Another ripping yarn from John's adventures in the Land of Hope and Glory this summer. Actually this episode of the story happened before I had even left Canada. A few blog posts ago I told the story of the Cadbury Chocolate Spread (a good buy at Blighty's for only $6.99 for a stonking big pot) that had been confiscated from a Blighty's customer by UK security officials. So, you would think that the subject would be at the front of my mind as I began my own travels. Apparently not.
As my carry-on bag passed through the X-ray machine at Pearson Airport in Toronto prior to departure I observed one of the eagle-eyed officials gesture towards it. "Oh my gawd" I thought, "what have I been and gone and done wrong now?" (I often entertain private thoughts in my native Cockney, even though I rarely speak that way anymore).
My carry-on passed along the conveyor to a second official who inquired "is this your bag sir?". "Yes, that's mine" I replied. "Do you mind if I take a look inside?" he continued. He then proceeded to rifle through my collection of toiletries, emergency underwear, compact thermonuclear detonators and portable electronics, then laid his hand on a large bottle of maple syrup intended as a loving gift for my aging, infirm mother in Blighty. I had thoughtlessly thrown it into my carry-on bag in the vain expectation that its passage to the UK would be safer than in my checked baggage.
The official was most apologetic but, nonetheless, my dear old mum's maple syrup was destined for the incinerator.
She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed cudgelled me in the earhole for my error, then cudgelled me again for good measure. Then we noticed a souvenir store only steps away from the point of my misadventure. We entered the store to purchase a replacement gift for my dear old mum, and - bloomin' 'eck - what did we see? Right there on the shelf - a bottle of maple syrup that was identical to the one that had just been confiscated from me!
There are two conclusions to draw from this tale:
1. For security reasons you may not take any liquid or gel greater than 100ml on board an aircraft - UNLESS you purchased it from the duty-free shop inside the airport.
2. If you want to interfere with the operation of an aircraft, tamper with bottles of maple syrup sold from duty free shops inside Toronto airport. Oh, and Al Qaeda owes my old mum a big bottle of the stuff!
Do you feel safer knowing that the Canadian government is taking such good care of us during our travels?