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An Unresolved Case

13 March, 2014

“What are the EXACT measurements of Eleanor’s largest suitcase?”

A question that has challenged luggage experts for decades. Here, to end years of speculation and suspense, is Eleanor’s answer:

“Committed as I am to travelling light, the largest suitcase I own measures a mere 55x35x25cm. There are several reasons for choosing a small case, the most obvious being that I don’t much fancy lugging anything larger around countless airports and hotels. It also helps when trying to fit luggage into hire cars, which, as mentioned in yesterday’s blog, can turn into a fairly tricky jigsaw puzzle. And, of course, a small suitcase leads to a correspondingly small amount of property to lose! Helen’s normally the queen of lost property, but it seems that the rest of us have over-compensated for her absence in this respect. Amy has shown herself to be a be a very apt replacement for Helen by either temporarily or permanently losing her glasses, gloves, scarf and playing cards. Kate has twice left music behind after a concert, and Katie, who had previously maintained a clean sheet in this department, has managed at various points to misplace both her concert clothes and her phone.

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Severe delays on the tarmac as BA staff try to work out how to load Jim Clements’ enormous orange suitcase…

Although these advantages tip the balance firmly in favour of a small case, it’s also true to say that I’ve rarely had trouble fitting everything I need into my modest one, and have often wondered what exactly it is that other people bring with them. The largest suitcases on this trip belong to Amy, Jim and Matt, all three of which must have roughly double the volume of mine. I decided to use a long and rather unvaried day in the car to solve this mystery.

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‘It’s barely big enough for my hair tongs and eyelash curlers’, Matt exclaims

I can’t say I was overwhelmingly successful, but I did get a few clues. Some members of the group like to come with a half-empty case so that they can make use of free time, plentiful shops, and a favourable exchange rate to stock up on clothes. James is the prime culprit in this department, having so far obtained no less than five shirts and two jumpers. Ben has also done well, with two shirts and a pair of trousers, although at least one of these purchases was forced upon him after his black trousers ripped on the night of our first concert!

Another reason to leave extra room in our cases is for the transportation of CDs from one venue to the next. Becky does a great job of ensuring that we have plenty to sell after each of our concerts, and is often on the lookout for willing volunteers to squeeze a few into any available space.

This tour has also shown that others may be a little more shrewd than me when planning for unexpected changes in the weather. After an extremely cold winter in many parts of the US, the weather is proving highly changeable, and it’s touch and go as to whether my meagre supply of warm-weather clothes will last till we get to Florida!

Some like their luggage in bright colours - and that seems to extend to trousers...

Some like their luggage in bright colours – and that seems to extend to trousers too…

Then there’s the odd luxury item, some of which give us all reason to be grateful. Top prize goes to James, whose Bose speaker gave us a taste of home with Holst’s St. Paul’s Suite as we sat down to brunch in Kate and Becky’s Cincinnati apartment. So perhaps what I’ve really learned here is to be careful before pouring scorn on everyone else’s inability to travel light!”

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Eleanor’s favourite luxury item (as long as someone else is carrying it)