It should’ve been plane and simple…

A few months ago my wife and I flew to the Spanish island of Majorca [or ‘Mallorca’] to attend my brother’s wedding. Well, it was also because we felt we had too much money in our bank account and a few grand just needed to go.

Majorca was such a close destination when I lived in the UK, and would entail a 3 hour flight and about 150 quid1 per person. From Las Vegas it was a 26 hour relay race of flights and fuckwits that cost around 2000 bucks2 per person.

Not the same.

Not even close.

Anyway, we couldn’t NOT go, so off we went. However, it wasn’t a journey we are ever likely to forget because so much went wrong.

(Whispers) SO much!

So come with me as I walk you through the levels of hell that Dante forgot about, and see just how undivine this comedy was.

Before I continue, I feel the need to introduce you to the concept of the ‘airport zombie’. These infuriating creatures are not dissimilar to the train zombies I used to write about so much, except these ones are dumber, slower and are found exclusively at airports.

Obviously.

These are people who choose to suddenly stop dead in their tracks so you have to do a weird little dance to avoid walking straight into the back of them. They turn in random directions without warning, shuffle around at the speed of stop, and generally show no sense of urgency as they meander about with their gaping faceholes open, sucking up all the oxygen and joy in the world.

So, back to our comedy.

It all started with our flight from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. This flight was very important because we would only have about 90 minutes at Los Angeles airport to connect with the crucial long haul international flight to Madrid.

So, naturally, it was delayed.

By 50 fucking minutes.

Oh, wait, no it was 30 minutes.

Wait, wait, my mistake…..45 minutes.

Nope, 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Hang on, hang on…..50 minutes.

Sigh, I love airports.

This wasn’t a stressful start to the trip at all. In addition, there was NOWHERE airside at Las Vegas airport to change our currency from Dollars to Euros in the 50/30/45/80/50 minutes we suddenly had available to us. I mean, why would there be? After all, who needs to change currencies at an airport, of all places?

I later discovered there is a teeny tiny Bureau De Change by the arrivals gate…..landside! So you can change money when you fly into Las Vegas, but not when you fly out.

Regardless, once we arrived in Los Angeles we had to get to Tom Bradley International Terminal. The problem was, Tom Brady International Terminal was a clear 30 minutes away, and we had 20 minutes before our connecting flight departed.

Needless to say, we had to run.

Actually, it was more like a slalom because of all the fucking airport zombies.

I think my wife decapitated one of them with her handbag [purse]. She denies it to this day, but I know what I saw.

So proud of her.

So much blood.

Anyway, we finally made it – panting and sweating – to Ted Bundy International Terminal and joined the queue of shuffling airport zombies boarding the flight; we’d made it!

Still nowhere to change our money though. Just thought i’d mention that.

It was at this point that a couple with two young children had a ‘moment’ where one of their little darlings fell off her pushchair [stroller], hit her head on the floor, and then decided to scream blue bloody murder until the paramedics arrived on bicycles, halting the boarding of our flight.

I’m still not sure why boarding was stopped. They weren’t even in the queue for our flight!

Anyway, after putting an ice pack on the little cherub’s head and calming down her parents (who were being SO dramatic and somehow blaming everything BUT their child to the point where you’d have thought she had been shot3), we were allowed to continue boarding our flight.

Despite the failed acrobatics of the pint-sized twat of a banshee, our flight departed on time and I settled into my seat to read Ernest Cline’s bestseller, ‘Ready Player One’. I was excited because I LOVE the movie and was looking forward to finding out how much it differed from the book.

(Side note: It was a LOT different to the movie but I love them both for different reasons. Anyway, this isn’t a book review site, so I shall continue…)

No sooner had I opened the book, than the guy in front of me put his seat right back and put an end to it. Thankfully it was an 11 hour flight and our seats didn’t recline because we were in the last row at the back of the plane section.

We arrived in Madrid almost an hour late and we had about 30 minutes to reach our connecting flight. The word ‘run’ became very commonplace with my wife and I by the end of this journey.

So did did the words ‘Get out of the way’, and ‘Fuck’.

