Let me take a break from my country day out and tell you that I am out of the country for a few days so any potential robbers are welcome to come and rob my flat.  You have until Saturday.  Just don’t take my new coffee mugs because I like them.  And you can keep the potato peeler.  It digs rather than skims.

      I have come to England and am lucky to make it through because if there is one thing about British airports is that in order for the passport control people to let you by, they tend to ask some of the most challenging questions a traveler can encounter.  It is not that they are especially complicated on the face of things; it is just the fact that no on else would make such an enquiry that jars you.  They’ll say things like.

        “So, Mr. Murdock.  Your first name?”  It says it on the card I have filled out.


        “And who gave you that name?”

         “My parents?”

         “Are they your mother and father too?

          “As far as I know.”

          “And you mother is your mom?”

          “That’s correct.  And my father is my dad.”

          “Very good.  They’ll be traveling with you, is that right?”

          “No.  They passed away decades ago.” This is not true (they are alive and well), but I just wanted to see where this would take me.

          “Parents not coming on this trip,” they mutter to themselves.

           “And unlikely on future ones too.”

          “Right.  So you don’t live there?”

         “No, I live in Spain.”

         “Aaaaah.”  They are finally getting somewhere.  There’s a pause before sticking a stamp in my passport. “You speak Spanish, I suppose?”


        “In Spain?”


         “And English?”

         “Only when I have to.”

         “I see.  Good. Why are you here?”  Which is the first question of any importance up to that point.  The others are employed to fluster the potential offender of any kind.  And they do, not because they catch on anything but because who on earth would ever ask such a thing.

      This time they let me off with just a simple question or two and a slipped into the country with the freedom to do as I wish, drive around the countryside, visit castles and drink ale in pubs, and just a general threat to society.

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