Shortly after the All England I set off for the Orleans Masters, BWF 100 event. It started as a new experience as it is many years since I last used Manchester Airport. Frankly the least said about the airline the better, and it was worse coming back!
On arrival at CDG I went to the door number that was given on the voucher I had been emailed for the transport. What I did not understand was that the transport was waiting at the departure level door, rather than the arrivals level. This was not mentioned at all on the voucher. 3 ½ hours later, following a detour to Orly to collect players, coaches and other umpires, we finally reached the hotel, in time to head for food before the briefing at the venue.
Play started at 9am the next morning. Tuesday and Wednesday were split into 3 shifts and umpires worked 5 of the 6.Unfortunately, with the middle shift off, and a late finish to my first session, there was no time to really go anywhere, which turned out to be a good thing as there was a neutrality issue and I was asked to start my evening shift early!
The next morning the referee reported that the number of shuttles used the previous day was not accurate. She had gone through all the matches for each umpire and produced a league table of the “worst” and “best” umpires. As the names were read off in reverse order, there was some hilarity and relief when your name was not read out. Interestingly, the 3 most accurate umpires (1 had -1 and 2 had 0 difference in terms of shuttles used versus the shuttles recorded on the tablets) were all female (including yours truly!), who all got a bar of chocolate.
The tournament was using the service height devices, which was a new experience for many of the umpires there. Fortunately I had used them in Birmingham, so was reasonably confident. However, I did have to ask the umpire to call the referee during a match when the player knocked the device when turning away having changed the shuttle and it went out of alignment.
On Friday I was told that my transport back to the airport was leaving at 1pm on Sunday (for a 9pm flight!) because of traffic issues. This meant that I could not be considered for a final duty, as this was the same time play started on Sunday. This was really frustrating as I had checked with the organisers before booking the flights and was told they were fine. I don’t think that the referee was happy about this either, as she pointed out a 9pm flight was sufficient for her to consider me. Other umpires were also in a similar position.
The journey back to the airport took only 2 hours-it took nearly as long to drop my bag-off having finally been able to checkin online that morning, as the website crashed part way through the process several times. So 6 hours to kill in CDG- what to do?
Finish book that I started during the tournament;
Finalise the “Guide for Regional Secretaries”;
Catch up with a couple of BUAofE related emails;
Start this report! Unfortunately not finished at the airport as the battery on my laptop ran out, and none of the charging points were working!
Unfortunately the 6 hours became 7, due to the late arrival of the incoming flight – you can’t board at 8.20pm when the plane has not yet arrived! A very late night, for a very early start the next morning for work.