We managed to FINALLY get off the plane after about 6 hours of waiting for more zombies to s-l-o-w-l-y pull their bags out of the overhead bins, and began the next leg of our run along the skybridge to the terminal. This was accompanied by shouts of ‘EXCUSE ME!’ and ‘SORRY, COMING THROUGH!’ from my wife and I, which parted most passengers, er, I mean zombies, like the red sea as we bolted along the narrow, enclosed walkway like a pair of deranged Moseses (Mosi?).

(shrugs)

Anyway, halfway along the skybridge we encountered two guys who were shuffling along at the speed of backwards, side by side and reluctant to move out of our way.

We KNOW they knew we were approaching because there was NO way they couldn’t hear us running up behind them, Moses-ing our way through the other considerate passengers who appreciated the stress and urgency of having to make a connecting flight.

My wife was able to get around them but, being a bigger guy, I lightly brushed one of these bell ends’ arm as I slipped past.

I didn’t think anything of it and continued running, until I heard one of them mutter something behind me.

Now, regular readers of my blog will know that I tend to internalise rage and frustration and then vent it all on here, instead of unleashing a verbal tirade at the person in the moment…but not this time; not after the flight we’d just had with 11 hours of non-reclining seats, no legroom and the inability to read my book.

I stopped in my tracks, whipped around and shouted “Well fucking MOVE then!” to the twat who was pointing to his arm and saying something in Spanish. I had literally brushed his arm with the lightest of lightest touches.

Being English, I would’ve normally apologised, but this time I wish i’d ripped his arm off so I had something to beat him with.

He tried to argue back, but a) I was bigger than him, and b)…..actually, a) was enough.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter. He’s a poo head. Let’s move on.

Passport control at Madrid was a joke, with no discernible queues [lines] and no decent signage. Thankfully we weren’t all sweaty, irritable and hot. I asked one of the employees (I use the term VERY loosely) if she could get us to the front because we now had 20 minutes to catch our flight, and there were around 150 people in front of us.

She looked at me with her dead eyes and uttered the one word that soon became synonymous with Spain; “No”.

I pleaded with her, but she just looked at me deadpan and repeated that word again and again. Annoyingly, while we were ‘talking’, two guys pushed past us, ducked under the multitude of ropes holding back the zombies and went straight to the front and through passport control.

I pointed at the guys who had the sense to ask forgiveness than permission and said, “Hey, look! They just did it!”, but this prize winning jobsworth just looked at them, then back at me, shrugged, and said….

Well, you know what she said.

So we waited….and we waited….and finally made it through passport control.

This was followed by more running.

So much running.

We had about 8 minutes left.

We made it to the domestic departure terminal and…..no screens. We couldn’t find anything displaying flights, times, gates or anything. Plenty of stores and zombies, but no screens. With no airport staff available to shrug and tell us ‘No’, we asked the closest store clerk where the departure information was, and she pointed to the ceiling, showing a huge 50ft wide screen with flight information.

OK, so this isn’t the EXACT one, but it gives you an idea of how it looked…

‘What a great idea!’ I thought, until I realised that they were only using 30% of the screen, and they had important, time sensitive flight information displayed on a slow….rotating….basis….

Screen 1 of 5…..
Screen 2 of 5…..
Screen 3 of 5…..

OH COME ON!!!!!

Screen 4 of 5….

Yes, that’s our informa…

Screen 5 of 5…..

Wait, what? The screen info was on there for literally 3 seconds!

This was so frustrating because the remaining 70% of screen real estate was taken up with stupid animations of paper aeroplanes and fish in a pond. It was the biggest waste of space I’ve ever seen. Up until then, the record had been held by that prick on the skybridge.

After the departure information had scrolled through another 10 screens, we were able to glimpse our flight and gate number and continue our run.

There was STILL nowhere to change our currency by the way.

We finally made it onto our final flight, coughing and wheezing like a fat guy in a gym, and arrived in Majorca a couple of hours later.

But the adventure didn’t end there. Oh, no it didn’t….

While we waited for our baggage, I decided to try and find somewhere to change up our money because, weirdly, Spain doesn’t tend to accept US Dollars.

I found a currency exchange booth and, luckily, there was no-one in it. It looked open for business, but the person was either out to lunch, on a break or maybe they had gone home? Who knows?

