INTRO: The Hunt for the Wilder-briefs

Those of you who know me (even just a little bit) will know how insanely disorganised I am. I’m not just talking about forgetting a pen for class kind of bad, I’m talking leaving my Undergraduate thesis until the month before kind of bad. Therefore, it will come as no surprise that my trip to Portugal and Spain this month has followed very much in the same vein.

As part of my soul searching quest for independence, I have chosen to embark on the Camino Portuguese to Santiago in a few days time. I mean, what better way to prove yourself than on a 280km trek across two rather large countries? Facing this challenge, you would have thought I’d spent weeks planning my route and packing list…well you’d be wrong. The most I’ve done in preparation is to check the weather the week before. Thank God for my parents Amazon Prime account (not an ad), which enabled me to order my walking socks with “next day delivery” from the comfort of my hotel in Greece (a holiday I chose to schedule just a two days before my flight to Porto…oops).

This takes us to the day before my flight when I became aware of a crucial oversight in my packing list…I had no pants. Now, I know this makes me sound slightly gross but I don’t mean I have no pants whatsoever, rather I do not own any that are suitable for a ten day trek. As my mum says, the only undergarments I own are ‘tiny ridiculous things’ that would no doubt ride up my arse as soon as I left the hostel.

Had I a rational mind, I could have picked up a pack of pants in Porto, seeing that underwear is a first world necessity. However, rationality is not my strong suit. You could say I had my knickers in a bit of a twist (sorry) as I frantically searched Amazon, the eve before my flight, for the perfect pair.

A slight bit of context before we continue. My dad owns a Post Office in a small town called Caistor, adorably run by himself & his partner, Kaye. Cute, right? But also incredibly convenient for myself in regards to receiving or sending packages. Ordering something the day before you’re due to fly may seem a bit silly, but not when you have the family Post Office at your disposal. Or so I thought.

After chatting with my sister Katy (another Post Office employee & insider source), I was guaranteed that my pants would arrive by Local Collect at 11am. At this point, all I knew was that my plane left at 17:40 from Manchester airport, which in my eyes was plenty of time. What I didn’t take into consideration was: a) how far Caistor is from Manchester and b) the fact that you have to to be at the airport at least 2 hours before your flight. It was only after I spent £9 on a pack of knickers that I realised the error of my ways.

Now, I’m not a cheap skate by any means, but £9 is a lot of money, especially on some ugly pants that I’m most definitely not going to keep after this trek. I could have let it go, but the cogs had begun to turn in my devious brain. I had a secret weapon at my disposal in the form of Postman Pa (a.k.a – my dad).

Knowing full well this was entirely a laughing matter, I decided to play up the scenario somewhat – after all, £9 is nearly an entire days budget for me this trip. I told my dad that I was awaiting a very important parcel which was due only minutes before I had to leave for the airport. I said that without this package, it would be impossible for me to undertake this challenge and was there any way he could help me out?

Luckily, my dad has an impressive list of local contacts. With a swish of his finger, he was on the phone to the town depot to beg them for a favour. I sat tight lipped through the entire phone call, red-faced that an entire towns worth of post was to be seconded for my pack of pants. But the deed was done. My package would be put as priority to ensure its timely arrival.

I thanked my dad, ignoring the stabbing sensation of guilt in the pit of my stomach. What a ruckus I had caused over £9 briefs.

The next day, my bag was packed and I sat patiently waiting for my VIP (very important parcel). 10:58, 10:59…no sign. “It’s fine”, I told myself, “it’s not even 11 yet”. 11:05…beads of sweat were forming on my brow. Where was it?

By 11:10 I was in desperate need to leave for the train station but there was still no package. In hindsight, this is where I should have left the situation, it’s just pants after all. But after causing such a fuss the day before, I had to see it through.

Minutes later my dad was back on the phone with the depot, asking who was doing the rounds that day. However, do bear in mind that my dad still has no idea what is in this package at this point. He sounded anxious on my behalf. “They promised it would be here” he said, tutting at his phone.

We soon found out the name of the posty in question and in a flurry both my dad and his partner were desperately trying to contact her.

To cut an already long story short, I’m currently in Porto drinking coffee in my £9 pants. After chasing down the local courier in the market place, I retrieved my long sought after package and have continued my journey still yet to confess to my poor, dear father, the true content of his toils.

Was it worth stress? I mean, they are incredibly comfortable…but no.

So this is my confessional, an absolution of guilt if you will, before I embark on my pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. As I traverse across these two beautiful countries, I will be writing about my experiences and I would love you to read them.

I promise it will be more exciting than the pants.

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2 Comments

  1. Fantastic piece of writing Chloe, you have a knack for the comedic effect, can’t wait to read your next excerpt xxx

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