Farewell Spain, Hello UK and Grenada

Dick and Irene Craig
Mon 5 Dec 2011 22:10

Richard had to get up before he went to bed; travelling from Javea and refilling his car

en-route. I met him at the bottom of the lane where I had just deposited the rubbish in the big green basura, about 7.50. The morning suggested that it was going to be another lovely day as we drove to Alicante airport, where we had coffee and croissants as we waited for our flight to Gatwick.

What a busy time we had while in the UK.

Having pre-booked a car on-line, we were disappointed that we had to collect it from the Holiday Inn, off-site from the airport. We eventually found the appropriate bus-stop and the bus duly arrived charging us for the privilege, despite our confirmation slip stating that there would be no charge. Even when we showed the driver the form, he still refused to refund the money so full marks to the hire company who refunded the money without a quibble. Hopefully they have since been recompensed, having paid a blanket sum up front to cover the cost of the journey for their customers.

Dick dropped me off at a pub in Ifield at 2pm, while he went to collect John. The pub only served lunch until 2.15 so we scraped in by the skin of our teeth.

We left one of our bags at John’s house and had intended to pick up a hard drive which we had left there when we returned to Spain. Unfortunately, in our haste to get to Hampshire for the family birthday party of Dick’s younger grandson Milo, we left the hard drive at the bottom of the stairs.

Naomi was suffering from a virus which Milo had passed on to her and was bed ridden. The birthday boy nonetheless had a brilliant time, even though he was still suffering from the bug and giving his parents sleepless nights.

Next day we collected some bits for the boat and visited Frank and Jean who made us very welcome, as always. My fleece, which I had inadvertently left at his sister’s house in the summer, was neatly folded on a chair in our bedroom. They had been to Suffolk after our visit and had kindly brought the garment back with them.

Saturday, we drove to St. Katherine’s Dock, via John’s house, where we picked up the hard drive, to take it to Rob and Cath, friends we had made when we all took part in the EMYR during 2008. They also have a Lagoon 440 which will remain in London over the winter. Rob is a whiz IT man and if anyone can crack the problem with not being able to access the files on the drive, then he can.

Coincidentally, while there, we unexpectedly met up with Ginger and Dick, another couple who took part in the EMYR in 2008 and whom we had met previously while the boat was kept at Marmaris, Turkey. They so love the UK and St. Katherine’s dock that they plan to be around those parts for some time.

After a late lunch we drove back down the M3 to Basingstoke to stay overnight with our dear old friends, Jan and Henry who beat us rotten that evening after supper, when we played Rubber Bridge.

Sunday, we were back again with Ed and Naomi, to spend a family day with them. That afternoon they were attending a memorial service at a local hospice, where Naomi’s Mother had spent the last part of her life, so of course we went along with them. It was quite startling to hear that during the months of July and August, over 100 people, associated with this hospice, had died.

Monday night we stayed with John and next morning drove to the house in Benfleet, where my Mother had lived for forty years, where the family and friends of my Mother were congregating, prior to joining the funeral cortège, which was due to leave at noon. Over a dozen cars, all with their headlights on, followed the hearse as it made its way to Pitsea and Basildon crematorium which Mother had planned and my sister April and her husband John, had organized. I wondered if the cars and vans which forced their way into the cortège, were aware that they were joining a funeral procession.

That evening we stayed with Caroline, a friend who had joined us for the EMYR in 2008 and subsequently came with us from Greece to Venice and Croatia in 2009. She has a huge house in Colchester which, when we last saw her in August, had been covered by scaffolding which was no longer there, all the exterior works having been completed.

The last night we stayed again with John. He and Dick both drove to the Holiday Inn to return the hire car and then John drove both of them back home where they collected me and we all went out for a delicious curry.

All of us were up before the larks next morning and John dropped us at the airport at 7am.

Before handing over the luggage, we went to the Customs office to put into motion a claim for a VAT rebate on items we had bought in the UK and which we were taking back to the boat.

With no time for breakfast, or even a snack, we passed through to the departure lounge. My carry-on bag was sent down a conveyor for luggage which needed further investigation. It seems that my alarm clock was near to an orange plastic toy which I was taking to Antigua for my grand daughter; the combination is apparently very suspect.

The plane was over an hour late taking off; the luggage for the folk traveling to Tobago had been loaded before the luggage for the passengers traveling to Grenada. As the plane stops at the former island before flying on to the latter island, the luggage had to be unloaded and then reloaded correctly.

I sat next to a guy who told me that he was of West Indian parentage but was born in the UK and lived in Shepherds Bush. He didn’t stop talking for the entire journey, other than when he dropped off briefly in what was possibly a drunken stupor. He had imbibed several glasses of wine as well as brandy, compliments of the airline. Subsequently, he consumed two bottles of red wine which he had purchased from the duty free shop. He managed to pour a whole glass of wine over my left shoe, as well as splashing my clothes constantly with red wine. He apologized continuously for his behavior but didn’t change it. Not a person to suffer from headaches generally, I was soon in severe pain.

Once the passengers from Tobago had got off the plane, we were able to move to the row in front. This was probably when the airline staff noticed that this guy was drunk, as he lay on his back along the row, now vacant except for him, kicking his legs in the air. A steward warned him that his behavior was inappropriate and then a stewardess told him that it was illegal for a passenger to be on the plane in an inebriated state. We and the people in the row behind him were moved to different seats and a stewardess sat in the aisle seat on his row, to ensure that he behaved himself. When we reached Grenada, he was escorted off the plane. He had told me that he had an onward flight booked for Cariacao but it looked as if he had been refused permission to board because he was behaving very badly and shouting until two airport police told him to leave the airport.

It took ages to get through passport control but because we had items to declare and went to the red channel, we were out of the airport before most of the other passengers who went through the green channel. A driver had already brought the necessary documents for us, duly stamped, so we were soon on our way to the hotel where we checked in, had a meal and a very early night.