After 10 minutes of over-the-top neck craning and other movements that suggested I was keen to change money, a young woman appeared with a coffee in her hand and a uniform that matched the booth. Awesome.

She looked over at me standing there and shot me a knowing wink as she slowly moseyed over to the booth and entering through the unlocked door. I should’ve done that myself.

She put down her coffee, calmly sat herself down behind the desk, and then smiled and asked if she could help me.

No apology, you’ll notice.

I wanted to sarcastically ask her for a Big Mac, fries and a large drink…but I didn’t want to risk pissing off the ONE and ONLY currency exchange employee I’d seen in the last 5800 miles.

As we were staying with family, we only took $700 with us, so I handed it over and she told me that all she could do was give me a 500 Euro note (as that was “all they had”) and some loose change; she didn’t have anything smaller, apparently.

What if I’d wanted to change a smaller amount of money?

Anyway, being fatigued and not wanting to argue, I agreed and went back to my wife who was waiting for our luggage.

But she wasn’t there…..because neither was our luggage. It was lost.

Great.

She’d been told to check a different baggage carousel, but guess what? Yep, it wasn’t there either.

Perfect.

I went over to the Iberia airline desk and told them the exciting news. They didn’t appear to be surprised at all as they handed me a form to fill out. They told me that IF it turns up, they will deliver it the next day.

We’ll see.

Thankfully that suitcase didn’t have all of our clothing (including wedding attire), toiletries, swimwear, and gifts for our nieces because that would’ve been disastrous.

However, at this point we had been travelling for almost 24 hours, so I just wanted to pick up our car hire and get through the one hour drive to the villa where our family was waiting for us.

So we took the vague instructions given to us by the car hire company and went looking for them. They were going to be at a small desk at the entrance to the car park [parking lot] on the 4th floor. Easy.

It took us about 30 minutes to find the area, and when we did…there was no sign of them or their small desk.

Now what?

Then I had a thought, ‘My family who had come from the UK had used the same car hire company, so why not use the airport wifi to call them and see if they can give us better directions?’

Genius.

No signal in the car park, naturally.

So, it was a 10 minute walk back to the airport to get a signal.

As soon as we had the vaguest of signals, we called our family and they gave us completely different directions. We followed those and another 10 minutes later we were at a completely different place with no car hire company representative, or desk, or anything.

We went BACK to the airport to try and call them again, but the wifi was so ropey that it was virtually impossible to talk to them.

Bear in mind, it was about the temperature of the sun with over 300% humidity and we had been awake for almost 24hrs, so we were feeling pretty good about all this.

Finally we asked an airport trolley attendant and he pointed us in the right direction…which was the same fucking place we went to in the first place; the 4th floor of the parking lot. However, this time we had the added bonus of being told to “look for a blue shirt”.

We saw the representative in a blue shirt – who had been waiting for us the whole time – and made a bee line for their desk. Well, actually, it was more of a shelf than a desk. I can’t fathom how we missed it before! Maybe their fucking instructions should fucking include to ‘look for a blue {fucking) shirt’?

Or, maybe assume the couple standing there, looking around like idiots, are your customers and maybe ask if they’re picking up a car?

No?

Common sense not on the agenda?

Maybe it was the lack of suitcase that confused them.

Anyway, by this time we’d been running around for an hour and exhaustion was slowly starting to seep in, so we filled in the paperwork, were handed the keys to the car, and given the parking ticket to exit the airport.

Yes, we were responsible for paying the parking charges.

Sigh, fine. Can we just go?

So we went down the escalators to the 3rd floor where the car was located, and found the car park ticket machine. I put the ticket in the slot followed by my credit card.

The machine didn’t accept my credit card.

I tried it again. Same result.

I tried a different credit card. Same result.

So we went back up the escalators to the 4th floor, and back to the car hire desk, er, I mean shelf.

We were told to use a different machine on another floor which took change. Thankfully we had a little bit of change because I suspected the machine wouldn’t take a 500 Euro note.

We paid the ticket fee and took the escalators back to the 3rd floor to locate our car. Luckily the row numbers were painted in a very light, translucent yellow paint on the white walls of the car park, so it was really challenging to find our car. What fun!

But, after about 15 minutes, we found it.

