My Other Half and I hit crisis point earlier this month while packing to come back from Norway, when we realised that our luggage weighed more than the 23kg we had been allocated. “Did you really need to bring 5 books with you?” He asked, as we moved a pair of slippers into his brothers suitcase to try and squeeze ourselves back under the weight limit, to which I am obliged to answer ‘Yes’.
This was not the first time it had come up during this trip; before we even left the house he was asking questions, failing to see the absolute significance of the seven books I slipped into the luggage. He even went so far as to suggest that I ‘left a few at home’. Having anticipated this, I ‘pondered’ for a while, then removed my three decoy books in a gesture towards compromise, leaving the four that I absolutely was not about to negotiate over.
How could I possibly go to Norway without the two books based on Norse legends that I hadn’t yet motivated myself to read? If it was ever going to happen then clearly it was going to be this week. However, if the motivation remained elusive then I couldn’t possibly be left abroad without suitable reading material so I had packed ‘Daughters Of The Night’, which I was smugly looking forward to tucking into in the near future (after the two on Norse legends of course).
The final book was ‘Elektra’, which I had organised to arrive before we left so that I could finish it before we got on the plane. This did not happen because ‘life’ apparently happens, so it was absolutely coming too. Four books for a weeks trip seemed perfectly reasonable to me, and my Other Half conceeded that this was better than the original seven.
But then in the airport I was introduced to the notion of “duty free books”. I wondered into the bookshop unobserved while He was distracted by duty free whisky and spotted several books that I deeply desired. Piling up my arms, I made two mistakes. Firstly, I reduced the size of the pile to something reasonable BEFORE he had a chance to see it, therefore losing my negotiation advantage. The reason I made this mistake was because I wasn’t planning to negotiate – I have my own money after all and we are ON HOLIDAY! Treats are part of the experience. All is fair in Love and Books. I had however forgotten to take into account that I didn’t have any pockets, therefore my Other Half was carrying my debit card for me. I was found, shaken down and forced to relinquish one of my books in the name of ‘negotiation’. And now we were at 5 books total.
Diving greedily into my new book on the plane, my Brother In Law decided to stir the pot by flaunting his kindle and letting the group in general know how many hundred books he had available to him, and how light it was. Given that my handbag was at this point straining at the seams with the extra book and snacks, I did not appreciate the comment, nor the reinvigorating of his brothers cause.
It was a wonderful holiday – much adventure and laughter was had. I climbed my first mountain, we ate fish soup in a norwegian restaurant and just generally breathed in the beauty. We spent time with family we don’t often get to see and had the best time ever. I commented near the end of the week that despite having very little time to engage in my favourite restorative hobby (reading) I felt wonderful – this was of no surprise to my Norwegian dwelling relatives where being outside as often as possible is viewed as being absolutely essential. They have a rather good point actually.
Inevitably the time came to pack – and it was not pretty. I decided quite early in the proceedings that at least one of the books on Norse mythology probably wasn’t going to get finished if sitting by a fjord with all of the time in the world hadn’t done the trick. Rather generously I returned the book to my Sister In Law just before she packed her own suitcase to fly home (again, I feel really bad about your suitcase being over the weight limit at the airport), and after a long and exasperating conversation with my Other Half during which he swore a lot, using words like ‘kindle’ and ‘too many books’ we managed to get things just about in order. We apparently negotiated by putting all of the books in my handbag, leaving precious little room for snacks in the carry on.
I would like to summarise this post with the real moral of the story, which was the discovery we made right before we went through security. My phone had fallen out of my pocket in the back of the hire car, and was now unable to be retrieved before the flight left. Sitting on the plane 15 minutes later without my mobile phone, but with the essentials (passport and book) I thought to myself ‘This is why I’m never getting a kindle’.