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2022 - October - Florida

Let it never be said, the romance is dead.

Cause there’s so little else, occupying my head.

It has been only 13 short days since arriving home from our anniversary cruise and we find ourselves back in the air again for our much anticipated second trip of the year to Florida. This time we are extra excited as we will be joined by Barry & Ellie as well as Neil. They are flying out next weekend.

The 13 days at home has only seen Karen & I both at home for a whole evening together once. It has been a whirlwind but really of our own making. We could have simply not gone to some events or simply said we were too busy to do some things – but No, Life is for Living.

So, in that short time:

- Karen has worked 5 days

- I have been to a home and away football match

- We have been to the Theatre

- We have been out together for meals with friends and family twice

- I have hosted my friend from Brentwood for the day

- I have played Golf twice

- We have eaten out with friends separately 3 times

- I cut and then seeded the lawns

- We had a take away with Barry & Ellie and Neil

- We used the Hot Tub 8 times before I spent an afternoon emptying and cleaning it

And we wouldn’t have it any other way. We enjoyed all of these (apart from Norwich losing).

That’s on top of getting all the washing done from the cruise and repacked again.

The biggest drain on our time though has been sorting and clearing out of Karen’s Mum’s bungalow. There haven’t been any days where we haven’t either spent time there or visiting her in the care home. The bungalow is now looking much clearer and tidier thanks to the supreme efforts from Karen and Maureen who very kindly volunteered to help as much as possible.

All this against a backdrop of more political turmoil with the car crash that has been Liz Truss. Words just fail me. I always want to believe these people know what they are talking about (apart from Nicola Sturgeon) but she was so out of her depth. It was like the kids had taken over the asylum whereas we needed grown-ups. What this has shown to me again is that whatever party is in power the leader must be able to lead, must be able to handle difficult interviews, have integrity, have a grasp of what is going on and know what the general public are thinking and feeling. Let’s hope the Conservative party made a wiser choice this time by the time we land.

So, onto the travel day. Alarm went off at 6am and we set off at 7am. I had one cup of tea before leaving, not a good decision as I ended up having to have 3 toilet stops during the journey to Heathrow. Not sure whether I accidently made it using caffeinated tea bags but it was a real nuisance. As was a detour we were taken on through deepest Suffolk around Newmarket to avoid some hold up on the A11. Still, we made it to Heathrow T5 on time where Sunny was waiting to take the car away for us.

Check in was not as quick as normal as although there were plenty of desks open, they were all slow. Security was quite quick though which made up for it.

We made our way to the end of the terminal to the Club Aspire Lounge which was full so we joined a virtual queue online. Whilst waiting we walked to the other end of the terminal to the Plaza Lounge and joined a physical queue there to get in. Just as we got to the desk, we got a message to say we could now get in the other lounge but decided to stay where we were. Bad decison. The lounge did have a good view but that was it. The hot food was all Indian food which neither of us like. We ended up with bread and cheese with pastries. Even the tea wasn’t great and they wanted to charge me extra for a pink gin and tonic so we had normal ones instead.

We passed an hour in there before going to our gate. Karen said that she messaged her ‘3’ children and that she wasn’t surprised that only 2 of them had responded straight away as normal.

As we approached the gate, Karen was delighted to be told we could get on straight away because she had her sling on. She said it was the only good thing that had happened in connection with her arm.

As it turned out it didn’t really matter as the plane was only half full. I watched the Leo Grande film followed by The Phantom of the Open both of which I enjoyed and then the new Jurassic film which was about 45 minutes too long.

The food was not great as usual.

We flew into the newly opened Terminal C at Orlando Airport. It was a long walk to the Baggage Claim which interestingly came before Immigration. I think process wise that is a good thing as it spaces people out as their luggage arrives. Typically, mine was almost last off. It amused me that the luggage marked as priority were amongst those last off as well.

We were waived straight through the Immigration Global Entry line as we had input our details into the machine whilst waiting for our cases.

Then in an enormous backward step we were told we now had to catch a shuttle bus to get to the car rental counters at Terminal B. Bad enough at the best of times, but even worse when Karen only has one arm. Eventually the coach filled up and we were driven to Terminal B.

Here we joined a very long and very slow-moving queue at the Dollar Rental desks. When eventually after 45 minutes we got to the desk they claimed we had booked the car with no insurance which I didn’t even know was possible to do. Something else I need to go back and check, but we had no option but to pay the charge for now.

Then unbelievably we were told the cars were at Terminal A meaning another long walk with me having to manoeuvre the large cases for us. It did allow us to pick up the Visitors Toll Pass though en route.

We chose the first car we came to in the appropriate row – a Ford Escape. Despite being told we would be lucky to get one case in the boot as part of the usual upsell we had ignored; I knew we would easily fit ours and eventually Neil’s luggage in it. Some 2 ½ hours after landing we were finally in the car.

The drive to Daytona Beach Shores was uneventful in the dark and after almost 90 minutes we arrived at the Holiday Inn Express. The room was fine but must be almost due a refurbishment. After taking time to sort ourselves out we were in bed at 10.30pm Florida time – 3.30am UK time, and very tired.

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