So far it had been an hour and a half since we exited the airport.

We loaded up the car with, oh, wait…that’s right, no luggage.

We got in the car, I inserted the key in the ignition and turned it.

Nothing happened.

The car wouldn’t start.

I tried again…..nothing.

So, with rage in my heart, I left my wife in the car and headed back to the 3rd floor shelf. Apparently you need to hold the clutch down WHILE you turn the key. This is a new thing for cars in Europe and maybe, just maybe it would’ve been nice to TELL US THIS….along with ‘look for a blue shirt’.

So I headed back to the car, started it and drove to the villa…26 hours after checking in at Las Vegas airport. Ironically, the part of the journey I thought would be a challenge, wasn’t.

The next morning, as you can imagine, we had to buy some temporary clothes while we waited for our luggage to arrive, so we headed into the tourist area of town to find something cheap and cheerful. But guess what? Yes, that’s right, nowhere would accept a 500 Euro note, so it turned out we had too much money to shop there.

Not to worry, a local bank will change our money.

Nope. They wouldn’t change our money either as it was 11:38am when we got to the bank and they only perform banking transactions between 8am and 11am. At least, I think that’s what the woman in the bank was tersely barking at me in Spanish.

Then why…..THE FUCK…..were they still open? We would’ve offered to go back the next day, but it was the weekend and they would be closed.

Woo hoo!

So we had to borrow money from family, who had less money on them than we did! Worryingly, we couldn’t even put fuel in the car!

We did eventually get the money changed at a local hotel the next day, and I shed a small tear.

But there is a silver lining to this tale (well, more of a brown one); our suitcase finally arrived….the day after the wedding.

So that was nice.

1 – Slang for Pounds, like ‘Bucks’
2 – Slang for Dollars, like ‘Quid’
3 – It can be arranged

ShoSho-wing too much

This weekend my wife and I took a road trip to northern Nevada.  It was awesome and NOT the basis of today’s blog…don’t worry.  This isn’t a travel blog after all; I only write about shit that either A) happens to me, B) pisses me off, or C) has a combination of A and B.

There are a lot of C’s in this blog, I can tell you.

(insert smirky face here)

Anyway, back to my reason for today’s post.  On the way back from the land of fucking nothing for miles and miles, we detoured to a natural warm spring in Duckwater.

duckwater-hot-spring

This warm spring has been referred to as the largest in the United States and is located on land owned by the Shoshone Indian tribe.

In essence, this place is in the middle of fucking NOWHERE.

After turning off the main highway, it was another million miles along a road that I can only describe as the beginning of almost every horror movie ever.  This was followed by a gravel ‘road’ that eventually led to the warm springs and the need for repair to the underside of your car.

We didn’t see another vehicle in either direction for almost an hour.  Not one.  I was genuinely fucking scared.

Here are the warm springs on Google maps.

 

Zoom out. Seriously, do it.

Do you see just how much ‘fuck all’ there is around?

I wasn’t joking when I say we saw NO-ONE!

As we parked up in the completely desolate parking lot (or ‘area of gravel’), another car suddenly pulled up next to us.  Wait, what?  Where did they come from?

Out of the car jumped two young ladies who, it soon became abundantly clear, were more than just friends. I was a little bit disappointed at their arrival because I was looking forward to romantically dipping in the warm spring with my wife.  It wasn’t a huge ask, considering the fact it was in the middle of buttfuck nowhere and had taken us an hour and a half out of our way, but that’s fine.  No, really, it’s FINE!

I shot my wife a look that said “For fuck’s sake!” while our new friends chattered to each other as they merrily collected their shit from their car and joyfully trotted to the water’s edge.

Oh well, it was what it was.  To be honest, it was still lovely. My wife and I had a bit of a swim, joined by our friends (who aren’t just friends) and we even had a bit of a laugh and joke with them.  I couldn’t really be a complete dick about them being there too because, after all, we were also interrupting their romantic warm spring dip.

After half an hour or so my wife and I decided to get out as we had a 4 hour drive back to Vegas.  We picked up our stuff by the side of the springs and walked back to the car, dripping sacred Shoshone water all over sacred Shoshone land.  When we got to the car I looked around and saw nothing was coming from miles around; no glint of vehicle metal on the horizon and no dust clouds in their wake.  I glanced back at the springs and our new friends were still swimming and chatting in the water.

