It’s our last morning in California. Just time to squeeze in a parkrun before setting off for the airport. And an argument with daughter no 1 when she fills our suitcase with her shopping and tells me my dirty laundry will have to go in my hand luggage!
As if California is helping us acclimatise to our return to the UK, we get up to find we have to scrape ice off the windscreen. Daughter no 1 has decided to join us and actually run parkrun this morning – only her 5th ever time. I say I will stay with her, but when the gun sounds, she sets of at such a pace that I can hardly keep up! We slow down a little and just miss her target of going sub 40 minutes; not bad for a non-runner after a week of Hawaiian plate lunches and Mai Tais.
Then it’s back to the flat to shower, pack, weigh the suitcase, repack then set off for the airport. Everything runs smoothly. The check in clerk asks to see our documents, takes one look at daughter no 1’s neat list of labelled PDFs and stamps our boarding pass. The suitcase is 2 kgs under, so the fight about me having to carry my dirty pants was unfounded. We are through security and at the gate 2 hours prior to our flight.
The flight departs on time and the good news is that a huge tailwind puts our ETA 45 minutes ahead of schedule. The bad news is that it’s a very bouncy flight. You know you’re in for a bumpy ride when a flight attendant screams and plonks herself down in a passenger seat! The smell of vomit starts to fill the cabin and it’s the first time I’m grateful to be wearing a surgical mask. Every now and again we hear the instruction “flight attendants check in” and the crew walk through the cabin to collect sick bags and check everyone is still alive. But then comes the command “flight attendants take your jump seats” (turbulence) or “flight attendants be seated immediately” (a shit load of turbulence). We make it back to Heathrow tired but relieved.