Life with Arfur

An irreverent look at living with arthritis

The Holiday From Hell

So We’re Back

Clad in shorts and a T-shirt to combat 28 degrees of subtropical heat, we took off from Arrecife at six last night, and just after ten o’clock, we tootled into three degrees of freezing Manchester. And I’ll be brutally honest. I’m glad to be home.

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The Lanzarote weather was, as always perfect. But that’s all I can say in its favour. Whatever could go wrong, did.

We left home at four on Wednesday 26th October, and hit the first problem when we got to the airport and realised we’d left the foreign currency at home. All €600 of it. That meant living on plastic for the week, and left us at the mercy of crap exchange rates.

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Ever determined to beat the blues, we had a comfortable enough flight but when we come to the other end, the captain aborted the landing thanks to violent weather systems above Arrecife airport. He was on approach and we were getting serious chop, then he put the power on and took us back up. We had to land at Fuerteventura, a separate island, forty miles south of Lanzarote. We were left to our own devices in the departure hall for a few hours before we boarded again, and flew back to Lanzarote.

Were we downhearted? Damn right we were. It was six o’clock by the time we got to our hotel, and we had been on the go for fourteen hours… sixteen if you count the two hours prior to leaving when we were out of bed and getting ready.

Things couldn’t get any worse, could they?

Yes they could. The daytime temperatures were up around the thirty degree mark every day. Just what you want. But air conditioning in the room would have been beneficial, too. We didn’t have it, so we sweltered inside the room and out.

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The bed was a cloth-covered wooden board on four legs, with a mattress dumped on it. And that mattress was way past its sell-by date. It was too soft, sagging, with more lumps and bumps than the last bedroom wall I plastered. It was like trying to sleep on porridge, and it was nearly as damp by the time it got soaked in sweat.

Still if, these were the only problems…

No they bloody well were not. I’m like a gorilla, covered in hair. And all that sweat provided a wonderful, swampy attraction to the local mozzies. Result? After two days, I was covered in bites, and after a visit to the nearest pharmacy, the missus was applying ointment to my back, while I dealt with those on the front.

We’d been there forty eight hours and I swear if I could have got a flight home, I would. My blood pressure was up and down like a bride’s knickers, my blood sugar was all over the place, I was in shocking pain from knees and hips thanks to that mattress, and I had more hassle from the healing bites, and my temper was explosive.

Things settled for a few days, then came the task of organising the trip home. First job, find out where our airport transfer bus would pick us up. There were two alternatives; one on the sea front and the other two hundred yards away round the corner in front of the hotel. I asked our rep, he didn’t know. He suggested we wait at one, with a lookout on the corner and if we got it wrong, we leg it to the other stop. I’m crippled with arthritis and the missus is in her seventies, and he is two slates short of the full fucking roof.

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Luckily we’d become acquainted with a young woman who was getting the same bus, and her daughter was in her teens, so we managed to sort it out.

Yesterday, on our way home we checked out at twelve, and left our luggage in storage until the pick up at half past three. In between times, the hotel lost the key for the store room. We had to wait for an engineer to come and break in.

So we got the airport and at last, boarded our return plane. Problems over and done with. Right? Wrong.

As we climbed out of Lanzarote, I checked my bags and learned that somewhere between checking out of the hotel and settling into our seats aboard the airplane, I had lost a camera worth £80 and Sony Walkman mp3 player, worth £40

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BASTARD!!!

Fortunately, I’d downloaded all the images from the camera to a memory stick and the music form the Walkman is all on my hard drive. But I’ll still be out of pocket £120 replacing them.

If anyone ever mentions going to Lanzarote again, I won’t be responsible.

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