SONY DSC Toronto–I had nearly missed the early flight out of Gatwick. The night before we had debated the world's religious problems, fuelled by vast quantities of wine. These kind of evenings are never wise the night before a flight.

By some stroke of fortune, my partner in crime, and chaos, woke me at 7.30am–wheels up would be at 9.30am.

"Call a cab!" I shouted, dressing like a crazed animal. "They'll be outside in two minutes!" she shouted back.

"Money, I need cash!"

Lindsay knelt on the floor, emptying her wallet."Thirty-five pounds, it may not be enough," I commented, scooping up the cash and stuffing it in my pockets.

"I'll ring them back and pay by card, you go!" She didn't need to tell me twice. I was down the stairs, out the door, and into the cab before she could say another word.

"Gatwick Terminal One, and step on it!" I shouted to the driver. He pulled off with the same sense of urgency as a man going to the gallows. No matter, we turned the corner only to be confronted by hellish traffic joining the A240–no amount of speed would help. The GPS flashed an eta of 8.30 am–boarding time, there would be no time to check luggage.

We arrived at the airport without incident. I dumped a handful of coins into the cup holder next to the driver's seat, grabbed my luggage, and made a mad dash into the terminal.

It was about this time that the full extent of my predicament dawned on me. At security there were signs everywhere announcing that persons carrying: liquids, sharp objects, inflammable items–all potentially in my luggage–would be subject to additional security inspections, possibly resulting in a 15 minute delay.

My mind raced, what did I have in my bag? Fuck it, no time to waste. I rolled the dice and shoved my luggage into the mouth of the machine ...let it ride I thought ... and ... it set off a security alarm–winner!

"Whose bag is this?" the security unit asked. "Mine!" I shouted enthusiastically, like I had just won a lottery.

"I don't like being shouted at," he grumbled. "And I don't like missing flights," I responded. He looked at me with a expression that said: keep your mouth shut or you won't flying anywhere.

"Are you carrying anything in your bag we need to know about?" he asked. "Possibly, perhaps a pair of scissors ... some liquid ... I dunno, I packed in a rush."

"No, it's not a liquid, it's this" he said, pointing at a red circle on an x-ray. The offending item looked like a nut, or, from his perspective, a detonator–what had that fiendish, so called friend of mine, slipped in my bag?

"Have no idea," I responded.

"We'll have to open up your bag to have a look then," he says, sounding like some kind of surgeon. And it's not like I have any choice. I opened the bag, swung it around, and let him ruffle around inside.

It turned out  the offending item was a coffee grinder. Satisfied, I couldn't do blow an Airbus out of the sky with a coffee grinder, he sent me on my way–08h50.

Ever reliable Air Transat was already boarding. These people pull away from the gate ahead of time. I collapsed into my seat just after 9am, we pushed back at 9.30am, I texted a picture to my partner in crime, and fell asleep before wheels up.


It was only when I arrived in Toronto and unpacked my bag that I realized it was riddled with lotions and liquids of various shapes and sizes, which had passed through security undetected.