Long, long ago in 1970, when I was a young and careless 24 year-old, I made a huge boo-boo.
My twin sister, Sue, and I had booked a camping trip in Norway with Auto Tours. The ‘happy campers’ were leaving from London. We said we would meet up with them in Newcastle because we wanted to go to the Edinburgh Tattoo en route. Some New Zealand friends I’d met on a ski trip said we could squeeze in with them in the very small place they’d rented in Edinburgh.
So, we were all set: tickets for the Tattoo, tick; tickets for the Norwegian tour, tick; passports, tick, address where Helen and Juls were staying, tick; money, tick. All these tucked safely into my handbag. We also had a small case each – being small and skinny we’d decided these would be better than backpacks – a dubious decision really.
We’d done a fair bit of hitchhiking in the UK and it had worked for us, and it was the cheapest option, so this was what we decided to do. You do feel silly standing on the side of the road with your thumb out…..but it did save us a lot of money. I have no recollection of the first part of the journey, getting out of London etc.
Much further north, we were picked up by a big truck. We came to a big roundabout with the exit for Edinburgh going off to the right. Our driver was continuing on his journey, off to the left. We got down from the high cab and got our cases from the back. He drove off……and I suddenly realized I’d left my handbag in the cab – !!!! I went into total panic mode. Passport – gone. Camping trip – paid for, but now that trip was down the drain. Edinburgh Tattoo – kiss these expensive tickets good bye. And the address for my friends’ accommodation in Edinburgh – not memorized. Money – none. It was also getting dark.
I was totally freaked out,.Sue was doing her best to try and calm me down. There was a hotel just off the roundabout and we headed over there. We did not have a licence plate number or the name of the driver. Nor did we know where his truck was headed. What were the chances of getting back my bag? Zero, one would have thought. We phoned the police, not knowing how that could possibly help.
The driver, after he was well on his way, saw my bag. He dropped it off at the next police station. The details are hazy now, but miracle of miracles, somehow a connection was made and the police brought it back to the hotel for me. Nothing had been taken!! I wish I could have thanked him – kissed him even!
All’s well that ends well
We then still had to get ourselves to Edinburgh. I do remember that we got there when it was already.dark, but I have no recollection of a lift/or lifts there. Eventually we found my friends and all was well. The Edinburgh Tattoo was spectacular. How did we then get to Newcastle? That too is a blank!