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I Am A Selfish And Wheezy Traveller

A recent trip to Falmouth offered some challenges. I took a plane (I’d like to do a Prince Harry and say this choice of flying was to keep my family safe, but it was just me, and it was free). I was told a taxi driver would be there to meet me at Newquay Airport (a small airport and totally unafraid of somewhat thorough pelvic area body searching, as I discovered on my return) but on arrival, I couldn’t see any taxi driver with my name on a board. There were several other taxi drivers boasting other names, but none of them were mine. I was vexed. Possibly caused by a childhood trauma of being left in my pram unattended – and then I noticed one driver holding a board with the name ‘Browne’ on it which caught my eye. I asked him if he was there to collect me.

My other half’s surname is ‘Browne’ so I thought there might be a connection (although I was clutching at straw straws since I never use the surname Browne. Ever). The driver seemed happy to be approached and asked, rather hopefully ‘are you going to the university?’ I said that I was. Then he asked for my name. I told him my name was Helen Lederer, but that my other half’s name was Browne in an assertive but brisk sort of way. The driver caught my mood. He said, ‘oh, I’m probably due to collect you then. What’s your name again?’ I said ‘Helen Lederer.‘ 'Oh yes’ he said relieved ‘because I was told to collect three people - Lederer must be all of the three names’ I quietly agreed that this must be the case - but found it hard to think that the two other people might be called ‘er’ and also ‘er’. Anyway, we were halfway to Falmouth when a sharp voice boomed out from the dashboard which I knew it would. The voice informed us that there were two passengers still waiting to be collected. I didn’t want to turn back. I told him to drop me off in Truro, so I could get myself an asthma spray, since I’d forgotten mine but also to make out I wasn’t a selfish passenger who just wanted to travel solo - but was someone who had medical needs as well. The driver asked if I would have minded sharing with others. I avoided answering. He duly dropped me off at Super Drug in Truro and returned to collect the other two passengers who I assumed he would address as ‘er’ and ‘er’. I waited an hour to sort out a prescription because the first page wasn’t faxed properly …. Don’t ask.

I can’t quite remember having this photo taken but it was a few hours later, in Falmouth with a very nice official of the university…. No wheezing.


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