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2023 - April - Villa stay - Travel Home

The last day blues. I am not sure how to prevent it. Once I am up, I just want to flick a switch and be home. Time travel is what I need. Sounds like a good idea as well for either a TV series or film.

Today in theory should be like an extra day on holiday. We had arranged the early flight home at 5pm and a late checkout of the villa, meaning that we could go straight from one to the other. But.

It was though the day that some Theatre Royal tickets were being released at 10am UK time for some shows we wanted to see yet were only willing to pay for cheap seats. So, I thought it would be a good idea to set my alarm for 4.50am ET time. Not only would I then be able to get the tickets but I would be suitably tired by getting up early that I would easily fall asleep on the flight home.

However I didn’t manage to get the tickets we wanted and had an email row with the Theatre about that fact later. It seemed that despite them sending an email stating 10am UK time they meant 11am by which time I had given up thinking they had all been sold out. I told them I was not impressed.

For our last day the weather was suitably dull. It was still warm but murky clouds lingered overhead. We had all the time in the world to get ready and so did so in bits and pieces. The saying goes that if you want something done quickly ask a busy person and that applied to us as we leisurely lazed by the pool. Karen was still slightly late as she underestimated how long it would take to dry her hair.

Just after 1pm the car was packed, and we left the lovely villa for the last time. It had been far too large for the 2 of us and so we had loads of space. It had 4 bedrooms, 3 of which we hadn’t been in at all. Yet it only had 2 bathrooms which we had thought would not have been enough if all the rooms had been occupied. The location had been perfect. Westward facing and not overlooked.

Anyhow in the car I realised that I hadn’t resolved the issue of how to pay for any road tolls and so had to set Waze to avoid them. It added another 12 minutes to our journey and set us a tortuous route as opposed to the easy way to the airport. I must remember next time to have a Toll plan for when we don’t pick up the car from Orlando (where we can get the Toll Visitors pass).

We arrived at Terminal C at exactly 2pm and were relieved that the car rental return at the new terminal was open meaning we didn’t have to get a shuttle. There was no queue at the check in desk and being TSA approved no queue for us at the dedicated security line where we were even told to not take anything out of our bags which made it much easier.

From there we hot footed it to the Lounge. The free champagne was good. The food wasn’t. But we had comfortable seats and whiled away the time. On the airport information boards the flight was showing to be on time, but Google was showing a 30 minute delay as the incoming plane had arrived late. We decided to go the gates on time and Google was as always correct as although never mentioned at the gate, boarding didn’t start until 30 minutes after it should have.

For this flight we had enough airmails to book Club World. This gives you a nice flatbed to use. The service was good. Karen tried to watch a film, but I made my seat into a bed as soon as I had eaten my meal. The meal was presented very nicely but looked better than it tasted.

The early morning start coupled with taking a Melatonin tablet meant I managed to get a few hours sleep. It was not the deep sleep I needed but enough to get me through the drive home.

At Gatwick we were almost the first off the plane and started the long walk to immigration. I was concerned by the number of other people arriving on other flights heading in the same direction and feared long queues.

There were none and again we got straight through. Our bags were off before Karen had re-joined me at the carousel after a toilet stop and so we headed out to call our Car Parking man. He said he was already halfway to the airport to pick us up and by the time we reached the meeting point he was there waiting. A swift 5 minutes in his taxi and we were back at our car getting set for the drive home.

Everything had been so smooth so far.

Just before the Dartford Tunnel an overhead sign informed us that the M11 was shut for the weekend. I just thought I would take the A12 instead. The next overhead sign informed us (at the same time as traffic news on the radio) that the A12 had severe problems and to avoid that as well. We just wanted to get home.

After much swearing, I decided that I would head round to the A1 instead and go via Royston. It added miles to the journey and about another 30 minutes but at least we would keep moving. As it was once finally onto the A11 we heard the M25 we had just been along had closed for another accident as well.

We had one quick stop at Greggs and Starbucks on the A11, as much to use the toilet as anything and finally got home about 11.40am, to find our Close had had the road resurfaced in our absence.

I could also see that the lawns had gone wild and were the longest I had ever seen. A combination of the Feed/Weed and seed I had put on before leaving coupled with presumably perfect weather conditions for growing.

There was a surprisingly large amount of post waiting for us but lots of that was local election bumf which went straight into the bin.

And so, our 28th trip to Florida was over with just the credit card bill to pay. We had had a lovely time and as we say to each ‘had done somethings’. The 29th trip is already booked for November, It is also only 8 days to our next adventure which is a golfing trip to Portugal so a quick turnaround is needed. The blog will be back soon!

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