I had to buy two new suitcases to come to Blighty and all because of RyanAir's new weight restrictions per suitcase. In times gone by I would fill up a mega case with clothes for all, and take a small case of 2 x 10L wine boxes. They fit in snuggly, and I just needed to be able to get the cases in and out of the car. It was a struggle at times but what's a back in the pursuit of a good drink?
The limit of 15kg per bag per person is a pain, but makes things easier on the back (there's always a silver lining...). I filled up the spaces with a loaf of pain de compagne, a tarte au poire, a galette des rois and those inflated pockets of air in plastic used to pack boxes. A visit to the family at New Year after Christmas involves presents - bulky ones for the boys - and the need for space.
We flew via Marseille; an original routing in a direct service from Montpellier to Stansted, but we needed a spare part. An engineer wearing a descriptive coat and carrying a screwdriver (always a dead giveaway), fiddled about in the cockpit for a couple of minutes, after which we had to wait 40minutes for a slot out. The kiddy diagonally opposite screamed from time to time, expressing on our behalf the frustrations of the rest of the cattle. I mean, passengers.
I was fairly unperturbed as the wait for the taxi at the other end would have been 2 hours had we been on time, and would now merely require us to hang around for 45mins.
Our taxi driver was a chatty chap and provided an entertaining drive including avoiding the M11 which had a tailback from the M25 junction as far back as Harlow. I heard about his mother who had lived in the UK for 45 years and spoke no English but had had 4 children who now financed her travels around the world since the death of her husband, and, at the age of 75 was having a blast. I heard about his eldest son who, at the age of 27 had given up believing he was the next rock guitar phenomenon and, with the love of his girlfriend, had been encouraged to find a proper job and grow up. He is now a trainee computer repairer with PCWorld and loving it. His daughter is a maths whizz and earns a 6-figure sum in the city, while his sister is married to an Indian pop star and jets it around the world. Definitely an entertaining drive!
Followed by relief at arriving 'home', surrounded by the entire nuclear family, a festive house wonderfully and fully decorated, a turkey and Christmas pud lunch on New Year's Eve, and joyous boys having a ball with their cousins and adoring their presents from the Blighty contingent.