Hi everyone. This should provide some amusement to you all. The events that took place during the days after my wedding last week ended up gaining me and my wife some notoriety
"Cabbie’s tip goes down a bomb
By JANE HAMILTON
A NEWLY-WED couple sparked an international incident when they handed a cab driver a grenade and asked him to keep it.
The couple were heading towards Edinburgh Airport to catch a flight to Amsterdam when they realised they would not be allowed on the plane with the device and asked the taxi driver if he wanted it.
They told the flabbergasted cabbie that it was a relic from the First World War and was not dangerous.
Taking them at their word, the trusting cabbie drove around for almost two hours picking up other fares before doubts emerged as to the wisdom of his actions.
After handing it into police, he was amazed that bomb disposal officers were called immediately and a worldwide alert went out to trace the couple who gave him the unusual tip.
Wait and Sydney Wynants had travelled to Edinburgh and were staying at an address in Piershill for a couple of days before catching their flight to Amsterdam.
Mrs Wynants, an American, said she had only come to the UK to get married and that they were hoping to settle in the American city of San Diego.
Jan Wawryluk, 53, a cab driver for City Cabs, picked the couple up to take them to Edinburgh Airport to catch their flight at 4am.
" We got chatting about this and that and then the guy asked me if I was interested in war memorabilia.
"I said: ‘Maybe’, and asked him why. The young man then handed me a grenade and said he couldn’t take it on to the plane with him and asked if I wanted it."
Police said they believed the couple were planning to stay in Amsterdam for a few days before flying to the United States .
Mr Wawryluk said he was not worried about it because he had been assured by the couple it had been deactivated.
He kept it beside him in his cab and drove back into the city centre but a couple of hours later he had second thoughts about the safety aspect of having a bomb in his cab and decided to take it to Gayfield police station.
"I headed back into the city and took the thing to Gayfield at about 6.30am and gave it to police there. There was nothing sinister about this couple at all but I wasn’t 100 per cent sure it was safe so I thought I’d better take it to police.
"It’s not the sort of thing you want to leave lying around, but I certainly didn’t think it was that dangerous."
Police immediately put the bomb into a secure outside storeroom and called the Army bomb disposal unit.
The grenade was later found to be from the First World War era with all the explosive elements removed, but it is unknown how the young man came to have it in his possession.
Superintendent Stephen Grieve said Gayfield station had seen some unusual items handed in such as mortar shells and bullets, but added: "It’s not often you get someone coming in with a grenade."
Mr Grieve said immigration officials at Schiphol Airport were alerted about the couple.
"Carrying those kinds of items and then giving them to complete strangers isn’t something that you do in the normal course of the day.
"I’m sure the young man realised he couldn’t take it on to the plane and we alerted the immigration officials in Amsterdam purely as a precautionary measure."
Mr Grieve said the arrival of the taxi driver and the grenade had caused something of a stir at Gayfield. "It certainly woke up the early shift officers on duty," he said, but added: "I think the driver would have been better advised to have handed it in to a nearer police station."
A spokeswoman for the Army said: "The grenade was disposed of and is a civilian matter."
Dutch police said they received "literally hundreds of phone calls from all over the world informing us of such things". "
Now let's hear Aerialpingpong's explanation of this commotion and how I came to cause it:
I got married last Thursday at the Civic Centre in Newcastle Upon Tyne to my girlfriend of 1 1/2 yrs who was visiting me from San Diego. She had stayed with me for the past two months. We had a great time, and are now staying with relatives in Amsterdam to relax until we move to California. We flew from EDI to AMS on Easyjet.
I get a call yesterday from my sister's fiance. He'd gotten a panicky email from my friend Geoff aka 'Kudaytaa', a musician who I work with a lot on my Label and who Syd and I stayed with over the weekend in Edinburgh. He said he got a knock on the door about 3 hrs after we took our taxi to the airport to find a fully equipped Swat Team wanting to question him
Something about one of his friends tipping a taxi driver with a handgrenade!
Alright, the grenade was mine. In Newcastle I had a roommate who used to be with the British Army and had it as a 'souvenir'. This roommate decides to move out, and leaves his grenade out on the living room mantlepiece. Soon, it finds its way onto my bedroom bookshelf.
I invite my fiance to come stay with me for a few months from San Diego. She arrives, and a few weeks later a massive storm hits the Northeast causing structural damage to our roof. Water seeps into the electrical system and 'Bang!' out go our lights in a plum of smoke. Landlord comes round with a repairman. Repairman says that it would take just one decent gust of wind to take the whole roof off in its state. Considering we're in the attick apartment that would have been bad! So we move out in a hurry. We were planning on moving to the US in a matter of weeks anyway, since Mrs Aerialpingpong is expecting Aerialpingpong Jr. some time around September and she didn't trust the NHS with prenatal care.
As we're packing to go stay with a friend, the grenade inadvertantly ends up in one of our suitcases. Comes Sunday morning 3AM. We're in Edinburgh, consolidating our baggage (already 30 kilos over the limit). I'm in the kitchen getting some breakfast when out of the living room I hear 'Holy sh*t.....ehh....hun!!' I enter the living room where Syd is sitting on the floor having just pulled a handgrenade from one of the bags. 'You weren't planning on checking this in were you?!'.
Ok, here I am, taxi coming to pick us up shortly and I have a War relic I don't know what to do with. I can't take it on the plane with me, so I ask Geoff if he wouldn't mind babysitting it until we come visit the next time. He freaks and says that he doesn't want it in his house. It's harmless but if he's uncomfortable with it then that's fair enough. What to do, what to do?! Syd suggests either dumping it in the trash or burying it outside the building. Bad idea I thought. Imagine your cleaner person coming along and a handgrenade rolls from a trash bag. You'd really have a situation then!
Taxi comes round and I'm still clutching this handgrenade. So, in a last effort (or brainfade/stupidity), I ask the driver if he knows anybody who is interested in War memorabilia. He then asks what sort. I show him the grenade telling him that it was an old disarmed piece that belonged to a roommate which ended up in my luggage. Couldn't take it with me but thought it was a shame to throw away. Cab driver says he has a son who is a Territorial Army instructor who would be delighted with it. Cool, I thought, then at least somebody gets to enjoy it. And I thought that would be the end of it.
Anyhow, I get the phonecall and panic slightly. Here I am, planning to emigrate to the USA and about to be branded a potential terrorist!! I had nightmarish visions of a badly distorted facial shot of mine circulating on CNN and an International warrant for my arrest. Not a good thing when it comes to applying for a US-visa!! Ahem......
I call the police in Edinburgh who do not appear to be familiar with the story. I'm put through to one of the superintendents and explain the situation. He tells me it's not a big deal and not to worry about it. I also call up the Edinburgh airport police who tell me the same, nothing to be worried about.
Thought I'd share this with you. I have a history of getting into trouble a good bit and this was certainly keeping with tradition. Please let me know if any of you have heard anything else about this.
Aerialpingpong, writing from the Easyeverything internet cafe in Amsterdam