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« Scotland to France on the Eurostar -- Part Deux | Main | Why Really? »

Scotland to France on the Eurostar -- Part Un

The kids and I got to our new home in France about six days ago -- barely. We Took a train from Edinburgh to London where we changed to the Eurostar -- the high speed train that goes under the channel. On the regular ScotRail train out of Edinburgh, it stops at the station and you get on. You know, it's a train. Stop. Get on. You stow your luggage and sit down. Stop. Get off. On the Eurostar you go through airport-like security -- metal detectors and luggage x-rays. Then they give your bags back to you and you drag them onto the train yourself, just like normal. Since you get the bags back, ALL luggage is the same as a carry on.

At security, I started getting nervous when the guard called his supervisor over to look at not one, but two of my bags as they rolled through the x-ray scanner -- never a positive sign. He pulled them aside and told me to empty them. This bummed me out. They were masterfully packed to within a millimeter of exploding -- everything inside fit like a puzzle. As I pulled the contents out, the guard opened up the inner bags, toiletry kits etc. and started removing the knives I had packed.** I'm not talking Rambo knives, I have a pocket knife for picnics, we have two kitchen knives that we travel with, Owen has a Swiss Army knife that has everything except a frying pan on it and Brenna just gave me a beautiful folding French Laguiole country knife as a gift when we were in Paris last month. (Ironically it came back to the UK with us on Eurostar and no one said a thing.) Thank god I threw the Serbian switchblade away before I packed. It somehow seemed -- a bit excessive.

It turned into a comedy routine. He kept finding knives and more knives as I unloaded my precision packed suitcases. Finally, I turned around to the voice of a towering London Transport cop. Turns out he was my salvation. Instead of arresting me (which later he told me would have been mandatory not long ago -- one knife had a locking blade) he got another policeman to stay with the kids while he and I jogged through St. Pancras station to the office where I could ship the knives (on the same train) to Paris.

We hurried back to security, I scooped up the kids and the luggage and boarded the train with five minutes to spare.

It took us about an hour to find the baggage office in Paris where the knives had been deposited, but we made it. We're armed and ready to cook again!

To be continued...

**Silly me -- it's clearly stated in Appendix 1 after Item 64/Section 1 of the Conditions of Carriage Relating to Passengers page of the Eurostar website, "Any knives with a blade over 3 inches are prohibited." Oops. Out of interest I read on. Next time if I happen to be traveling with a sword, crossbow, spear gun or straight razor, well, these items are okay. Feeling safer now?

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Reader Comments (9)

Lama DEEPLY regrets his wish for a comical transit.
He (giggle) only wishes (giggle giggle) for an entirely (chuckle) peaceful and comedy free (guffaw) stay in France.

Lama is laughing with you.


Mar 25, 2010 at 10:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterYo Lama

My Serbian switchblade completely fell apart. But not before unlocking itself and opening up in the pocket of my jeans. Turns out that my parent were right to not let me have one when I was twelve.

Mar 25, 2010 at 10:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaul

Well, somebody has to comment on the glorious hats the wee ones are wearing! I mean how cool are your kids? Of course, I'm thinking that looks like a coffee Owen is drinking, which would have been completely prohibited by my parents when I was his age. Then again, we did not board sub-channel speeding bullets with our dad after his police escort to ship blades into other countries, either, so maybe we'll just stop holding young Master Redpath to the old family standards, after all.

You guys really are my heroes. And while it's never as much fun while it's happening, you gotta' know, these tension-laden adventures of yours make for thrilling reading.

Glad you made it safely; hope you're getting some rest now.

Mar 25, 2010 at 8:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterMelody

sad to think how much travel has changed in the last few years...but you can never put the genie back in the bottle...I've only discovered this wonderful sight in the last 2 weeks and need to catch up on the scottish adventures...look forward to you future posts and emails...

Mar 25, 2010 at 10:31 PM | Unregistered Commentermalcolm from santa clara

Hmm.. I feel safer now if I have to travel via Eurostar in the future. :) You guys are amazing to travel via train with the many luggage. I mean I could hardly see your kids behind that huge bag.

Mar 26, 2010 at 5:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterAmy @ The Q Family

It is funny to picture them pulling knife after knife out of a mom and her kids' bags. Glad to hear you were able to ship them and still make the train on time!

Mar 26, 2010 at 6:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterJay

Thank heavens you didn't have a nail clipper - I hear the attached nail file is lethal (in the eyes of transport security). At least you weren't travelling with aluminum knitting needles! I guess you can pass with the bamboo knitting needles; they must figure no one would get agressive with a wooden stick (tell that to my kids!).

I recently overheard part of a conversation where someone had just returned from Scotland. I had to bite my tongue to keep from asking, "Oh, did you run into the Redpaths?" Without constant vigilance, one runs the risk of sounding stupid daily, nay, hourly.

We're missing you all immensely. I am specifically remembering digging the cars out of 26 inches of snow with lovely Brenna at Camp de Benneville Pines a few Aprils ago.


Mar 26, 2010 at 8:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterNicole

oh wow, bob, looks like getting from kings cross to st pancras wasn't the biggest hassle of your journey after all! glad you made it relatively unscathed ;o)

Mar 26, 2010 at 3:41 PM | Unregistered Commenterkirsten

You were lucky that big cop was there. I'd hate to have to lose all those beautiful knives.

Jul 4, 2012 at 6:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterJose Manalo

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