We were deciding where to go for our summer holiday (vacation) and Youngest Child pipes up with “as this is probably the last time I’ll come on holiday with you guys [she goes to university in September – when did she get old enough to go to university?] can we go somewhere special – like abroad?”. Just to make sure we knew what she meant by “abroad” she added “that’s somewhere overseas where they don’t speak English as a first language”.
I suggested the Isle of Wight or Wales but she said “no, both criteria - not one or the other”
“yeah, but we have to go in school holidays and they really spike the prices in school holidays” I protested. But then Mrs. Barefoot came in with “she will have worked hard for her A-Levels; she deserves a treat”.
I wanted to suggest that maybe we should wait for the A-Level results before distributing treats, but the look on Mrs Barefoot’s and Youngest Child’s faces showed I was fighting a losing battle.
So I spent an evening doing a lot of research, and eventually found that with a bit of creative accounting (like missing out most of the costs) we could have five nights in Barcelona, for not much more than a week in a yurt in the Lake District (which we did last year). I called Youngest Child down from her room to check that this meets with her approval.
“Are you ok if you share a room with us?” I asked.
“I don’t mind,” she replied, “but can you two cope with sharing a room with me?”
She is so not a typical teenager. In the yurt last year, she frequently exclaimed “this is so cool”, and wasn’t bothered that the single-room layout gave no privacy. Last night she was eating a chocolate bar while watching TV. When she went to bed, she got anxious that she couldn’t find the wrapper to put in the bin (it had fallen on the floor and I’d picked it up). Most teenagers don’t even know there is a bin. She also doesn’t use a phone, doesn’t do social media, and insists on having a family meal with no TV or music, “so we can have a conversation”.
Anyway, back to the holiday. Booked and paid and then this big banner came across the scene “you come back to the UK to a different airport than you leave from”. I had been so focussed on getting an evening flight to give us an extra day in Barcelona, I hadn’t paid much attention to where the flight was going. We leave from London Luton and come back to London Gatwick.
In case you are not sure of the location of London airports, let me explain that Gatwick is about 25 miles south of London and Luton is so far north it can in no sense be accurately described as “London”.
So, another two hours on the internet trying to find the best way to resolve this slight cockup on the booking front. Eventually I had all the pieces of the jigsaw in place. Drive to Gatwick the day before the flight; leave the car there and get a coach to Luton. Stay overnight. Job done – with an extra £60 for the coach and £70 for the hotel. I can do travel agenting, me.