The alarm was set for 03.00, a time when I am often up and about but of course, because I had to get up at that ungodly hour, I could have slept for another six hours. Ah well, such is life!
Garrath was in his usual, relaxed traveller mode – not! Honestly he would have us at the airport the day before the flight if he could get away with it. As it was I ignored his high-anxiety haranguing, posted photos on ePHOTOzine, bathed and got ready in a very relaxed manner and was still ready fifteen minutes before the taxi arrived at 05.00.
The trip to the airport in the cab was good preparation for the flight because the driver was definitely in low flying mode. If you want to know which speed cameras are live and which are dummies, just get in a private hire vehicle. Those drivers know every single one and whenever they change them word goes round the private hire community in minutes. I have been in a cab when a radio message came through warning the drivers of a change.
Low flying mode aside, the driver was skilful and courteous and he got us to the airport in one piece. We were shocked at how busy it was. Several flights going out early morning meant that we had to join a very long queue to check in our suitcase, great material for my illustrated verses.
Getting through security was a game and a half. For whatever reason the guy on the scanner decided that my camera gear was suspicious so the bag had to be emptied, closely examined, rescanned and the bag repacked. Beware fellow EPZ-ers, The Canon 5D mark 2 and accompanying lenses are deeply suspicious. Nikon aficionados may be considered low risk, model citizens but we Canon users are potential terrorists. I think the clue is in the name!
Back to material for my illustrated verses, I have remarked many times before about people’s holiday wear and their behaviour when travelling but goodness me, what are they thinking? Most notable this time were the woman with HUGE feet drawing attention to them by wearing bright iridescent pumps covered in pearlescent sequins and the loudmouth Yummy Mummy who maintained a relentless, squawking dialogue with her daughter, both of whom screamed incredibly loudly with affected excitement when using the hand drier in the Ladies. It was all about attention seeking. I am guessing that the only remarkable thing that Yummy mummy has done in her life is have that daughter and she uses her to take centre stage – LOUDLY! I issued the atheist equivalent of a prayer that she would not be on our flight and thankfully, my prayer was answered. I pity the poor souls living and holidaying at their destination though. They will be irritated by Monday, deaf by Wednesday and homicidal by Thursday.
Earwigging is always a good way to alleviate boredom when in a long queue and I did lots of that. I had to really concentrate though because loudmouth Yummy Mummy was just in front of us. Immediately behind us was a couple who were indulging in England’s favourite pastime – moaning! Being in the long queue prompted them to recall every long queue they had ever been in, every bad airport experience that had ever had. I swear, it moaning were and Olympic sport, we would always win the gold medal. Sadly, because they were strangers I could not intervene with one of my favourite sarcastic quips,
“It is being so cheerful that keeps you going,” so instead I started to formulate words in my head for a new verse about moaners. Here it is –
I really can’t stand whiners,
Whingers drive me nuts
They complain about a matter
But won’t get off their butts
To do something about it
And get the problem sorted,
And if you offer them advice,
It is always thwarted.
They wallow in their misery,
They enjoy bitches and moans,
They share them if you’re near them,
If not they use their phones,
Or text to share their whining,
Or e-mails or a letter,
I really wish they’d occupy
Themselves with something better.
I have started telling whiners
“If you’re not prepared
To do something about it,
Keep your moany tales unaired.
Don’t give me all this ear ache,
Don’t bitch and moan to me,
Because I’m not prepared to listen to
I hear much less from whiners,
I think I drive them nuts
When I tell them that it’s time to
Get off their lazy butts,
Do something about it,
And get the problem sorted,
By giving them this sound advice,
Their endless moaning’s thwarted.
For the very first time we were at the front of the queue at the boarding gate and first on the plane. How we managed that I know not but it made finding seats and stowing hand baggage very easy. The waiting on the plane wasn’t too bad and take off was a breeze. Having seen some of the morbidly obese passengers in the queue I was very pleasantly surprised and greatly relieved to be sitting next to a slender, very nice lady. I recall with horror the journey spent next to a twenty stone monster with poor hygiene and the bladder capacity of a toddler. Ugh! Thank goodness we always choose aisle seats.
The flight was, as usual, boooooooooooooring, only punctuated by the trolley dollies serving food and drink then the same trolley dollies selling in flight goods. I refuse to comply with their description ‘Duty Free’ because it isn’t when you travel within the EU. Usually we pass on buying such goods but gadgetry always appeals so a memory addition widget for our iPhones could not be resisted. Neither could a perfume presented in a household cleaner spray style bottle. I don’t care if the perfume is crap, I just love visual wit. Remember, there are no pockets in shrouds!
Sadly there was only one memory addition widget for our iPhones on board so we will have to try and buy another on the journey back. If that isn’t successful, then the good old Internet will come to the rescue. Once a widget has been desired it must be had in our household!
Landing at Alicante followed quite a long time of being stacked over the sea, was a little bumpy on approach due to strong head winds but was fairly uneventful otherwise. Unusually we got a gate that was near baggage handling so no long trek needed. Our suitcase came (eventually) so we trolled off to find the shuttle bus to the Victoria car hire firm. While we were waiting another couple came to wait at the same stand. They were English, very sniffy and obviously considered themselves superior. They arrived at the stand well after we did but when the shuttle bus came they shoved past and loaded their baggage first. When we got to the car hire depot, again they shoved past and got to the desk first as if it was their right to do so. When they had completed their transactions they headed to the car that they had hired – to our amusement it was the smallest, cheapest car that Victoria hire out. I shall always remember them as Lord and Lady Snooty-Cheapskate!
The car hire official was pleased to tell us that we had been upgraded to an Opel Astra at no extra cost. After our experience of the gearbox in the last Opel we hired we expressed our disappointment so bless them, they reverted us to the Peugot 308 that we had asked for. It was exactly the same one as last time and true to form, it had the same, self depressing accelerator pedal, so we got to Calpé in a breath.
Opening up the house was quick and simple, then it was down to Calpé to find lunch at our favourite good value restaurant. As ever I didn’t realise that I was hungry until I started eating (a strange legacy from a strange childhood) but I did and consumed the repast with gusto. For the main course I had beef liver. I don’t like liver in the UK but the way that the Spanish cook it a la plancha makes it tender, succulent and delicious. I can’t have their chips because they fry floured foods in the same fryer so they always do verduras a la plancha for me and the plancha transforms thin slices of courgette and aubergine into something magical. I even got to have a dessert, arroz con leche y canela (rice pudding with cinnamon.) Again I can’t stand rice pudding at home but here they serve it ice cold and it is lovely. (Hot rice pudding, yuk!)
The arroz con leche y canela got me thinking. Who, in dim and distant pre history, thought of taking tree bark and adding it to food? Are we descended from tree nibblers? Come to think of it, who thought that digging up tubers and eating them was a good idea? Whatever possessed somebody to take grass seeds, grind them between stones, add water, leave the mix to ferment then add more ground up grass seeds, maul it around a bit then bake it? I could go on ——- and on ——- and on, but I won’t and you get the idea.
After lunch we went to the most coeliac friendly supermarket on the planet, Mercadona, to get in essential supplies. Essentially these were breakfast foods because Garrath has declared it a no cooking holiday for me so we will lunch out every day. Inevitably there will be jam and chutney making from the over full freezer, but other that that, no cooking. Whoopee do!
Back home to unload, plus a ten minute snooze for me, then you will never guess what we did next and where we are now. We walked down to the local where Garrath is enjoying a beer and I am being abstemiously saintly consuming only tea and water. Panic not readers, this won’t last. I can hear a gin and tonic calling to me!