Tuesday, 30 August 2011

A catalogue of errors (and a lovely holiday)

This year saw us going to Denmark for a family holiday.  The first as a mini family, without any aunts, uncles or grandparents.  It didn't always often go to plan but we did have a fabulous time.  Unfortunately, Pickle & Wotsit may have added a couple of words to their vocabulary that I'd rather they didn't know.

Incident 1 (oops)
2 weeks before we're due to leave, we start to get all the details together (flights, car hire, accommodation) - doing this 2 weeks prior to departure, for us, is the height of organisation.  We're staying at 3 different locations but unfortunately I can't find the details of our first stop.  I scour emails, websites and excel spreadsheets to no avail.  I remember remarking that the company hadn't taken payment at the time I booked and it doesn't take much to persuade me that I probably hadn't booked it all.  Still, I email a few people to see if they have my booking.  No joy.  So, I set about looking for alternatives.  I find a really great holiday resort that is fully booked and I'm gutted that I hadn't identified it first time around.  Anyway, I find an alternative and breath a sigh of relief. 

On our return home, I have a lovely answer machine message from a great holiday resort (namely the one I would have booked if it hadn't been fully booked when I looked at it) saying they hoped everything was okay but as we hadn't shown up for the first night, they were cancelling our booking...  That pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the holiday.  

Incident 2 (minor)
We're going away early on the Tuesday morning and we have to be at work on the Monday so we've booked the cat into the cattery from the Sunday.  We're also visiting my sister, 2 hours away, on the Sunday so we put the cat in the car as we leave to drop her off on the way.  We arrive at the cattery at 10.02 and I am pleased with my punctuality (I hate being late).  Only problem is we are actually 24hrs too early!  Although it would have been a great idea to drop her off on the Sunday, that's not what I'd arranged and the cattery can't take her until the next day.  This is the 3rd time we've tried to drop the cat off at the wrong time!  Hey ho.

Incident 3 (near disaster)
The night before we leave, the grandparents call to say they'll meet us at Gatwick to hand us some shorts they've bought for the boys that they want them to take on their summer holiday.  They live 45 minutes from the airport and we try to dissuade them.  We've packed and, what's more, we've not chosen Denmark for the weather.  But, once my mother-in-law's mind is made up, there's very little you can do to change it.  We concede. 

Our flight is at 08:45 the following morning from Gatwick.  Routeplanner says 1hr 17 minutes (on a clear run).  We need to be there approx 2 hours before take off so we leave at 05:45 (I know, it doesn't quite add up does it?).  Not only that but we haven't thought through which way we need to go around the M25 (we're roughly in the middle at the top and Gatwick is roughly in the middle at the bottom) and, I'm afraid to say, that clockwise wasn't a good choice!  We get stuck in traffic.  As gaps in the traffic permit, husband drives dangerously (and curses people in his way) and I am cross.

We arrive at the airport 35 minutes before take off and the only way we manage to catch the flight is due to my in-law's sweet talking the first class check in desk to fast track us.  (Thank you).  The good news is that I have no time to worry about the flight.

Incident 4 (could have been a lot worse)
We locate our hire car at Copenhagen airport and start our journey to Funen.  We've not gone too far (but far enough to be on a motorway) when we realise the child locks are not on.  We know this, of course, because Wotsit has opened his door.  Cue more swearing from my husband.  Disaster is averted as we're travelling at speed so the door doesn't open fully and I manage to put my hand behind me to keep it closed until we can pull over safely.

Incident 5 (sightly annoying)
We arrive at our first holiday house.  It looks nice (although incredibly close to a high speed train line, hence it's availability so late) but it's deserted with no sign of how we get in.  We wait for a bit before phoning the holiday company who say they sent us an email advising we needed to pick the keys up from a restaurant about 30 minutes away.  Oh yes, it's all coming back to me...

Incident 6 (potential to be the biggest error yet)
The first 10 days have been lovely and we're heading to Copenhagen for a final 3 nights.  We leave our second holiday home, drop the keys at the tourist office and head to the ferry port.  We check in there and we're in the queue waiting to board the ferry.  Which, thankfully, was a few minutes late.  I don't know what reminds me but I turn to my husband and say "I think I've left my purse in the house".  Reasonably tersely husband replies "do you want me to go back?".  I say no.  There's no money in it, I'll cancel my cards and hopefully someone will send it to me as it's a nice purse and has some personal effects in it.  And then I cry.  Monkey's 'children with disabilities' is still in my purse and I fear I might not get it back.  Husband softens and offers to turn back more gently.  It's fine, I sniff.  And then, two minutes later "I think the passports might be next to my purse".  Husband says nothing but pulls out of the queue.

We return to the tourist office, collect the keys, find the purse and the passports (and agree it wasn't completely my fault) and start all over again.

In conclusion:
We're very lucky!  Lots of near misses but no harm done.  Not even any financial penalties.  And we're still talking to each other!  We had a fabulous holiday.  Vikings, castles, Legoland, beautiful beaches, friendly people and beautiful children (most of the time), who (at 2 and 4) walked (mostly willingly) around a large part of Copenhagen, made up for all the incidents. 

Although I am slightly worried I may be losing my mind.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Time flies

It's been 4 years since Monkey died. I still miss him every day. In many ways I can't believe it's been 4 years and in other ways it seems like forever. I wish I could remember him better.  I wish it still hurt more so it felt real rather than a distant memory of someone else's life.

When Monkey died I promised I'd do something one day to honour his memory. Help some families in similar situations who could do with a hand in some way. I hope this doesn't sound like an excuse but I've been busy with Pickle & Wotsit but I've not forgotten that promise and I'm getting closer. 

I'm hoping to resign from my job in the next few weeks. It's probably a bit loopy to throw away a perfectly good job in the current economic climate but I'm going to do it anyway. The plan is to spend more time with Wotsit before he starts school - next September! - to work from home a couple of days a week and to start looking for useful things to do.

I love you Alex Monkey - you're still my inspiration.