Maureen: ‘Calamity’ Jane Riddington rides again

Travel Weekly columnist Maureen HillNorth America Travel Service’s Jane Riddington, otherwise known as Calamity Jane, drove into town last week to carry out a general review of our bookings.

Jane is deserving of her nickname and has the scars to prove it. On the day of the England v Germany game in the World Cup she was happily cycling along a road in Bristol when her wheel caught in a tramline, which sent her flying through the air like a Strictly Come Dancing contestant.

Unfortunately, the resemblance ends there as she fell heavily on her wrist, leaving her screaming in agony. She was helped by passers-by who called for an ambulance and she was transported to Bristol Hospital, where it was diagnosed that she had “smashed her wrist to pieces”.

She was admitted as an in-patient and her partner Nick was given the bad news.

Pumped full of morphine, Jane could only repeat her name and inform all and sundry that she was allergic to penicillin.

The form-filling surgeon asked which was her preferred hand and she told him that she favoured her right hand. “Well, it won’t make any difference because you won’t be using either for a while”, he replied. He then asked “What is your ultimate goal?” “To do a handstand”, was her reply.

Hence, Jane sat before us complete with steel plates in her wrist, which apparently sets security buzzers going berserk in Bristol airport. We invited her to demonstrate her handstand in our office, but she said she would be too embarrassed to tuck her skirt into her knickers at her age!

The easyJet crush

EasyJet’s consideration of implementing allocated seating was music to the ears of Rupert Diggins, Balkan Holiday’s sales and marketing manager.

Rupert recently flew with easyJet and, having refused Speedy Boarding, had sprinted to secure a “good” seat. Having been up since daybreak Rupert was looking for a window seat at the rear of the aircraft where he could catch up on some sleep.

Contentedly installed in his window seat he saw that the flight was full and noticed an “enormous” woman heading his way. The woman squeezed her bulk into the seat next to him, leaving him wedged against the window as the woman’s bottom overflowed onto his seat.

There was no way the arm rest would come down as the woman had to have a seat belt extension, which made it impossible to use her seat table so Rupert was obliged to share his table with her.

For almost four hours Rupert was jammed against the window while the woman fell asleep and snored her way through the rest of the flight. You might avoid the rush, but you can’t avoid the crush!

Maureen Hill works at Travel Angels in Gillingham, Dorset

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