“I’m going to change back into my clothes here”, I said to my wife, as I couldn’t be arsed to traipse back to the restroom (wooden hut) to change out of my wet swim shorts.

My wife looked around and agreed it made sense.  Besides, I could hide behind the car door, away from the prying eyes of two young women who really had no interest in my penis anyway.

Behind me was just desert as far as the eye could see.  I was good to go.

So I gripped the elastic waistband and dropped my shorts to the ground in one rapid movement.  This was no easy feat considering they were soaked through and sticking to me like a Jewish mother.

It was quite nice to feel the cool Nevadan breeze tickle my untickled areas.

As I stood up, miraculously one of the girls was out of the water rummaging through their belongings, 10 feet away from my manhood swinging1 freely in the breeze!  I dropped to a half squat position behind the car door quicker than if I’d been swiftly kicked in the nuts.  I was almost uppercutted by the door.

Is uppercutted a word?  Meh, it’ll do.

I couldn’t believe this girl had decided that NOW was the time she needed her phone, cigarettes, rubber fist or whatever.

My wife was in bits with laughter.

I decided to sit inside the car and remove the rest of my shorts and in no time I was completely naked, in the middle of sacred Shoshone Indian country.

At this point my wife said, though stifled laughter “Oh, I don’t believe it.”

“What?”, I barked?

She pointed behind me and attempted some words that failed her.  I turned and looked through the car windows and, sure enough, there was another car trundling down the gravel road towards us.

ohcomeon

They were greeted by me, sat there, door open, naked and wet.

Enjoy your swim.

 

 

1 Who am I kidding?

mario-shrink

Wishing the Mile High Club was an actual bat!

A week or so ago my wife and I took a trip to Venice.  In lieu of our upcoming move to Las Vegas we felt it wise to visit some places in Europe while they were still pretty close by (and a lot cheaper!)

Plus, as we are moving to sin city, I thought it was a good idea she see what Venice REALLY looks like, rather than basing her ideas on The Venetian hotel on the strip.  We’d already visited Paris the year before and she’s already been to New York, so the only one left – that the Las Vegas strip had ripped off – was Venice.

And before you mention The Luxor, friends of mine have been to Cairo and apparently it’s a shithole; so fuck that.

Anyway, I want to tell you about our trip.

But, Headinablender isn’t a travel blog, nor will it ever be unless something weird, wonderful or funny happens.  I’m not about to go on and on about the beautiful canals, the crippling expensive food and drink, the amazing architecture or the overpriced gondolas driven (driven? Is that right?) by uninterested Italians with an oar in one hand and their phone in the other.

No, i’m talking about our actual experience of getting there and back; literally ‘the trip’.

There are certain moments in life when you realise you’re now ‘a proper grown up’  These include hosting a dinner party, paying rent/mortgage, choosing curtains and, in the case of our trip, checking in at an airport.

I remember going to the airport when I was a kid and just following my parents around while they organised tickets, passports and luggage.  It was just a thing they did until it was time for all of us to sit on the plane.  I never considered the effort that had been put in before we’d even got to the airport.

The thing is, no-one pulls you aside at school and shows you how to book a holiday, you just ‘wing it’.  Nowadays it’s pretty much all done online.  There seem to be two types of holiday companies; those you’ve heard of, and those who are cheaper. Either way, you select your holiday, type in some stuff, pay some money and it’s done.  Apparently.

No tickets, no paperwork.  That’s it.

Then you find out you have to go to the airline’s website and enter your passport information and pay extra if you want to take a suitcase.

Still no tickets or paperwork.  Just faith that all will be OK when you get to the airport.

So, when we arrived at the check in desk and the clerk took our passports, checked us in, took our luggage and handed us our boarding passes, I felt like a proper grown up.

I felt like turning to an imaginary 5 year old me and winking, but I decided against it as I didn’t want to appear twitchy or weird and I wanted to actually be allowed on the flight.

franco wink

Anyway, fast forward to the departure gate.

We were walking down the tunnel to the plane and there were a lot of people in front of us, and more coming in behind us, including one couple who had a little boy that kept running up and down the tunnel.

