Having gone no further than the south of France a la voiture famille, I decided it was time to catapult our sons into the world of high flying and go a little further afield albeit still in Europe.
I also wanted guaranteed warmth and sunshine, so sunny southern Spain was the answer.
From the moment the decision had been made we would be flying this time, our sons became exhausted with excitement, recalling scenes from Home Alone, imagining where they might end up.
As the departure date neared, I concluded it was I who was the suffering from nerves, imagining what might or might not happen and suffering great angst over what would become of our sons should we lose them at the airport.
We then went through the inevitable “how many more days now/how long will it take/how do we reach the plane/can I take this on the plane?” Then came the offer to help pack but my helpful son, having filled one of the two cases with his belongings, but with 75% of our clothes still sitting silently on the bed, I quickly found something more exciting for him to do.
The plan was simple, pack ready to go by 11.00am; leisurely drive up to Gatwick; watch the planes; stay overnight in hotel; wake refreshed in the morning for 7.55am flight.
Would have worked well BC (before children) and pre work pressures, but with these additional elements, our journey started around 12.30 with everyone in a bad mood.
I hoped this wasn’t setting the holiday scene to come!
At last we arrived at the airport already weary from travel. Suffice to say, the rest of that night and into the early hours of the morning, were disastrous with very little in the way of sleep!
An early 4.30am start; we managed to go through the first stage of hand luggage check-in before the airport fire alarm system rang out.
I’m pleased to report the entire airport population of (mostly British) happy holiday makers did what they do best – stood around awaiting direction; and that was the problem – there was no direction. We couldn’t see the emergency exit and there was a distinct lack of officialdom around to help.
So, like the sheep we are, everyone followed the crowd to what appeared to be the most likely escape from the possible devouring flames of an airport fire.
I could write chapter and verse on the next stage, but it’s too boring and predictable.
So with agitated children and even more exasperated adults, we finally made our way to gate 210.
We eventually made our way onto the Easy Jet flight and settled in our seats – so much for paying extra for speedy boarding, children are not allowed to sit in seats near the doors, so our hoped for leg room journey disappeared.
Safety belt sign lights up, pre-flight checks (the hostess was so disinterested and obviously bored that her actions were out of kilter with the pre-recorded message) that no one takes any notice of; taxi to the runway. Then the engines begin to roar; louder and louder; the plane vibrates from the effort to break free; then suddenly the pilot takes his foot off the brake and zoom, we’re off the starting block.
The speed along with my son’s excitement soon builds; faster and faster; the runway rushing by; then that moment when the front wheels lift off the ground to be followed soon after by the rear wheels; our stomaches drop as the plane climbs up, up and away!
The whole concept of flying never ceases to amaze me, just how that pile of heavy metal manages to get off the ground and stay air born is nothing less than remarkable.
But my sheer exhilaration of the whole event was met with a mediocre shrug from my eldest son. Talk about over estimating your child’s response!
The flight was normal, nothing really worth reporting. We landed and collected our hire car and made our way to our home for the next seven days.
The directions from the agent were useless, so thank goodness for GPS!
The villa was an immediate hit and before the two very heavy suitcases had found their way into the rooms, both sons were in the pool shrieking with delight.
We had arrived at our Spanish villa, now to start with the other usual holiday problems……