DAY 1 - TUESDAY 17TH OCTOBER

Woohoo! The start of another holiday!

Tam must be excited as she is up at 5.30am. I manage to stay in bed until the normal rising time of 7.15am. It’s off for a normal day at work, at least until 3.15pm when we leave early to get home and throw the suitcases in the car. This is easier said than done and there are a good few muttered swear words as I try to fit 3 very bulging suitcases into 1 small car alongside the 4 occupants. With this conundrum solved we are on the road at 4.10pm and on the way to Gatwick.

The journey is pretty uneventful apart from the usual nose to tail traffic on the M25. Georgia is particularly incensed by a driver of a 4x4 texting on his phone while he drives. A career in the police force lies ahead for the girl I believe.

Around 6.45pm we pull into the Summer Special car park at Gatwick, which is costing a very reasonable 60 for 18 days. Mind you, I would like to have sat in on the meeting where they decided what to name this particular facility. I suspect some illegal substances may have been involved or at least copious amounts of alcohol.
‘What shall we call this place where you can park your car during any season of the year?’
‘Let’s call it Summer Special Parking’.
‘Righteous, dude’.

Car parked, cases in the bus and we are off to the Sofitel to meet up with Deb and Matt who left an hour before us and are now on their second drink at the bar.
Straight into the brasserie style restaurant as we are all starving and some of us (i.e. me) are more than a little thirsty. We’ve eaten here a few times before and the food is reasonable if a little pricey. Matt spends a considerable time before plumping for the burger. Sorry – Aberdeen Angus Beef Pattie. Give it up Matt, we all knew it was a done deal as soon as you saw the menu. If it contains cow, Matt is eating it.

We are all excited about the holiday and Georgia is doubly excited, as it is her 13th birthday tomorrow.
After the meal we retire to India and Georgia’s room (they have there own room this trip as the Sofitel couldn’t find us a family room) as we have learned our lesson from previous trips regarding the exceptionally high prices in the bar and have brought beer and wine to sustain us for the evening. It’s class all the way when you’re on holiday with the Stringers and Churchills.

Things are going exceedingly well as discussion takes place regarding the forthcoming holiday. It all starts to go wrong when Matt spills a few drops of wine on his shirt, but Tam comes to the rescue with a magic tube of stain remover. Back to the conversation and happy thoughts until Deb (who is lying on Georgia’s bed) spills a larger quantity of red wine over the bed and her blouse. Out comes the magic tube and the dabbing goes into overdrive. This is all well and good until Deb discovers that she has spent 5 minutes trying to remove a mole! (Of the skin blemish type, not the burrowing furry animal).
Not to be outdone Tam manages to deposit half a glass of wine onto her skirt. The magic tube appears again (the poor little beggar must be on overtime by now) but attempts at stain removal are thwarted when it is discovered that Deb has broken the end off the tube. Sometimes I wonder just what the heck I am doing with this group of reprobates. Our only defence is that alcohol had been consumed. To give credit to India and Georgia they are the ones looking at the adults and wondering if the ages have somehow miraculously been reversed during the evening. They have a point.

I also learned a new language today. I think it’s called ‘teenager’. India was removing her makeup and accidentally put some of the lotion in her eye, at which point she exclaimed ‘My lord, that canes like a badger’. I believe a rough translation to be ‘I say, that stings somewhat’.

Around 11.00pm there is very little wine left, most of it having been deposited on clothing and bed linen, so Deb and Matt leave for their room.
A most satisfactory, if somewhat juvenile, start to what promises to be an amazing holiday.

 

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