Today we begin a new edition. Henry is traveling with Mrs T. to meet with their adult children, their significant others and friends of both theirs and the senior Thorntons. Most of every one’s activities will be in Sicily, although some will visit destinations outside Italy either before or after the ‘main event’.
The principal activity will be a wedding, of the Thornton’s third child Timmy J, and his lovely lady, Olivia. Tim’s older brother was married earlier this year in Melbourne. His sister Eliza married a month before David. Eliza and Nick then returned to New York where Nick practices the dark arts of finance and Eliza teaches in a junior school. About half-way through the term we were pleased to hear that Eliza is pregnant. Nick supports Richmond and Eliza loyally continues to support Carlton. Both families are now hoping for better things next year.
The Thorntons have been busy preparing for five weeks of dolce vita in Italy. Mrs Thornton addressed all the practicalities of the arrangements while Henry offered suggestions and spent the last week at events at his clubs.
Wednesday he enjoyed lunching with one of Australia’s best sculptors and Thursday he attended an AFL football event. Henry has been feeling poorly after a dose of COVID and has been seeing a neurologist with the hope of finding out the cause of his increasing forgetfulness and his weak and painful legs.
Another activity was preparing a submission to the PM and Treasurer on productivity. A long time ago Bob Hawke devised a set of changes that greatly improved productivity. Some years ago, Henry and his co-authors Richard and two men now deceased, created a new set of proposals that if implemented would be likely to reset an era of high productivity. With help from another friend, Mike, this material was updated and sent to Prime minister Albanese and Treasurer Chalmers
I must say, at their conference Mr Albanese and friends seemed to promote everything other than productivity, so I was totally confused, or perhaps this was my brain weakness at work.
As recommended we were at the airport early – 7.15 for an 11.30 flight. We were flying Oman Air because its business class fares were a fraction of the cost of Qantas. We got rid of our bags at the check-in and then proceeded through to customs and hand luggage screening. The fun was about to start. Henry’s hand luggage consisted primarily of medications and the where-with-all to effect other necessary procedures connected to his less than perfect prostate. Needless to say screening picked up the container of KY jell and the ubiquitous catheter tubes. The young man looked bemused and Henry’s discreet explanation failed to clarify the situation. At this point Mrs T intervened and in two short sentences conveyed the necessary explanation. The young man looked shocked and went to confer with his supervisor (another young man) who looked appalled. Henry and Mrs T were immediately waved through.
The Thorntons were not the only ones having trouble coming through screening. The man behind them was engaged in a vigorous debate with security concerning a large plastic lizard. “But its only plastic and it’s a present…” were the parting word. the Thornton’s heard as they headed toward the Oasis lounge.
Henry and Mrs T collapsed into a couple of chairs – Oh where was the Chairman’s lounge when Henry really needed it? For many years he had enjoyed its welcoming embrace without fully appreciating its beneficence. And now when his need was greatest he’d been ruthlessly culled.
On a trip back from the bar Mrs T approached the lizard man to see how it had all ended. No lizard. Surprisingly however a plastic snake of the same genre had been allowed passage. “Useless to me” said the lizard man, “I need two presents.”
At 11:30 pm on Tuesday our plane took off for KL. Mrs T. immediately extended her seat and went to sleep for the duration. Henry watched two movies and enjoyed a couple of drinks.
It was in KL that trouble began. Henry’s legs would no longer reliably support him and while relieving himself he went down for the count. After 30 minutes finally struggling to his feet the Thorntons made it to the lounge where a wheel-chair was arranged for the next boarding. A very nice girl took charge of the wheel-chair and efficiently negotiated all the massive queues to get the Thornton’s onto the Oman Air flight to Muscat. The Thorntons can thoroughly recommend Oman Air. The business class seats were excellent (ie flat), the service very good and the staff especially helpful.
From this point on it was wheelchairs all the way. Indeed Henry doubts his legs would have allowed the Thorntons to continue otherwise.
Our major purpose in travelling to Europe was for the wedding of our younger son Tim and his long-time girlfriend Olivia. Timmy J who works for Jetstar had envisaged getting to Sicily using the advantages of staff travel. They got as far as Perth only to discover that the focker was chocker . (Unfortunately/fortunately? Timmy J’s skateboard had secured passage and was now circuiting the globe.) Timmy J (a man who hates to lose even a dollar) had taken some neurophan and was resting while Olivia booked flights on Qatar. There was also no wedding dress. No, not lost in transit, but abandoned in Melbourne as it had not hung properly when made up in the final luxury fabric. However our love birds did get to London and amazingly, the skateboard turned up – every dark cloud contains a silver lining (for someone!)
To be continued ...
Fiona Prior notes a special tribute to the Queen.
When I was growing up in a tiny country town, the owner of the local apiary passed away.
My mother, a repository of all things delightful, told me that someone had to tell the bees that the beekeeper had died, and that it was an important tradition.
Well, it seems that the queen was also part of this charming rite of passage.