I'm going through my annual struggle to get to the UK for the end of the year. This year, however, it's looking grim.
To take advantage of the tickets I can actually afford, I have to be right up there at the opening of ticket sales - 2 months in advance for Eurostar, 3 for SNCF. Actually, I don't see why Eurostar can't align its ticketing procedures with SNCF because that would really make life much easier for those of us who find it hard enough even with the cheapest tickets. By the time Eurostar tickets go on sale, SNCF have had theirs out for a month already, and at the busiest times, the cheapest ones get sold off really quickly.
This month I haven't been able to reserve anything. I had to apply for ID cards for the boys, but had to wait for their father to send written authorization that I can do this. It took him two years... He left it so late that I couldn't apply until mid-October and it takes six weeks to get them processed. If all goes well...
As it's quite possible that French fonctionnaires go on strike, or that stuff gets lost, or that some bit of paper is missing, which would put back the application, I dare not buy any type of non-refundable ticket until I have the ID cards in my hot little hands.
Normally it costs me about 500€ to take the boys to the UK. I checked the prices for New Year week and they are currently standing at 945€! This is way over the top and means that we cannot take the train.
I then checked British Airways from Marseille. As I refuse the idea of getting to Gatwick from Essex for 06:55, I have to take the pricier tickets, total cost 985€. OK, there's always Ryanair. A shortened trip because they don't fly every day from Montpellier, and it would cost us 750€ not including priority boarding (a further 24€). Plus the cost of getting to and from Stansted (another 100€). Going from Marseille is out because, again, there is only a 0635 flight. As it takes 90mins to get there, plus the international flight 2-hr check-in time constraint, it would mean losing a night's sleep.
So basically it means that we can't go. Which, naturally, is really pissing me off, especially as it means that, even divorced, my ex-h can still piss about with my life, the boys' lives and that of my family. And there isn't anything I can do about it except send a narky letter (which I've done).
There was never supposed to be a Plan B, but I've had to come up with some sort of alternative. It is for me to go over, alone, while the boys are with their father, to spend Christmas with my parents. It would give my mother some relief from dotty dad when it's not sure that there'll be other members of the family around on Christmas Day, which in itself is a Good Thing.
I'm just sorry that the boys will be deprived of their trip, that they won't get to go ice-skating at the Natural History Museum, or see their cousins or the rest of the family. We only go over twice a year as it is, so it's a real shame to have to miss out on a trip.
And all because their father couldn't be arsed to write one letter. What a twat.