Having been “black affrontit” by OTT security at Sumburgh Airport in the past, I normally don’t travel to Shetland by air. However, I was forced by a relative’s recent illness to suspend my boycott.
No problems flying in and Flybe were fine both ways, however, having checked in at Sumburgh for our return flight and just sat down with our cups of coffee, I was called to “security” who required one of our bags to be opened.
Concerned, I politely inquired if they thought our “Globe Butcher’s” vacuum-packed “sassermaet” was a bomb. However, I was pleasantly reassured the search was “purely routine” (“Don’t panic … don’t panic!”) so we got on with it and finally, I returned to my now cold coffee.
When the flight was called we had to pass through security and were advised which items had to come off. My plastic belt was a problem – “it canna come aff, it”s fixed tae me breeks” – so it had to be “trivvilt” to ensure it wasn’t a suicide bomb.
“A plastic belt, you canna be serious?” Oh yes, they were.
The irony of being frisked at Sumburgh by a very pleasant gentleman of Arabian appearance wasn’t lost on me and I stood there, looking at my toes and shaking with surreptitious mirth, as my wife came through.
Naturally, she set off the alarm and had to be scanned all over and it turned out her shoes were responsible and had to be taken away to the “scan man” for clearance.
At last, it was over, well actually, no it wasn’t, for the “de rigeur” strewing of the contents of my wife’s handbag over the counter had still to take place.
Of course, she had committed the cardinal sin of buying a pack of four disposable cigarette lighters which of course, exceeded the maximum safe limit of one per person and the excess had to be confiscated. Rebelliously, she handed one to me which I was entitled to take through.
The confiscated ones then had to be taken to the “scan man” before we were allowed to continue to the departure lounge where my wife saw a man drinking from a bottle and “pluyttit” indignantly: “Whit wye did he manage tae gyit yon trow?”
I ken da Scallowa fokk is braaly ill-plaised (rightly) wi’ da cooncil fir closin da shkuyl dere bit I nivver tink at onyboady is gyaan tae tak an flee a plenn inta da toon hall ower it?
I feel sorry for the pleasant staff forced to play this charade by some latter-day Captain Mainwaring, hell-bent on maintaining his huge lead in the “tightest security in the known universe” competition.
Scotland is the only country in which I have ever been frisked and Shetland is the only place in the world where we are frisked and have our bags searched every time!
So I call on all true Shetland residents and hamefarers to do as I did and whistle The Up-Helly-A’ Song while the surrounding pantomime takes place.
For God’s sake get a life – it’s Sumburgh, not Baghdad Green Zone!