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2023 - November - Florida - Coming Home

I had managed to arrange a late check out from the villa out meaning we had all morning to chill and pack up before leaving just after 1pm for the drive to Tampa Airport. We planned to spend most of it by and in the pool. Sadly, the weather wasn’t cooperating, and it was overcast with occasional sprinkles of rain. We still sat outside though under cover.

It wasn’t until I started packing my case that I realised that we had probably been shopping too much as I had difficulty shutting my suitcase. It was mainly due to my new walking shoes that were bulky (a Skechers bargain on and a couple of large Christmas presents we were taking back. Of course, they had to fit in my case as there is never any room in Karen’s case for anything extra.

This time we had done quite well with not having to abandon too much food. There was just one beer, 2 cans of coke and some milk that we had to dispose of. The rest was dried stuff and packable in the new food cool bag we had purchased from Walmart.

There were 6 eggs left which Karen boiled and served as our lunch before we left.

Just after 1pm the car was packed, and we sadly pulled out of the drive for the last time. We could see the flight had been delayed by 25 minutes but decided to leave at the same time just in case it changed again.

The 70-mile drive to Tampa was horrible in terms of the heavy rain that seemed to follow us. I had a toilet stop halfway there and then just before the airport we filled the car up with petrol. Then we dropped off the car without incident. I had really liked the Kia Sportage and will certainly consider one when it comes to changing the bigger car at home.

There was no wait at check-in, and we were soon through security and headed to a café area near our gate. Neil got himself a Pizza and Karen got herself a Starbucks coffee. I made do with the last of the boiled eggs.

We boarded before Neil and sat waiting patiently for him to walk past. Coming back, we were in Premium Economy and looked enviously at the people turning left into Upper Class. This year Neil acknowledged us and gave us a smile. We raised our glasses of champagne that the lovely Stewardess had got us from Upper Class when she had run out of the cheaper Fizz.

The meal of Salmon was acceptable. I watched ‘A Christmas Story – Christmas’ before trying to get as much sleep as possible. As usual I dozed fitfully.

There was no queue at Immigration at Heathrow and ours bags were on the carousel quite quickly and it wasn’t a long wait until Ranjit on Sunny’s behalf brought out car around for us. Just about a hour after the plane had touched down we were heading home on the M25.

After dropping Neil off at his (that did seem strange) we went home to a cold house. Although we had remotely turned the heating on whilst at the airport it seemed to take more than 24 hours for the heat to get into the fabric of the house and for it to start feel warm.

We started unpacking immediately and then I ordered some Pizzas for delivery as Barry & Ellie said they would pop in after leaving their cats to the cattery before their own trip to Cyprus the next day. It was lovely to see them both along with Neil who popped back to see them as well. They could see we were both tired, so they didn’t stay too long.

And so that was it for another trip. We had a fabulous time with some real stand out highlights and are already looking forward to next year's Florida adventure. Neil had been great company and it had been a pleasure spending quality time with him again.

Then we were back into the whirlwind of trying to catch up with our lives at home. Karen has already been back at work for a few days with schools fighting for her services.

I spent more than 3 hours back in the Apple Store trying to sort out my ‘Friday’ phone. After going through many hoops, they eventually replaced the whole phone. Strangely (and touch wood) all the software and restoration errors seem to have been resolved and I now have a fully functioning phone. If only they had listened to me back in August, then I wouldn’t have had weeks of frustration, hours of time wasted but hopefully all’s well that ends well.

Work is now underway to rehost this blog’s website. Hopefully it will go smoothly and will be transparent to anyone looking at it (apart from being better designed). This has not been without several difficulties so far. My recommendation is not to start your first blog using Wix in the first place.

Finally, this week I received the compensation cheque from Homeserve. Not as much as I thought the issues, they caused deserved but better than nothing, and they covered the costs I incurred getting it resolved myself.

This is not the last blog of the year as we have one more trip. We are off to Pin Mill on a houseboat for the weekend in a week or so with some friends. There will be just one blog to cover this so be on standby.

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