Monday, January 29, 2018

Ony In the New South Africa!!!

This series of events started in last November when I was instructed by my son to prepare myself for the forthcoming marriage of my daughter to the Red Bull Formula One racing car designer, Mr Adrian Newey. The ceremony was to take place in the final days of the month at a cosy restaurant near the town of Franchoek in the Western Cape province of South Africa.

My daughter, Mandy, pre-booked my flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town; they, the bridal couple were arriving in South Africa at Oliver Tambo airport the same day, and I was to accompany them on the same flight from Joburg to Cape Town.

My son was given the job of making sure I was ship-shape and presentable to fulfil my role in the giving away of my daughter. I had to make sure my one-and-only suit, acquired at a reasonable price from the producer of a play I once performed in, was cleaned and pressed, my shoes polished and have a clean white shirt and a dickie-bow. All this I did, but my major problem was not having any luggage, like an overnight case, in which I could transport my required costume to be transported on the flight to Cape Town.

Regarding my suit; it was double breasted and came with waistcoat and I had acquired for a nominal sum from the producer of a play I had been in fifteen years ago, called “Blue Orange”, written by English dramatist, Joe Penhall. It is a very sardonically comic piece which touches on race, mental illness, and 21st century British life, it premiered at the Cottesloe Theatre in April 2000, and starred   Bill Nighy and Chitetel Ejiofor.

I performed it, playing the same role as Bill Nighy, in Johannesburg early in two thousand and three, receiving reasonable reviews, however it was not a box office success and we only ran for six weeks. So, apart from it being one of the most difficult roles I’ve ever played the only other remembrance of the production comes when I wear my acquired “Blue-Orange” suit.

Getting back to the preparation for my daughter’s wedding; my son solved my problem regarding luggage. He told me to nip to my nearest “GAME” store and purchase an over night case with wheels that would be taken as had luggage on my air-trip. This I did. At the age of sixty-nine I became the owner of my first wheeled travel bag and it did not need a padlock as it had its own combination locking device.

This was where the problem started!

Instructions to operate the device could not be found anywhere on the exterior of the case. Tentatively I slid the catch and it opened; exploring the several inner compartments I eventually found the operating instruction for the combination lock.

I fastidiously followed them and set my birth date as the 4 required numbers 0307, the third day of the seventh month. I was a hundred percent sure that I would not forget them. I tested the opening, closing and locking of the case at least ten times and it worked on every occasion. I set it aside.

The day before I travelled I unlocked and opened the case to beginning packing it with what I would require, casual clothes, socks and underpants for six days, toiletries, dressing gown, slippers, freshly polished shoes, a newly washed white shirt, dickie bow, and dry-cleaned suit.

After three or four checks I locked the case.

On arrival at the lodgings that my son had organised for myself and his accompanying new French girlfriend, we discovered that the combination lock would not work with the 0307 birth-date-code!

Luckily, I trained my son well; and in no time at all he brought out his Swiss army knife from his suitcase and we had my overnight case opened and all my smart clothes duly hung in the wardrobe and sock and pants in a cupboard.

I will not go into the wedding festivities and the celebration of my daughter’s fortieth birthday which happened the day after the wedding now but both events went splendidly. Old school friends of my daughter were there, and relations of my ex-wife attended. I had great difficulty in remembering their names as two and a half decades had passed since I had any contact with any of them.

I returned to Johannesburg and on instructions from my son I immediately returned my overnight bag to the Game store as I luckily had retained my purchase slip.

It was in the first week of December, so I knew that I wouldn’t see my case till the end of the following January as South Africa closes for approximately four weeks over Christmas.

On the 25th on January received a SMS from “GAME” informing me that my repaired case was ready for collection. I went to the store.

16 Jan (12 days ago)
to me

GAME AND GAME LIQUOR Would like to inform Sir Cess Poole
that your Repair item is back in store awaiting your collection

Automated Message : Do not Reply

Ursula, the lady in charge of customer services, wheeled out the case.

I did the proverbial actors-double-take as it was not mine and, my eyes widened in disbelief. A case three times the size of my case was presented to me! Jet black, mine had been brown.

The majestic suitcase stood on the tiled floor.
Should I? Shouldn’t I? The dilemma of honesty confronted my ageing hard-drive!

I do not possess a large suitcase and the prospect of saying nothing was my first thought. However, as I had to travel to Cape Town in the first week of February for a couple of days filming on an American production I would need an overnight case.

“Show me your slip,” asked the customer service lady.

I duly proffered it.

“Eeh numbers are the same.” she said.

“Well they may be,” I replied, “But it’s not mine. Look, I’ll show you a picture.” I added as I rummaged for my cell-phone.

By now there were three customer service officials hovering, two around the case and the other behind the counter. After a brief conversation in their African tongue, most of which I couldn’t understand, the lady with whom I was originally dealing with announced, “We have a problem.”

I agreed and announced that I had to have a suitcase as I was travelling to Cape town on the 2nd of February, so I suggested that I take the large case and would return to the store as soon as they informed me they had my case.

Another indaba in their African tongue followed and I was told that this was OK, as long as I signed a document that outlined what had happened. This I quickly did, signed the statement I had made, was given a copy and, e-mailed the photograph of my case from my phone to them, then I departed.
Two days later I received a phone call from customer services telling me they had my case and I must come and collect it as soon as possible because the owner of the large case was going berserk threating legal action against them.

I am now in possession of my case. The only problem remaining is I have lost the instructions on how to operate the combination lock!!!!

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