This article was written for Fethiye Times by Sian Midgley

Well we’ve made it back to the UK. Thank you to all who wished us a speedy and successful journey. But let me tell you a bit more about the journey and a lovely Brucey bonus we got on the way back…

Freedom

The hotel myself and ‘Mrs Windy’ had been in for 10 loooooonnnnnnggggggh days was no more than a two minute walk from the Auckland International Airport Terminal. As myself, mother and the other eighteen travellers on our tour left the hotel for one last time we resembled greyhounds being released from the trap, shoppers bursting through the doors on the first day of the Harrods sale, gazelles leaping and frolicking in the fields. Well, actually, as the average age was around 70 it was more of a shuffle than a frolic but you get the idea.

Where Is Everybody?

Right, so airports – busy, bustling, noisy, crowded places, yes? Well, actually, no. During THE VIRUS everything is different and airports are no exception. ’28 Days Later’ and ‘Legend’ spring to mind but where exactly is Will Smith when you need him? All the Duty Free shops were closed and boarded up. There was one single juice bar open and that was your lot. However one of the sweet shops just had a security grill pulled down in front of it and I worked out that if I stretched far enough I could reach a family bag of Minstrels. But, no, I’m not letting this situation force me into a life of crime. It starts with Minstrels, it ends with murder over the Maltesers. I’ve seen enough daytime dramas to know this.

I have to say though that it is quite possibly one of the creepiest situations I’ve ever been in. Except maybe for that time when I was 16 and my boyfriend’s dad thought it was a good idea to try and persuade me he was the better option shudders. But that’s a whole other story.

One Step Closer
The ghostly Auckland airport

I Love Flying

The next 22 hours in the air, flying via LA, were awesome though. ‘Huh, what?’ I hear you say. Yes, that’s right – AWESOME. And why? Because we were upgraded to Business Class (high five). I’ve no idea why but I wasn’t going to ask. I put on the free socks, I slathered on the free hand cream, I rinsed with the free mouthwash, I puckered up and applied the free lip balm, oh boy I could get used to this. I slept for seven hours on the first flight, five on the second, fully stretched out on my flatbed and huddled under a warm blanket. Oh yes I could definitely get used to this.

I couldn’t see, or smell, mother but every so often a little giggle would float over the privacy screen so I could relax, knowing that her ‘little problem’ was still keeping her amused.

Food Glorious Food

But what you are all really interested in is the food isn’t it? Well let me tell you, it did not disappoint. Although to be fair, after the paltry rations we were given at the hotel a piece of dry coal would probably have tasted better.

There was none of this ‘chicken or fish sir, chicken or fish madam, sorry we’ve run out of fish sir.’ Oh no, it was ‘Miss Midgley, what can I offer you for dinner? Perhaps chicken in a white wine sauce? Maybe duck in a coconut curry? How about a salmon mousse for starters? And can I offer you some bread from our bakery – a warm slice of sourdough maybe?’. All served on real plates with real cutlery and real napkins.

One Step Closer
A luxury starter

Spot the Ride

Once we got to Heathrow we met our driver for the hour long drive home. Suffice to say it wasn’t difficult to find his car in the short stay carpark.

One Step Closer
Wonder which one is our ride?

Now we just need to sit out another 14 days in complete lockdown before I can enjoy fisticuffs over a packet of toilet rolls in Morrisons. In the meantime, stay safe everyone.