Mission Impossible

Category: Wendy's Wanderings 14 September 2012

It was fabulous to be back in Ireland preparing for David’s Roadshow on 11th September. The home of the creamy dark stuff and sense of humour that no one can beat. A long 3.5hrs on the ferry could have been very boring for David, Matt and I, but later, with a cinema screen above us we watched ‘Mission Impossible’, and it was. You know the score, the ship arrives so we miss the last 5 minutes of the story. I have no idea what happened, quite possibly something around the big bang theory!

We did not know until we arrived in Portlaoise that the High security prison was just down the road providing employment for the locals here. We arrived late the day before the show to a very warm welcome from the Midlands Camera Group. I am made very much aware that I come from the south of England and on arrival discover that although we speak the same language I do not always understand and quite possibly I sound like the Queen and no one understands me either!

The next day after a hearty breakfast with black and white pudding I have to get to an Irish bank for our change pool for any book or DVD sales. I enter the bank and queue for 8 minutes, once at the cashier’s desk I am told I need euro’s to pay for the pool. It cannot be done with a credit card. The amounts per bags of change are set so I end up having to pay for more than I really need. I walk outside to the cashpoint where I queue to obtain the euro’s. I press the 2 security buttons on the double door system to enter the bank again where I queue for another 10 minutes  In the meantime David and Matt are waiting in the car aware that I was headed for a 10 minute trip to the bank!! Luckily I see the same cashier she says there is a fee for the change, that is ok I expected that…  of €24.50!  When I asked why it was so much she said it was because they had to order the change from their central bank. I looked shocked and said so...  I only needed €150 in change and the person ahead of me had just paid that in!!! She quietly suggested trying the bank opposite might be cheaper.  I queued for 7 minutes.  At last I meet another cashier ‘If you need change we cannot process it here, see that door last on the right at the end of the (dark) corridor, press the button on the left of it and someone will process it for you.’

At this point the signature tune of ‘Mission Impossible’ is playing happily in my head lalala….. lalala……lalala…baba. This is getting silly now.I press the button , the door opens slowly. I enter a tiny windowless room, the door locks behind me, there is a fierce light bearing down on me from above…in front, a heavy perspex security hatch. I spy a man beyond, his back towards me, no one is waiting on the 3 chairs left for customers, he is busy , I will have to wait lalala…..lalala……lalala….baba…this is like ‘Monty Python’ it has become apparent that I started this mission in a bank, I am now in Portlaoise prison, I am going to be strip searched, hosed down and imprisoned. Oh God beam me up Scottie!

Eventually I get eye contact from the very pleasant cashier ‘How can I help?’ I explain the situation and ask him how much the change would cost, he takes a minute or too, I become anxious…€2.40. That's more like it.  When I told him what they charged opposite he suggested this was paying for bail for certain prisoners! He puts the change in a green cotton bag, by this time I have been almost 45 minutes, David and Matt should be sending out the back-up team from the reinforced land rover by now, I may have to bust my way out, I am hidden behind a locked door after all. The cashier smiles at me ‘Will that be all?’ A false sense of having fulfilled my mission prevails, I risk ‘Well we will be leaving at 6am in the morning so I will not be able to bring this green bag back, will I be stopped at Rosslare and dragged back here? ‘Well this is Ireland, anything could happen…would you like an orange one instead?’  We both laugh. I leave after a final scanning from the bright round light above and walk the long dark corridor towards daylight… phew.

David and Matt look fed up when I appear, ‘What took you so long?’ Never mind Hollywood, I feel I have just achieved my very own ‘Mission Impossible!’ ‘Anyone for a Guiness?’ 

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David Noton Photography
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Milborne Port

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