1462-66: Special Birthday Home

1462-66:  80th Birthday Trip

Wednesday 4th-8th March 2020

I had a special reason to fly home … Mum’s 80th birthday celebration.  

I arrived late on Wednesday and left Sunday lunchtime … the days were packed.  As was the bag that I had checked into the hold with EasyJet.  I returned home with some thick woolies, Crete guide and walking books, Christmas decorations etc. On the return leg, I had to ring EasyJet to up the checked bag from 15-23kgs … I’d been a busy eBayer before I arrived and then had a day in Swindon outlet shopping centre and a mop up shopping session in Guildford. Plus various items I routed out from one of our storage places … the Aged P’s attic.  On the return leg, my bag weighed in at 22.7kgs (phew!) … my hand luggage rucksack was pretty heavy too!  And amazingly they did not charge me for increasing the booked weight.  They were, however, having to deal with quite a number of travellers whose hand luggage would not fit in the test frame … solution by one young man … wear and carry 3 fleeces so the bag would fit.  Other people were having luggage removed from their grasp … not sure if they had to pay.  

In fact the return flight was ‘interesting’ altogether.  Various people changed seats and were told off by the steward.  He was also unamused by the gloves worn by two elderly Greeks as he tried to explain that these would spread infection.  Someone else got into trouble for standing up to retrieve a bag from the overhead locker … just as we were coming into land.  But the piece de resistance was the departure from the plane (almost said the exiting the aircraft … but Dad would take issue with the Americanism!).  The loading bridge / walkway malfunctioned and the pilot informed us that despite 50 Greeks trying to get it to move to the plane doors, it would not budge.  We were all going to have to exit via the rear door and steps … BUT only in rows of 10 at a time to prevent all the passengers rushing to the back OR the plane would tip up!!!  They then decided to off load the luggage first.  

Maddy is on a new fitness regime and ran a 3 day bootcamp at her gym.  I did 3 days of arms, legs and HIIT, which I now know is High Intensity Interval Training.  I ache in lots of new places.  We both ‘acquired’ new fitness clothing in Swindon!

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I know why I was smiling.  I was on baby weights compare to Maddy.

I got to watch the England Wales rugby game in Twickenham.  Not at the stadium where the game was played, but at Gill’s house.  My best oldest friends (Poly days), Gill, Bron and Al met up and watched the game and then stuffed our faces … we’d all contributed a course.  Bron is a vocal Welsh lass, Gill, Al and I are English BUT the shame of it, Gordon, Gill’s husband, is a Scott and was very much supporting Wales!  Even James, who normally sides with the Celts, has finally realised that if he is married to an English lady and lived much of his life there, he ought to support England.  Much as we all appreciate each other’s husbands and offspring, it was really good to have an evening without them!

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An uninvited guest  he flies in daily for his supper. at Gill and Gordons.

On Sunday morning, before Maddy drove me to Gatwick, Dayna (Maddy’s bestie) and Mum Caroline (good friend of mine) came for a cooked breakfast .. we had 1.5 hours!  I really was packing it in.

Covid-19 … A few people were wearing face masks in the airport and on the flight, but they were noticeable for being in the absolute minority.  The UK has experienced supermarket shelves being emptied of toilet roll, pasta and hand sanitiser.  Not so in Greece, although on our return I did a minor stock up of tomatoes, frozen veg and a spare bag of toilet paper … you never know!  We can easily self isolate should the need arise.  

The main event was Mum’s 80th.  Maddy drove the Aged P’s and I up to Grosvenor Square to Tim’s London house, where we all met.  He, or rather wife Sarah, did us proud … champagne and canapés and they’d ordered 2 large cars to take us around the corner to the restaurant … the Boudin Blanc. We had a private room with a round table, so we could yell across it to each other without disturbing other tables.  Excellent food, efficient staff who seamlessly re-filled wine glasses … I slept in the back on the return.  A really lovely evening, with only one of Gran’s grandchildren missing (skiing).

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Im the middle generation. before the comments start that Mum looks younger than I!

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B-i-l Chris, Niecey, Mum, Tim and Zozo.

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Dad, Louis and Ellie.

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And James?  Someone had to hold the fort back in Porto Rasti … he looked after CO2.  

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