|Wednesday 21st April – Home one week later
Well we were up early this morning and having a cup of tea... not on the balcony because sailing up the estuary towards Southampton was freezing.. welcome back to Britain.
We had been awake early, and packed our hand luggage. Going for our breakfast before 7a.m. we felt quite excited at the prospect of meeting the family.
Elvis, had brought us the procedure for disembarkation, including priority cards for 8.30a.m. We proceeded to the lounge, where we collected a newspaper – what luxury! We chatted to several friends, and said many a goodbye. We then proceeded to the deck as it was already after 8a.m.
Well we joined a huge queue, which as per usual for P & O was shambolic, with no information until 9.15a.m. An announcement was made, that due to the high volume of cases there would be a delay.......... and the delays continued, there was no co-ordination, for any specific cards everyone grouped together in one huge mass, another announcement repeated the first reason, people were getting very frustrated, and other people were worried they would miss onward trains. Two further announcements and then the word to go – 10am!!! at which point everyone surged forward, we were no longer together, no one asked for any priority cards, what a shambles.
Arriving in the luggage hall was a further nightmare, thousands of cases and hundreds of people, trying to find their luggage and dragging trolleys and cases around. The arrival hall was totally inadequate in size for the homecoming. Liz stayed with our luggage while I did battle with the masses in retrieving all our cases, eventually after joining yet another queue, we were through customs and seeing the smiling, crying faces of the girls... brilliant.
We enjoyed a fantastic welcome, Angie and Susie waving like mad trying to catch our attention at the arrival gate, whilst Stuart battled with the chaotic traffic at the arrivals.
After some packing and squeezing of the cases into the car, we were on our way...... there was so much chattering, hugs and tears, the journey went quickly and we were thrilled at the sight of the daffodils and fresh greenery appearing everywhere. We stopped on the motorway for Cappuccino’s and Panini’s for lunch, and still more chattering.
We were soon turning off the A64 towards Claxton; we saw Jordan our Grandson turn into the drive, to join Bill our Son-In-Law who was already on the drive, out of Jordan’s car came, Myles, Josh and Beth, Jordan’s girlfriend. It was wonderful to see them all, more hugs. Liberty had made huge welcome home signs which were stuck right across the entrance. We wondered where liberty was but there was a special card for us to say why she was missing.
Champagne all round (except the drivers) and we were back in the bosom of our nearest and dearest.
We were thrilled with the garden, daffodils, beautiful rhododendrons, lots of colour, we were totally amazed as we did not expect to see any daffodils at this late date not realising that nature had held them back (specially for us no doubt!!!)
It seemed strange to be in our own home, difficult to take it all in but wonderful at the same time.
We had lots of cards, telephone calls, e-mails, and visitors and it made it a very special homecoming.
Down to earth, with the family announcing we will all be back for dinner on Saturday night ............. and guess who’s cooking.... fantastic, good to be home.
Liz & Bill
P.S. Thanks for joining us on our amazing adventure; we have enjoyed sharing it with you.