“Elliott!  Elliot!  Come back here darling.  Elliott!  Elliott!”

His name was Elliott.

After we (and a lot of our fellow passengers) had enduring Elliott’s delightful stomping and kicking of our hand luggage, shins and patience, we finally boarded the plane.

Then, after waiting an eternity for people to put their hand luggage in the overhead lockers and actually sit their fucking arses down, we took our seats and relaxed.

This relaxation was short lived as, sat noisily behind us, was Elliott and his fucking family, comprising of mummy, daddy and younger sister Imogen.  How did we know their names? It was all…..we fucking heard…..for the duration…..of the fucking……flight.

Mostly from ‘Daddy’

“Elliott, try not to kick the seat in front”

(my wife’s seat; Elliott was playing a very dangerous game)

“Elliot, please sit down”

“Elliott, please let Imogen look out the window”

“Elliott, please stop crying.  Look out the window, can you see the clouds?”

“Imogen, please stop crying.  Look out the window, can you see the clouds?”

“Imogen, let Elliott have a go with the colouring book”

“Elliott, please don’t throw the pens on the floor”

“Elliot, please try not to kick the seat in front”

(this was a popular one.  Notice the word ‘try’)

“No Elliott, you can’t sit by the window now, we’re about to land.  No, please stop crying”

And then, once we’d landed and taxi’d to the gate, we were treated to this moment of absolute fucking lunacy…..

“We’re here!  I’m going to get you an ice cream for being such a good boy”

You had to be shitting me!

Once the ‘Fasten Seat Belt’ sign had been switched off we stood up and joined the rest of the plane, who had already stood up a long time ago, to retrieve our bag from the overhead locker.

baseball riot

This was my opportunity to turn around and get a proper look at these people who had made our two hour flight feel like ten.

The parents looked like death.  Gaunt, tired and dead behind the eyes.  They almost looked grey; drained of all the colour in their lives by the little prick jumping up and down on their laps.

So that made me feel better.

To be honest, the best part of the flight was shortly after the wheels had hit the tarmac.

We were sat over the wing, so as the plane was still hurtling down the runway we were able to see part of the wing lift up; creating more drag and slowing the plane.

I smiled, turned to my wife and said “Flaps”.

Ryan Reynolds grin

We both laughed.

It was all we could do not to strangle (H)Elliott with his seatbelt.

Speaking of seatbelts, have you noticed the crew walk up and down the plane to ensure you’ve fastened it, and THEN show the demonstration of how to fasten your seatbelt?  It seems as redundant as showing a pregnant woman how to lose her virginity.

Anyway, we left our woes at baggage claim and went on the have a great time in Venice. What a beautiful city.  If you ever get the chance to go, go. Photos don’t do it any justice, it truly is stunning.

Venice

By the end of our stay we were looking forward to our flight home.  We had chosen a late night flight to ensure we got as much time in Venice as possible and we could also enjoy a nice sleep on the plane.

Yeah, that didn’t happen.

We had the ONLY drunk person on the plane sat behind us, sprawled out across three seats kicking us both in the back for the entire flight whilst he snored like a baboon being sawn in half.  We lost count the number of times the cabin crew had to show him how to use the seatbelt.

If anyone needed to pay attention to the safety brief and seltbelt demonstration, it was this guy.  Mind you, he was having problems blinking both eyes together so it’s unlikely he’ll be able to successfully operate a life jacket.

Silver lining.

Also, we were lucky enough to have three incredibly noisy Italian kids on the row behind him who were the ONLY people on the plane making a noise; everyone else was sleeping.

This is the reason they don’t allow guns on planes.

Still, two amusing things happened during our stay in Venice that i’d like to share with you.

My wife really wanted a new purse/bag, so I said I’d buy her one.  Big mistake.

I was dragged into almost every bag store in Venice, and when you consider that shops in Venice only sell either Bags, Gloves or Masks (yes, masks)…..that’s a lot of fucking shops.

I noticed a lot of the bags had ‘Vera Pelle’ written on them.  Never heard of her.  This designer was everywhere!

vera pelle

My wife pointed out that ‘Vera Pelle’ means ‘Real Leather’ in Italian.  I could be forgiven for my mistake, but i’m half Italian!

