This was our last day in Spain and with a mid afternoon flight and all morning to get to Alicante we had planned for a relaxing morning and a leisurely drive back to the airport.
I couldn’t lie in of course because when I wake up it’s a bit like switching a light on – I simply cannot doze and think about it and I just have to be up and away and out in the sun. Tea on the terrace as usual and when Richard had joined me we finished off the last of the food and had a continental breakfast consisting of fruit, ham, cheese and yoghurt and after breakfast Richard set about cleaning the apartment from top to bottom in his usual thorough style.
I do confess to feeling a bit guilty as I sat on the patio but I did make the occasional helpful contribution but Richard was in full Mrs Mop mode and was cleaning furiously and I couldn’t match his impressive productivity. I packed my bags and tidied my bedroom as best I could in the certain knowledge that there would be a full-scale military style inspection any time soon. When the place had reached the required standard of cleanliness Richard made a last trip to the rubbish bins and the recycling centre and I went back to my seat on the terrace and breathed a sigh of relief. The challenge now of course was not too make any more mess in the last two hours at the apartment.
There was some activity in the garden and some important looking people seemed to be assembling. Ah yes, the Annual General Meeting of the Neighbourhood Association. Pete from next door was there looking all self important and the man from across the way who had challenged us on the first day and two other people who obviously represented the Las Ramblas estate management company.
I couldn’t imagine that they could possibly have had a very big agenda but the meeting went on for nearly an hour with a full inspection of the garden and furious note scribbling to record their conversation. I wonder what momentous decisions they made? We were unlikely to find out because they kept well away from our side of the garden and nodded and gestured as they whispered in a conspiratorial style well out of earshot of a couple of non-owners! After a while the two visitors left and the two owners lingered in deep discussion, probably comparing the size of their patios and bragging off about property values and then they went their separate ways and both marched off in a self important manner.
The morning passed quickly after that and after Richard made a final inspection to see if he had missed anything and after satisfying himself that there was no further cleaning to be done we loaded the car, locked up and set off for the airport.
We had judged our timing to absolute perfection so there was plenty of time to stop off in San Miguel and find a supermarket for some duty free purchases and we drove into the town and found a couple of promising looking shops. And it was then that I had that awful sinking feeling when you just know that you have forgotten something. Where was my mobile phone? I ransacked my pockets and my bag but I knew that it was useless of course because it was a certainty that I had left it behind in the apartment. Oh bugger! I gave Richard the bad news and then there was nothing for it but to go all the way back to retrieve it, a round trip journey of forty minutes that was likely to destroy our meticulous planning. Back at the apartment, sure enough, there it was, on the dining room table where I had put it in full view so that I could be sure that I wouldn’t forget it.
This unscheduled interruption to our itinerary transformed our planned gentle drive into a frantic dash. It was all my fault of course but Richard has enormous amounts of patience and although he was probably thinking ‘what a complete pillock!’ he was nothing less than thoroughly supportive as I drove with frazzled nerves back through San Miguel (and I didn’t think that I would be doing that again today) and then on to the motorway system and off to Alicanté hopefully before the check-in desk closed.
There were miles of road works of course and a lot of midday traffic and we had to stop for fuel but despite all this we arrived at the airport with time to spare just as Richard had confidently predicted throughout the entire journey.
The first part of check-in was relatively easy except that I nearly forgot about returning the car keys and Richard had to remind me as we stood in the queue. This involved two trips to the Hertz desk because on the first one I forgot the documentation and was sent back. Annoying therefore that when I returned the second time and after waiting for an ice age for someone to complete what looked like a very simple clerical operation was informed that I didn’t really need it after all!
Then we were sent off to a separate office to pay the excess daylight robbery charge for our golf clubs. There were two men in the queue making flight availability enquiries and the clerk was dealing with it at the speed of a forming stalactite and Richard could sense that this was taking my patience levels back into the red zone so with the skill of a master magician he produced two plastic beakers and a bottle of beer and this was enough to take me back down to only yellow alert status. The two men finished their enquiry and faced with a choice of options had a bit of a debate and decided not to bother, what the….? Richard poured me some more beer. Whilst waiting for eternity I almost made the need for the mad dash back for the mobile phone irrelevant because I decided to drop it onto the tiled floor where it fell apart in two spectacular pieces.
Panic over we went through to the departure gate and after a short wait at the departure gate we were on the plane, a bit of a delay to begin with, the safety lecture, take off, two-for-one gin and tonics for me and a snooze for Richard and very soon we were back in a very wet and windy Birmingham which compared most unfavourably with the weather we had left behind in Spain. Never mind, there is always another year….!