Ups and downs during journey to Spain

Joanne and us_edited

Lisa and I made our final farewell to North Wales on Saturday evening with a meal at the Paanshee Bengali restaurant in Prestatyn. We were delighted to be joined by Joanne Jones with whom we have become friends since meeting at MS Synergy. Thanks to Faruk Miah and his colleagues for yet another great meal and thank you, Jo, for being there.

Sunday started early when the wake-up call at Clayton’s Hotel, Manchester Airport, came through at 3.45am. Lisa and I got out of bed and made ourselves ready to catch the 4.30am shuttle to Terminal One.

We stopped first at the assistance reception. I was in my own wheelchair but Lisa had hurt her leg and was given an airport wheelchair.

Our Easy Jet flight to Alicante was due to take off at 6.40am and, usually, you can spend a great deal of time checking in and getting through security. This time, though, nothing could have been easier and left plenty of time to eat a good breakfast before boarding our plane.

By the time it came to board, it was wet and very windy – and that’s when we realised that we had left Lisa’s jacket in the hotel where we had stayed in Llandudno on Friday night. Too late! However, we boarded quickly and the aircraft was quite warm, so no harm done.

Arriving in Alicante, we were met by two assistants who quickly passed us through passport control, which was not staffed, recovered our luggage and we were soon in the public part of the terminal; neither of us noticed any customs area.

Gaining our hire car was next but this meant a delay as Goldcar had the most customers, probably because it had the best deal when we booked. The company has a new system for customers who had pre-booked – no need to line up, just tap a touch screen, gain a ticket and wait for your number to be displayed. Some people, mainly my fellow Brits, said they would complain about the long delays supposedly caused by the waiting system.

When I finished the transaction, one woman asked me if I complained, to which I replied: “No, there’s nothing to complain about.” You see, while Goldcar did contribute to the length of its own queue/line by having the best deal; the waiting time was not made any worse by that. It is just queue management, for the benefit of the customers. My only suggestion to Goldcar would be to put a notice about the ticket system at the start of the company’s area, not just by the touch screen on the counter. As it was, word got to newcomers by word of mouth.

Anyway, armed with car keys and papers we did not have long to wait for our wheelchair pushers to reappear. We set off for the car park and had left the terminal heading for the car park when I saw Lisa’s wheelchair catch a clearly visible ridge at the top of a dropped kerb. The chair jammed suddenly and Lisa was thrown forward into the roadway; thankfully there was no traffic there. She already had a painful leg, now she hurt in more places but hopefully nothing more serious than that. It took four people to help Lisa back into the chair and many apologies from the pusher who did not take sufficient care in his work and was negligent towards the well=being of someone in his care. It was an ‘accident’ but it was completely avoidable.

The drive from the airport to our new home was more or less uneventful. Well, apart from my legs giving way as I went down two steps quicker than intended having just stopped for coffee. Four Guardia Civil traffic officers ran to my aid and two of them helped me to my feet.  Lisa explained I have Esclerosis Multiple and they watched as I returned to the car without further incident.

Oh, almost forgot, weather here is warm and sunny.


It never rains but it ….. drips

757 iceland

A drip of liquid falling on my face, awaking we with a start. I looked up but saw nothing. I glanced around briefly but, again, nothing. So I settled back down to grab some more sleep. Then, drip, it happened again.

This time, I was wide awake and studied the area  immediately above me, where I saw a drip forming and growing larger. I also discovered that the shoulder of my shirt, close to the neck, was quite wet from previous drips that had missed my face and so did not wake me.

Realising that something was amiss, and that an as yet unidentified liquid should not be falling inside the passenger compartment of a Boeing 757 flying at more than 35,000 feet, I pressed the button to call a flight attendant. Nothing happened, so I called again to be rewarded with the arrival of a member of the Icelandair cabin crew.

She was more than a little surprised by what was happening. She wiped the liquid away and then investigated the contents of the overhead luggage locker, where she found another passenger’s water bottle – a leaking water bottle. Well, at least it was only water, so no harm done and it was easily poured away.

Having wiped both the inside and outside of the luggage locker, all was well. Drip. Not again! This time it was water that had originally escaped, got into some nooks and crannies and was now reaching the dripping point. Liberal quantities of paper napkins squeezed into every crevice may not have been an attractive sight but they were effective.

Regular readers of this blog will have guessed that this flight was one of two Lisa and I took to return from our transatlantic cruise and holiday in the USA.

We landed at Manchester at 10.30am on Friday 13th (no wonder I was dripped on) and after a half-hour delay as a technical fault prevented the opening of the forward hold (see, Friday 13th again), we picked up our hire car.

Having driven to Llandudno and checked into a cat-friendly hotel, we picked up Pooka and Prissy from the cattery and we last night shared our hotel room with them.

Saturday morning is time to say another temporary goodbye to them as our girls are being picked up by pet transportation specialists. Armed with pet passports, they will head for Kent where they will stay overnight before going through the Channel Tunnel and make an overnight stop in France. The next day they will continue into Spain00000. They will be meeting up with us again very late Monday evening, maybe after midnight so technically Tuesday.

Having waved goodbye to the kids on Saturday morning, Lisa and I have decided to bid our farewell to Wales with an early evening meal at our favourite curry restaurant, the Paanshee in Prestatyn. Then we have to return the hire car before spending our last night in the UK in a hotel close to Manchester Airport from where our flight is due to take off at 6.40 on Sunday morning.

We have heard that the adaptions being carried out to our new home in Spain, to make it better for me, are one or two days behind schedule and we may need to stay close by until then. A temporary property has been arranged for us. It is likely that we’ll be in our own home on Wednesday.

Watch this space for further updates.