Wednesday, June 27, 2018


Written by  Linda Bobowski

“Seriously…” I said. “You aren’t really going to”? Without a backwards glance, I followed the airport security guard out of security and back towards the Westjet Guest Services.

I’ll have to start somewhere at the beginning in order for my question to make any sense. This May, my husband and I travelled to Great Britain and Ireland to celebrate a milestone birthday and our 45th wedding anniversary. But as parents and grandparents, when we travel we always bring back something for our girls and grandchildren and I try to bring back something of the local flair as a kind of reminder of our travels.

We were just four days into our journey when we visited Widecombe-in-the-Moor, a village in Dartmoor National Park in Devon. I entered a quaint little shop and was admiring the local artisan’s crafts that were for sale when, behind me, I heard someone exclaim “I have been looking for this jam for years and look, here it is!” Well, of course my interest peeked at once and I went to see what she was so excited about: Whortleberry jam!

I inquired about the jam and was assured it was absolutely delicious. So, without any hesitation, and not even knowing what a whortleberry is, I had to buy a jar for myself. The clerk was gracious enough to wrap it in bubble wrap as I explained I would be travelling by air and did not want the jam to break in transit.

A number of years ago, I purchased a blue travel bag that fits underneath the airline seat (the bag resembles a small leather duffel bag on wheels). So, when I travel, this is the case I use to bring home gifts. When we got to our hotel that evening I placed my first purchase in the corner of the bag knowing that it would safely make its way back to Canada to be enjoyed on a piece of toast. Along the way we purchased some woolen goods in Ireland and a soccer shirt for the grandson, a sketch of the highlands in Scotland, some bracelets for the girls and before I knew it the blue bag was filled to the rim.

After a whirlwind 18-day tour of the four countries, we were on our final journey home via the Gatwick Airport outside of London. We were up at 6:00 am (London time) in order to have breakfast and make our way to the airport. The airport was a hive of activity as travellers from all over the world were busy either coming or going. We dropped off our luggage and proceeded to security - of course the security line was a queue twenty (or more) lines deep but we knew we had given ourselves plenty of time to clear it. For some reason it seemed to take forever before we were able to drop our ‘carry ons’ in the grey buckets to be scanned for suspicious items, liquids, etc. I retrieved my purse, jacket, Ipad and watch but the blue bag just seemed to take a long time. Finally, a security officer inquired whose bag it was. Upon claiming it, she asked if I would open the bag, which I promptly did, trying to think what could be the objectionable. She located the bubble wrapped jar in the far corner and stated the contents were not allowed on the plane as it exceeded the 100 milliliters. She asked me what was in the jar. I explained it was Whortleberry Jam. She said “I am from Devon. That jam is delicious. It is a shame we are going to have to throw it away.” I asked if I seriously had to and she stated the only way around it was to check the bag in. So of course, that is what I did and, gosh, that jam was absolutely delicious.

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