Twat.

And the second funny thing was this:

ARS Liquid

Nuff said.

Chesney Hawkes would turn in his grave (if he were dead)

As most of you know, I work in the travel industry.

There is a chain of hotels called ‘One&Only’, which actually consists of 8 resorts with 5 more on the way.

One & only, my ass.

chesney unsure

The Great(?) British Weather?

We Brits hate our weather.

Let’s be honest, it’s a constant battle to try and second guess what clothes would be best to wear for the day.

“But it’s supposed to be nice later”, you’ve said whilst looking out of the window in your pyjamas at the thunderstorm destroying half of your garden.

The warmth of your house feels so lovely compared to the cold touch of the glass, and the fact that half of the neighbourhood’s kids have just flown past your window (being chased by frantic parents) only reinforces the belief that maybe, just maybe, the weathermen are wrong.

Yet, by 2pm, it is glorious sunshine and the massive chunky knit jumper you’re wearing suddenly seems like a bad idea. You’re slowly shrivelling to a sweaty little raisin under the sheer depth of insulation you stupidly decided to don.  Luckily you didn’t wear anything underneath so there’s no chance of beating the heat by shedding a layer without the possibility of getting arrested.

This is why we Brits talk about the weather, a lot. It is unpredictable and ever changing, so of course it becomes the focal point of most conversations.

We hate it. We long for consistency in our weather; preferably involving a lot of sun, plenty of sand and an assortment of brightly coloured fruity beverages with umbrellas in them.

The irony of the umbrellas is often lost on us.

It is because of all these things that we love to travel. We love to go to faraway places and do nothing but eat, drink, shop and tan. In fact, the quality of our holiday is often judged on just how dark we can go.

Also, the colour of choice is brown; the darker the brown, the more awesome the holiday. Dark pink, on the other hand, is as welcomed as it is on a chicken leg at a barbeque.  Burning and peeling is deemed a sign of a bad holiday and, by the laws of British conversational etiquette, usurps weather as the prominent topic of which to moan.

“I was so burned I had to have an ice bath”

“I can’t stop peeling. George A. Romero called me to see if I wanted a job as an extra”

So off we fly, to faraway lands and the limitless experiences that await us. We eat, we drink (and being British, we DRINK) and we meet lots of different people, cultures and customs. We also take plenty of photos and videos to ensure we keep Facebook, Twitter and Instagram on their toes; buying bigger data servers to accommodate our overwhelming need to show off

‘Point of view’ shot of your feet by the pool?

Don’t mind if I do.

You see, these holidays are a necessity for us. We manage to sleep better than we have in years and we allow the stresses of everyday life to dissipate in the bubbles of our in-room Jacuzzi. In fact, whilst having a massage in the spa, all we have to worry about is whether we’ll be having white wine or a cocktail with dinner.

Obviously it depends if we go for the Lobster or the Sirloin.

But we’ve earned it. We’ve worked hard for this. Day in, day out we’ve endured deadlines, emails, phone calls and everything in between. We’ve saved our pennies and now it’s time to cash in and treat ourselves to a little luxury.  This is what life is all about, right?

We simply love our holidays.

Then, when it’s all over and we arrive back in good old Blighty, there’s an odd part of us that looks forward to going back to work.  We look forward to others commenting on how brown we are in our carefully chosen white shirt.

That is unless we’re the type, guide book in hand, running around at breakneck speed to ensure we’re getting in as much culture and sights as possible.

Can’t miss a thing!

We end up spending more time inside buildings than outside them, resulting in us returning home almost the same colour as when we left.

The upside is we have a lot of photos to show you in a well prepared four hour slide presentation.

“Here’s Bob next to a tree”.

“Here’s Bob inside the cathedral”.

“Here’s Bob eating an ice cream”.

“Here’s Bob next to a tree”.

Ad Nauseum.

And after all is done, as we commute to work in the rain, we think about where we were this time yesterday and where we want to go to next.

Yes, we Brits hate our weather sometimes, but without it we wouldn’t have the desire to go out into the world and explore what’s on offer.

Mind you, our summers can be pretty damn good!

Pimms anyone?

British socks and sandals