he cast:

Me (Kev): 43. Thinking of changing my name to Nobody. After all, Nobody’s perfect.

Tam: 37. Wife, mother and brunt of most of my jokes.

India: 10 on holiday, now 11. Eldest daughter and mate.

Georgia: 8. Youngest daughter and second mate.

Julia: ?. Tam’s mother and first time Florida visitor. Will be referred to as Granny (J) in an attempt to avoid confusion with –

Dorothy: 76. My mum, hereafter referred to as Grandma (D).

If you want to know any more about us, then get and read the pre-trip report. You don’t expect me to work hard do you?

The big day has arrived. Both Tam and I wake up at 5:00AM. I think the older we get the younger we get. A loonnnggg day at work passes at the pace of a snail doing the backstroke through treacle. I attempt to use telekinesis to move the hands of the clock. I’m sure that I saw the minute hand tremble at one point, but it was probably just someone slamming a door.

Eventually I leave work early thanks to a great boss and return home for a quick shower and change before the van comes to take us to Kemble station. As there are 6 of us this year it is difficult to go up to the airport by car, so we have decided to let the train take the strain.

The journey from Kemble to Reading is uneventful. Changing trains at Reading is a bit of a pain as we have to move 6 suitcases and other assorted baggage (and I don’t mean the mothers) up and down a couple of flights of stairs to another platform. We clamber onto the train to Gatwick airport with barely two minutes to spare.
The train is a bit of a shock. It is really just a small commuter train and not designed to take 6 excited holidaymakers with luggage. Silly me, expecting a train going to an airport to have somewhere to put suitcases.
The Stringer family luggage has to stay by the doors, not helping the flow of people on and off the train. We do all manage to sit together in a crowded train, whereupon Tam produces food and drink for us all. A bottle of Cava for the ladies, beer for me, smoked salmon nibbles and Pringles. (Just to lower the tone.)
So, here we are, in a train full of tired, bored commuters, opening bottles of sparkling booze, handing round smoked salmon and generally making fools of ourselves.
I must admit that the overall tone is not helped when Kevin, on returning from checking the luggage, picks up his cup of beer only to deposit the contents all over his trousers. Riff raff eh?
I can’t think what some of the other passengers must make of us. Still, what the hell! I’m going on holiday.

2 hours after starting out we arrive at Gatwick airport.
From here we take the courtesy coach to the Travel Inn. Courtesy coach! Yeah Right! It costs 2 per adult and 1 per child to get to somewhere that is within a couple of hundred yards of the North terminal.

Apart from that the Travel Inn is pretty good value for money at 50 for a family room for us and the same for a double room for Granny(J) and Grandma(D).
A meal at the restaurant, while not cheap, is surprisingly reasonable, especially as Tammy’s meal comes after the rest as it has been forgotten and so they do not charge for it. Result! We’ll have a late meal every night if we get it free.

A couple of beers later, we head back to the room at 10:45PM for bed.

A nice start to the holiday. No major disasters, a reasonable meal and a few beers. What more could you ask for.