November 2021 – Home
I had seen that the Villa did not have anyone scheduled to come into it for another week and so had arranged a late check out for 3pm. This meant a very leisurely start to the last day.
I had managed to do most of my packing before Karen & Neil emerged from their slumbers and so decided to nip to the 'Five Below' store to replace a power bank I had managed to lose somewhere on this trip.
The rest of the morning we spent enjoying the blue sky and sun sitting by the pool. It was blissful.
We received a message from Barry confirming that they had now arrived home safely.
Finally, almost on the dot of 3pm we were ready to leave the Villa for the last time. As usual we left any unopened food for the cleaners. It is always difficult to judge in a villa how much of what you will need. This time we had got it almost right and there wasn’t too much waste.
As a final meal to Neil’s annoyance, we headed to Panera Bread for a late lunch. Neil & I had both had a Chicken Caesar Salad whilst Karen had an enormous Tuna Salad Roll.
Then after filling up with petrol, we headed back to the airport. The car drop off for our Terminal was tricky to find but we managed it.
Going into the departures area we first had to go through a check point for all our travel documents, including Vaccination certificates, and Passenger Locator Forms. The latter you could only complete 48 hours before your flight lands back in the UK. I had completed them the day before. However, as we were in the villa, I had not been able to print them off. Neil & I accessed ours on our phones. I had completed Karen’s for her. But every time I tried to access hers on my phone it redirected back to mine.
Now I must admit to having a mini meltdown trying to get it sorted as we were now holding up a queue of people. I switched to using Karen’s phone but had stored securely the required 14-character password on my phone and had no idea what it was. I had to request to reset the password and wait for the email on her phone before I could access the required form.
The morale of the story is even if you cannot print all the documents you need, make sure you save them to either the Apple Wallet or other storage on your phone.
After this there was no queue at bag drop but we did have a 15-minute wait going through security.
Karen got herself a final Starbucks whilst we sat at the gate waiting for the flight to board.
We were all on the plane in our middle row of 3 seats in good time. The pilot then announced there would be a short delay due to the fuel tanker breaking down behind us and that we had to wait till it could be removed. What we didn’t know was that the tanker had not actually been able to refuel the plane, so we then had to wait for another one to arrive. The second one did its job but didn’t have enough fuel on it, so we had to wait for a third.
It was 2 hours after we boarded that we finally pulled away from the gate. Karen was very agitated but as I kept pointing out there was nothing, we could do about it.
The flight was uneventful. I tried to watch a film but dozed off. The food was again poor, and I was glad I had eaten earlier in the day.
The pilot made up some time, but we still arrived 90 minutes late. There was quite a queue at immigration, but the queue kept moving all the time. Our bags were amongst the first off, the carousel and we called Sunny to arrange for him to bring our car back.
Heathrow has now introduced a £5 pick up charge and the pick-up point is now the 4th level of the short stay car park which is attached by a walkway to the terminal. We made our way there and after a few minutes were back in our car homeward bound.
Now our challenge was to get to the match at Carrow Road kicking off at 3pm. The flight delay had eaten our contingency to go home first, and it was even touch and go that if we went straight to the ground that we would make it for kick off.
The traffic didn’t exactly help but the sat nav was predicted we should just make it. I dropped Karen & Neil on Bracondale, and they made it to their seats with 10 minutes to spare. I managed to park on Scales Yard and got to my seat at 3.01pm very out of breath.
It was worth it as we beat Southampton 2-1 in the first game of Dean Smith’s reign.
We finally got home to a cold house at 6pm and unloaded the luggage. After a very quick meal, I was sound asleep in bed by 8.30pm. I was very pleased to be able to finally remove the travel stockings which were very tight on my legs having been on for 24 hours.
The next day despite jetlag we were up early to go to our appointments for our Booster jabs. This did mean that on the Monday we were not sure whether it was still the jetlag or the Booster jabs that made us feel like we had cotton wool heads for a few hours, but it soon passed.
And so that was it, our travels for the year over. It had been very different but under the circumstances I don’t think we had done too badly.
What the next 12 months will bring nobody knows but that is no different to normal. As I write this there is some ‘panic’ over a new variant of the virus. Governments around the world have in the past been accused of not acting quickly enough and so had no choice this time to be seen to be doing something quickly. Fingers crossed the new restrictions are only temporary although it can do no harm to tighten up on mask wearing. It is interesting that in Florida people were better at wearing masks in indoor situations than back here at the moment.
I can only offer this thought of hope. Major outbreaks of Flu over the past 100 years or so have all ended with the virus mutating to a version which is much milder but much more transmissible, meaning everyone gets it but it is just like a cold. Hopefully this is what is now happening with Covid.
Apart from that, this is the end of the blog for 2021. As before I intend to get this made into a hardback book for posterity purposes. Thanks for reading and all the kind feedback. Here’s looking to a safe and healthy 2022 for everyone.