Instead, many passengers walk on Ryanair planes with small cabin cases which are then squeezed into overhead lockers. The company have become very stringent about the dimensions of carry on bags. They must be no more than 55cm x 40cm x 20cm - including straps, handles and wheels. At several airports, Ryanair have been using a high-tech testing device - namely a cardboard box that will fit over cabin bags that comply with their regulations. Owners of cabin bags that fail the cardboard box test have to pay up £35 on the spot to have their carry on bag transferred to the hold of the aircraft.
You're not allowed any extra carry-on items - no cameras, ladies' handbags, duty free purchases etc.. Everything must be in your carry on bag. This is why, earlier today, Shirley and I went to our local TJHughes store armed with a tape measure to buy a new carry-on bag, knowing that one of our old cabin cases was a centimetre and a half too tall.
Assuming that we survive the Ryanair stormtroopers and their vindictive regime, we hope to have a nice break in Valencian sunshine. Of course, I'll let you know what we saw and how things went after we return on Friday. And if you're thinking of burgling our house while we are away - forget it! As usual, lethal booby traps will be activated all over the house. You wouldn't want to fry would you?