No place like it
even if it is, as my Mum would say, like Howden Fair today. This morning, I've greeted the pest controller, who came to deal with a swarm of cluster flies that took up residence in our loft and proved to be a nuisance whilst we were away. He set off smoke bombs that he feared would start a chorus of smoke alarms throughout the house (but thankfully, didn't!) That, coupled with a doorbell that seems to be stuck since the postman pressed it this morning has provided an interesting start to the day. Chiming every five minutes or so, the sound of the doorbell provokes the dilemma of whether to go to the door and be proved right that there is no one there, or whether to leave it and find out that there was and we missed them. Suddenly all those port lectures, game drives and trivia times seem to have been a lifetime ago.
We had a comfortable ride home, once we'd negotiated the enormous queues at OR Tambo airport in Johannesburg. The lines to access the security checkpoint were stationary, so much so that people were pushing past us to avoid missing their flights. That didn't exactly help to keep things moving. Once the floodgates were opened, the queue shuffled forwards at a glacial pace until coming to another standstill at the passport check. We joined a queue which did not move for fifteen minutes, only to watch as the clerk got up and walked away before we reached the head of it. Moving to another desk and joining the end of that line, we finally reached the front and greeted the young woman with an expression of relief. She replied that she had started work at 7am that morning (it was now 7.15pm) and had not moved from that chair since her break at 10.30am. Horrible, horrible place to transit and to work, it seems.
Thankfully, our trusty BA 747 was waiting and our favourite seats 61A and B were as comfortable as always. The new upgraded "White Company" bits and pieces are nice, especially the soft, large cotton pillow and duvet and the cosy woollen blanket. With a ten and a half hour flight ahead of us, we snuggled down and slept our way home.
It was strange to arrive back at Heathrow after such a long journey but no jet lag! Even stopping to do a little food shopping on the way home, we were back in Gloucestershire around 10am and ready to begin the challenge of getting back to normal.
The weather is horrible and even though we thought that we would return to find Spring had sprung, we were mistaken.
A few corners of the garden are doing their best to prove that yes, it's mid-April and nice weather will be with us soon, but so far, it's a struggle.
We've been slowly unpacking, keeping the washing machine busy and finding small treasures from the trip, including these packets of rum spices from La Reunion.
In a month or so, the reward will be ours, but in the meantime...
I have a hot date.
Thirty eight years ago today, we were married at St Johns, Newland in Hull. Which of us would ever have dreamed what life had in store for us?