FOUR FINGERS AND THIRTEEN TOES – ‘AIRPORT 2010’
There have been many movies about the life of an Airport … Goerge Kennedy in “Airport”, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in “The VIPs” and more recently Tom Hanks in “The Terminal”. Add to this the many spoof movies about the lives and loves of air travellers and you have a perfect recipe for a good story.
As you know, I like a good film and a good story line and so I thought I’d add to the list of airport-based stories with my own version of “Airport 2010”.
So, to develop the plot line … there will be a Welsh lass of Irish Catholic origin, married to valleys boy made good, and just for good measure, one brusingly handsome son as the off-spring. I like to think a comparison can be made between Burton and Taylor – with the only difference being that my characters live in Cardiff in South Wales, and have not got married, divorced and remarried in the glare of media publicity and certainly don’t enjoy the Hollywood life-style of their alter egos.
And so the plot line continues, as my characters are set to enjoy the glamorous surroundings of a snowy New York City for their Christmas vacation (note the American phraseology for authenticity !!)
However, to avoid potential copyright issues, the story starts in the quiet suburbs of Wales’ Capital City and unlike in The VIPs, the action stays firmly in South Wales.
The film cuts to a shot of the black miserable snow that has been munched up with 4 x 4’s trying desperately to find milk and bread before the weather closes in, and life as we know it comes to an end – well, at least for a couple of days. My glamorous family welcome their relatives to share a glass of Christmas cheer before they leave for the airport.
Another cut takes us to the hall, where the Christmas tree twinkles, casting a warm glow over the suitcases that have been packed with winter woolleys like you have never seen before. And just for good measure a couple of hot water bottles to make sure that the bladder of my valley boy made good can withstand the freezing temperatures that await him when he arrives in New York – I’ve cleverly incorporated a kindly relative who instead of giving my leading man a bottle of “wee dram” thought it more appropriate to protect him against a “wee leak” !!
Back to the living room, the temperature outside is freezing, the ground has not been seen for at least three weeks, and the news headlines grimly tell of cancelled flights and travel chaos throughout the country. Around the dining room table my characters are discussing whether the journey to the airport should start earlier than planned, when the shrill ringing of the telephone disturbs the conversation. The driver of the limousine – well actually a mini bus driver from the Swansea valley, talks in urgent tones about the flights that have been cancelled going out of the airport and urges my leading man to look on the internet.
It would have been nice to suggest they follow the star, but unfortunately the props budget wouldn’t stretch to a telescope!
As the evening wears on, the atmosphere in the house grows palpably more tense … and like Burton and Taylor, my characters become more and more reconciled to being stranded in the airport or anywhere else for that matter.
In anticipation, woollen hats, two-fingered gloves and thick chunky scarves were prepared for the journey east. No, not to Bethlehem (you will find our Bethlehem – in West Wales about 70 miles from Cardiff) or even to the one in the Holy Land, but – yes, you guessed it to Heathrow. Huddled around a computer screen, my leading lady starts to flick her dark hair in a nervous Tayloresque fashion, whilst my leading man ponders whether to throw the laptop into the icy wilds of the garden. But lo, almost as if a heavenly host appears from the screen, the news came … Flight VS045 had been cancelled.
There was no rapturous chorus of men from the local male voice choir … but rather a stunned silence descended on the family that were to travel far afield – Not to be registered and taxed, but rather to enjoy tax-free shopping!
Unlike Burton and Taylor my characters were not going to be whisked off to some plush hotel to resolve all the problems under the sun with one glass of champagne. These characters were destined – rather like Mary and Joseph – to celebrate this festive time, if not in a stable then in a house, where the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree had given way to the reality of a house where, there was not even a mince-pie to leave for Santa on Christmas Eve.
Cut to the bathroom where my leading lady dramatically wipes a tear from her eye. Obviously, she is disappointed, but she is more heartbroken for the brusingly handsome, yet deserving son; and for her leading man who having spent a year planning and organising the trip of a lifetime, has just revealed what extra treats he had kept such a closely guarded secret!
Cut again to the bedroom, my weary characters fall exhausted, not into a bed of hay, but fortunately a warm comfortable bed.
In the cold light of the following morning, my characters are unbowed by the events of the previous evening. Determined to don her two-fingered customised woolly gloves, my leading lady dresses with gusto and takes her leading man and their brusingly handsome off-spring to the Mecca that is the newest shopping Mall in Cardiff. Therein they find … not gold, frankincense and myrrh … but rather all of the things that make Christmas at home the special time of year that it is.
The closing shot in my movie will be of my three characters hanging up their stockings on Christmas Eve in time-honoured tradition, and looking at the presents spilling out from under the Christmas tree.
And what will be the moral of my story? Well, firstly there really is no place like home, secondly you appreciate how wonderful it is to have friends and family who share in your upset, but are thankful that you are safe. And that throughout the world, there are people who would love to have just a small portion of the joy this Christmas brought to my characters.
The final credits will then roll, and the out-takes will show how you can prepare for Christmas in just two days.
As we come to the end of 2010, I hope anyone travelling over the New Year, arrives at the their destination safely. But, there is one family who will definitely be staying right at home, content to watch : Maid in Manhattan, Westside Story, and to top it all off, Miracle on 34th Street.
Happy New Year to everyone – See you in 2011.