It was becoming apparent I was a bit of a jinx where holidays were concerned. While it was bad enough wondering whether I would make our Caribbean holiday, another holiday was also beginning to look a bit uncertain. I’d booked a further two holidays while laid up, determined to make the most of my available time. The latest booking was to Australia, a bit of a dream since my retirement in 2012, but it had always seemed a journey too far for my other half. Until this accident. In a moment of weakness strengthened, I suspect, by sympathy he finally relented agreeing at last we could go to Australia!
I didn’t need telling twice and immediately sent for the brochure expecting to make a hasty booking before he changed his mind. It was not unusual to be reserving another holiday before we left on the current one and, although usually meticulous, haste was a key factor in the uncertainty that was now unfolding. Notwithstanding this, and before the jinx element of this story can be realised, there’s another holiday drama which plays directly into this story and the emerging uncertainty for our Australian trip.
It happened last year when we went to Florida with our daughter and her family. We had two weeks in a villa experiencing the most wonderful sights of Disney through the eyes of our grandchildren. Our daughter and son-in-law took full advantage of the on-hand baby sitters having time to explore the adult aspects of the parks. After a full two week break we were due to fly home on Bastille Day; the 14 July.
As we approached the last few days of our holiday we painstakingly planned our final schedule to allow everyone the opportunity to do exactly what they wanted and still leave ample time to prepare for going home on Saturday. On the Friday, my daughter and her husband elected for a date day at Universal Studio while we remained at the villa with the kids to make a start on the packing. I dropped them off glibly telling them to take as long as they liked and enjoy their day.
I arrived back at the villa around noon. The kids wanted to get in the pool but papa had kept them waiting till I returned. This epitomises his cautious nature; he thrives on preparation and planning, nothing spontaneous, he does not do surprises. Despite the delay and now the rain we all got in the pool where much fun and hilarity ensued. I made lunch about 1, then put the youngest for a nap while the mermaid and her papa went back in for a swim.
A few texts back and forth between my daughter and I established that the kids were fine and that they should relax, have a great time and stay out as long as they liked. I was truly an earth mother; equal measures of satisfaction and magnanimity emanating from my selfless actions which had ensured everyone was happy. Saturated with smugness I wanted my son to share in this rare display of earth motherliness and experience this aura of happiness and calm I had created, so I face-timed him and his wife whilst leisurely laying at the pool.
After this I quickly glanced at a few Facebook posts, an almost automatic reaction before putting the phone down, only to immediately pull it back into my face when a reference to Bastille Day flickered across my screen. I’m smart enough to know that is on the 14 July and that realisation suddenly caused a nauseaous bile, propelled by panic, to flood into my throat. I glanced at my husband and the mermaid frolicking in the pool and snuck unnoticed into the villa.
A quick look at my emails identified a flashing red reminder from British Airways. I clicked on the link fearing the worst and to my horror confirmed I had to check in immediately-my flight was leaving in 2 hours. Trying to contain my panic I was also fast forwarding the events about to unfold as I tentatively walked back to the pool side to ‘surprise’ my better half “You’re not going to like this………….”