It had taken months of hurried preparation: we had temporarily closed a business, sold a flock of sheep, a motorhome, numerous bits and bobs, tidied up a farm, redecorated our house, arranged for caretaking in our absence, taken the kids out of school, made emotional goodbyes and almost organised everything for our departure. With “almost” everything organised we left home with a mere 12 bags and a surfboard on the 14th November 2016!
On our way to Manchester our first stop was at our lawyer in Edinburgh to sign our Wills and Power of Attorneys -Its the last minute things that matter! Following that brief stop we caught the train with bags stacked to the ceiling and headed to Manchester airport. With a night in the Hilton with “Grandpa” and more emotional goodbyes we headed to our flight. Manchester to Barbados was our chosen route into the Caribbean; we had looked at so many routes and found that at £199 (sterling) for the adults and £129 for the kids this was by far the cheapest way to get there. Thomas Cook Airlines turned out to be far more comfortable than expected and we even got a sneak peak of Antigua where our first touch down in the Caribbean was to offload 60 and pick up 40 passengers. The kids were amazingly well behaved on the plane and sat glued to the many films and programmes. My little trick of bribery worked well, in one bag I had wrapped a collection of small gifts which they could have one of every hour if they were good…. its a foolproof way to get kids to behave! Also teaching your kids to latch on to any other child they find helps and this is exactly how we got a full 8 hours of rare peace. Chatting to the crew it seems life as a Thomas Cook steward/ess is a pretty fine one. They put in a long shift but our crew had a three night layover in Barbados followed by an 8 night layover in Jamaica two days later. Nice!
Alas we arrived in Barbados and the first thing i heard was Delilah proclaiming:”Its too hot! Is that just the engines Mummy?” It was not just the engines and the tropical heat I had warned of became a reality to the pretty excited but rather exhausted kiddies. After charming the immigration lady with our promises that we would be leaving to Grenada within a week she let us in with huge smiles and a sly chuckle when she heard our crazy plan….