I don’t know about you, but the school holiday/Christmas combo wore me out – if I’d propped my eyelids open with cocktail sticks, I would still have fallen asleep.
And as BB’s school goes back a week later than nearly every other school in the world, I decided to take him home to his grandparents in England so they could do some advanced babysitting.
So here we are – in chilly Surrey (it’s 7 degrees and I arrived in flip-flops!), having got here by the skin of our teeth.
Suffice to say, our tickets – which were meant to be confirmed, weren’t – so standby it was, again. We tried four different flights over 24 hours, which involved lots of waiting (and you know how painful this can be with a small child in tow – personally I’d rather sit on those cocktail sticks), plus trotting backwards and forwards to the airport in a taxi.
On day 1, after our first crack-of-dawn attempt to get away, the taxi driver didn’t quite get that all we’d achieved that morning was an airport breakfast, and from the yawning I was doing presumed we’d just got off an international flight. So I went along with it. Later that day, we had afternoon tea at the airport too.
On day 2, after an even earlier start, the boarding pass fairy smiled on us and, with less than 45 minutes until take-off, we set off on a high-speed chase through passports and security to the gate – me dragging BB and our bags along at speed past Dubai International’s endless bling bling stores.
The airplane, of course, was parked in the furthest-away spot, in the overflow parking by the airport fence, and we had to get to it by bus. As BB whined about how long the bus ride was taking – with eight hours of playing Tray Up/Tray Down, Light On/Light Off on the actual flight to go – my mood plummeted further.
The final hurdle was a seating problem. Having got the last two seats, BB and I were sitting in separate parts of the aircraft – and while I would have loved someone else, and even paid them good money, to sit next to him, this obviously wasn’t going to work. So I enlisted the help of a kindly cabin boy to ask passengers if they wouldn’t mind moving.
The shuffle that ensued resulted in a young man being left without a seat and, it was at this point, that my over-tired, over-active mind whirled into action, with visions of BB and I being deplaned.
“She doesn’t look like a terrorist,” I imagined the other passengers thinking, as I pictured us being marched off the aircraft. “Surely not with a child. Maybe they’re drug mules. No, the mother must be drunk. That’s it! She’s drunk – and in charge of a small boy! Disgraceful!”
Thankfully, my nice cabin boy returned and found the young man a seat – and we were on our way.
And so that’s how my relaxing break began. Just don’t get me started about the flight itself!