Hot Water

While in the UK a couple of weekends ago, I bought a hot water bottle at Boots, and packed it into my only luggage (carry-on) to bring back to Italy. The x-ray technician at security was momentarily confused: “Is that a hot water bottle?”

“Yes, they’re surprisingly hard to find in Italy,” I replied.

A security lady opened my bag carefully and pulled out a perfectly ordinary, red rubber hot water bottle, with the tag still on. (I had had a feeling that might be useful.)

“Well, you can’t carry it on,” she declared.

“It’s brand new and has never contained any liquid of any kind. What is the problem?”

“The rule says you can’t bring on water bottles,” she insisted stubbornly.

I wasn’t going to make a scene in airport security, but I was deeply puzzled. The lady asked a colleague his opinion.

“I don’t think it means that kind of water bottle,” he said.

“The rule says no water bottles!”

So she asked a supervisor, who looked bemused. “No, not that kind of water bottle. She can take it on.”

The lady looked put out – she apparently cherished the strictest possible interpretation of the rules. But I got to bring home my hot water bottle.

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