Back to Reality
Well, as you’ve probably guessed, we did make it back home safely last night, although, us being us, I wouldn’t exactly say we managed it smoothly…
The first stage of the journey went suspiciously well: after a couple of days of watching news reports depicting airports that looked a lot like refuge camps, we were totally amazed to find our flight was on time – in fact, I actually didn’t believe it until we were actually in the air. Let’s not even begin to talk about the preparations I’d made for the airport, which involved a complete change of clothes and several changes of underwear in my carry-on, plus, er, two coats and two thick cardigans, some of which I was actually wearing at the time, on account of having maxed out my luggage allowance: whoops.
(SO much fun going through security when you’re carrying or wearing almost the entire contents of your wardrobe: SO much fun…)
Anyway! We landed at Glasgow safely (“There’s freezing fog at Glasgow,” the pilot intoned solemnly, “so the autopilot will be landing us,” at which I instantly imagined the blow-up pilot from Airplane inflating and taking control of the plane….), and even managed to collect our luggage without becoming trapped in the airport for any great length of time. I knew it was all too good to be true, though, and that there was no possible way we’d get home without at least SOME drama, and, sure enough, when we got to the long-stay car park, where we’d left my car, we discovered that the brakes on the rear wheels had frozen solid, rendering the car un-drivable – a situation that had a strange air of inevitability about it.
Now, this is a little trick my car likes to keep up its sleeves and bring out on odd occasions, if it feels it isn’t getting enough attention from me. Normally the problem can be resolved by leaving the handbrake off and stepping really hard on the foot brake a couple of times, but not this time, obviously. No, this time the wheel was well and truly stuck, and when it had remained well and truly stuck for the best part of an hour, we decided it was time to call in the AA – and I refer here to the Automobile Association, not Alcoholics Anonymous, although who knows, if this weather continues, I may end up having to give them a quick call, too,
“No problem,” said the AA when Terry presented them with our tale of stuck-in-the-long-stay-car park woe, “Just remain inside the freezing cold car for two or three hours, and after that we’ll give you a call and let you know when we might be able to help you. Oh, and also: it may well take more than two or three hours. Happy Christmas!”
Well. Obviously this was not the homecoming we had anticipated. Or actually, no, it kind of WAS the homecoming I’d anticipated, to be honest: one of the good things about being a complete pessimist is that you DO occasionally find yourself in the happy position of being able to say “I told you so,” even if that does happen at the expense of your spending three hours in a car, in the snow. (The long-stay car park is a few miles from the airport, and, indeed, from civilization, so we couldn’t even go back there to join the other refugees holidaymakers). I’m not going to lie to you, readers: I may have had a small hissy fit at this point, as the irony of having made it all the way back from Tenerife only to be stuck for hours in a car park in Glasgow sunk in. I may also have begged Terry to walk back to the airport with me and book us onto the very first flight we could find to somewhere reasonably warm. “After all, we have all our summer stuff with us!” I reasoned, slightly hysterically.
It was not to be, though. Rather than just wait helplessly for the AA (and listen to me whining the whole time), Terry decided to pass the time by continuing to try and free the stuck wheel himself, and he eventually managed to do this, by spinning the car in what he called “doughnuts”, and what I called, “stupid-ass slidy circles” on the icy car park surface, me his helpless accomplice in the passenger seat. Finally, the wheel unlocked: we were on our way home…
And now, here we are. Although we’d left the heating on a timer, and Terry’s mum had come in that morning to start heating the place up for us, the house was still like the inside of a freezer, so we were forced to spend an uncomfortable night, both of us bundled up in as many layers as we could find, with Rubin (who we’d collected from my parents on the way home) draped over the top of us both, like a rug. We didn’t get much sleep. That whole “next available flight” plan is still sounding pretty good to me, to be completely honest.
Anyway, we’re not exactly thrilled to be back in the cold, but we’re looking forward to Christmas, and the holiday was so much fun it made every second of the travel drama (which really wasn’t so very dramatic at all, compared to what some people had to go through this week) worthwhile. So: what did I miss?