Home to Portugal
July 3, 2018

We left Sunday afternoon from Cape Town to London. If you live in Cape Town you would know that the weather was horrendous on Sunday and I suspected taking off would not be fun.  As it turned out the take off was slightly bumpy but really not an issue. However, the real news was that while checking in we saw the First Officer of the flight and Helen and I knew him. He didn’t see us but when we were on the plane, he spotted our names on the manifest and came and said hello to me and asked whether we wanted to move to First Class.  How could we possible say no?! So he organised it with the chief cabin controller and Helen and I changed seats. M & O were in economy and on hearing M asked whether they could have our seats.  We felt it was pushing our luck asking the First Officer for another favour but Helen took a chance and asked the chief cabin controller and he said yes after they had served supper. So everyone ended up having a good nights sleep!

We arrived on time into London, cleared passport, got our luggage and headed out to find our driver who took us across to Gatwick airport.  We were flying to Faro, Portugal and BA only fly from Gatwick. The car journey took just over an hour.  We checked in without any issue and went to lounge to kill about 4 hours (as our flight was only at 1:55pm). As Chloe was already in London, she planned to join us later by taking the Gatwick Express. She had left plenty of time to do that and check in but then she message me to say the train was delayed and then 15 minutes later to say there was a fault on the line and the train was cancelled and what should she do.  I told her to get a taxi ASAP as it was a 1 hour 15 minute drive to Gatwick from Victoria Station and she needed to leave immediately to make the check in time. She fortunately got a taxi immediately and ended up sharing with someone else who was on the train (Cambridge lecturer) so they split the £130 cab fare.

Now the race was on as the predicted arrival time gave her just 10 minutes before check in would close. Michael was tracking her on Google Maps and updating the arrival time almost minute-by-minute, Helen and I were following her on Find-my-Friends and she shared her location on whatsapp so that everyone else could follow her to.  Chloe was tracking herself on Wayz and her arrival time eventually reached 13:02 (and check in closed 13:10).  She arrived just before 13:00 and worriedly called me while she was taking the lift up to check-in.  However, she managed to run to check in and in the end even made it through security by 13:10! We were all relieved to see her and we headed straight for the gate.  It is such a small world that I bumped into a Gen Re colleague (Martin Leitch for those Gen Re people reading) at the gate – he was heading to Valencia for a week.

The flight over was uneventful and we cleared passport easily. The luggage took an age to come off though and after 15 minutes of so we were missing bags still. They eventually told us some bags were delivered on another carousal and so we headed there, found 3 more bags but were still missing one.  They then said the rest would come out back where we originally were and so headed back again and found the last one we needed. We had two cars reserved (7 of us with 10 bags including 2 golf bags) – M, O and I had to go offsite to get ours and we ended up driving half way to Vilamoura (where our house is) to get our car.

We arrived at the house to find Helen not being able to unlock the front door.  I tried with my set of keys and they also didn’t work.  I called the agent who looks after the house and she got someone to come and check and it turned out they had to change the lock and simply never told us! They went to fetch the new key.  Very irritating especially since it was 7pm and we had been traveling for over 24 hours at this point. We finally got in and H, C & myself headed to the shop to buy dinner and breakfast. We ended up eating dinner at about 8:30pm and we all headed to bed just after 10pm.

Glad to be here (all together)!

P, C (because of the all the stress she endured yesterday and because she is my only daughter), S, K (first time on a blog and she was one of the few not to insult me yesterday), H, O & M (the three of them deserve to be on the end lumped together due to all the abuse I took from them)

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