We had been renovating Kew Gardens BandB for almost a year. I needed a break so had booked a holiday to India. At the end of my holidays, I found myself in a city of my childhood for a few quick nights – Mumbai. Staying at the Taj Land’s End for its easy access to the swanky new airport, I had a full day free before my flight and it was a Sunday.
Now I am a person who cannot sit still for a full day doing nothing useful. A thought occurred to me that back at home I was in need of a metal trunk that would be large enough to live on the beautiful new balcony terrace we had built overlooking the gardens of our new home and BandB. I needed to store all the cushions for the lovely outdoor furniture I had just purchased.
Before leaving for India I had scanned the internet for something suitable and taken two separate deliveries of trunks that were either too small for the number of cushions or two ugly for the beautiful deck. We had to laboriously send them back. But now in India, if I were to buy something, it would be a complete lottery in terms of whether the dimensions would be correct.
Anyway, I am not weak-hearted and needed to get this done. So, I hired a trusty taxi driver named Muhammad and off we went on an adventure. He was tasked with finding me the quarters on Mumbai where all the metal workers made their goods. After several shops selling medium sized trunks, we finally came to a place where we were told we were bound to have success. However, the shop floor was too small to display such a big trunk.
I was taken down dark corridors and came to a room where outside a goat was tied that was busy eating its lunch. As they do. I was asked to go into a dark room with a ladder and row upon row of shelves with trunks. I climbed the ladder and was aware that there was some movement of small creatures on the shelves. It must have been mice or worse still, rats. I told you it is not for the week hearted. I identified a trunk I mentally measured to be of a correct dimension. It was a bargain at £90.
Muhammad had the task of getting it up on his roof rack and securing it. Off we went for a short while, only to be stopped by a policeman. Apparently we were carrying a load unfit for the roads of Mumbai. After a 20 pence fine we were given a clearance and a receipt to travel anywhere in Mumbai with the load. Bargain.
My next pressing task was to ask Muhammad to find me a courier service. It was around 16:00 pm and a Sunday. Only in Mumbai could you find a courier service that is open at that time. We get the trunk down, when I say we, I mean Muhammad. The courier man measures it and calculates a cost of £600 to ship it to the UK. Enough said, Muhammad had to get the trunk back on the roof rack and off we set for the hotel.
The bellboy didn’t blink an eyelid and welcomed me with the words ‘Are you checking in, Ma’am’. I said I had already checked in but I had bought some extra luggage. He helped Muhammad with the trunk. I paid Muhammad £40 and waved goodbye. Bargain!
Next the concierge desk tried to see if they had a better way of getting the trunk to the UK. No luck as it was a Sunday and most of their contacts were shut. I envisioned a trunk in the bin for a moment. However, the concierge came up with a miracle solution.
As I was leaving for the UK in the morning, the concierge suggested one of the guest services people would escort me to the airport with the trunk and see if it can be sent as an oversized bag. Sorted. I went to sleep rest assured.
Next morning an extra big taxi was ordered for the trunk and my two cases. We arrive at the BA club check-in desk, as I am a silver cardholder. Not that I was travelling club class. After a lot of commotion a check-in staff armed with a ruler checked the exact dimension of the trunk. It just made the oversized baggage dimension by a width of hair. I was told it would cost £120 to check-in an extra bag. I chuckled and whispered bargain in my head. The travelling trunk travelled.
The story at Heathrow was somewhat different. There had been a storm and flights were delayed. This caused luggage to arrive late on the belts. My two bags arrived which I placed on a trolley. There were no porters anywhere. I was thinking how would I push two trolleys and one with a huge trunk. I waited for nearly an hour. There was no sign of the trunk. I reported the item missing. The BA staff said that it was on board but because of the delays they would have to deliver it. Sorted! I hopped and skipped to a taxi.
Four days later the trunk arrived and since it was so late I was refunded the £120 extra baggage cost. Winning! The trunk arrived. Scott, my husband looked angry and puzzled. I placed the 20 or so cushions for my terrace furniture into the trunk. They were all strewn in a corner of my dinning room. I placed the last cushion inside; there was not even enough room for a small extra cushion remaining. I placed the lid down and the trunk was proudly placed on the terrace. All in a days work. No dramas, only gratitude.