Feeling rather foolish, we are standing in front of a very young security officer at Gatwick Airport. Who would have thought that 2 small WeightWatcher yogurts were a security risk? So we stand there and eat them in front of him. Well, we are not going to waste them. We just hoped that the rest of our group couldn’t see us.
Our small group, members of Surrey Music, was one of the first to leave the UK to sing in the Veneto (how does one pronounce it?) Canta to represent the UK in their first Corale Internationale. We are members of the Elmbridge Mixed Choir which, along with the Elmbridge Ladies Choir, were due to sing in four concerts in four days culminating in a very special, final sing-along in St Mark’s Square.
I do have to say that we are a very large group. With hangers-on, groupies and the inevitable partners we total around 175 or so. That is really why we are travelling separately in a number of small groups on different airlines, at different times, from different airports and on different days. It also explains why little glitches happen.
After the Gatwick embarrassment, compounded, I must say, by some very thorough frisking, then Marco Polo airport threw up another one because there was no one to meet us when we arrived. Looking eagerly at each courier and guide, our small group of 10 stood around in the middle of the concourse like refugees.. We took turns to hold up our laminated notice announcing that we were the Elmbridge Choir on the way to the Veneto (pronunciation?) Canta. No one came. In fact we got so desperate that we nearly joined the guide who was waiting for some Karate team or other. We remained in good spirits, though, and eventually our guide turned up an hour late. We discovered that he was booked to pick us and the group from the next flight together which, unfortunately, was delayed by an hour but we didn’t know any of this!
Finally, he appeared carrying a piece of paper containing the words: Elmbridge Choir; Elmbridge Ladies Choir; Waybridge (sic). Where did that come from? As far as I know we have no connection with W e ybridge at all either spelt with an "a" or, correctly, with an "e."