TUESDAY 19th July 2005 Back to index

I hate the few days before going away. Everything seems more fraught than usual. It's the same old story. Time and tempers are short. Emotions are highly strung. It's always a relief to finally set off and wave a cheery 'vaffan coulo' to our hideously stressed out lives. This time was no exception. We were so busy chasing our tails that we'd almost forgot that we were going to Venice. We only packed last night! Although the technical term for what we did last night is more commonly referred to as 'shoving things in willy nilly' !

Julie was even in proper "Waagh Waagh" tears this morning after her appointment at the nail technician was rudely cancelled because one of them hadn't turned up for work. The glacier cherry was almost placed on the top when we arrived at our hotel at Gatwick South Terminal. Even as we walked in we both thought how unfamiliar this lobby looked. Double checking the confirmation in case we were at the wrong hotel we were relieved that we were actually booked into the Hilton Gatwick South Terminal.

I confidently stepped up to check in, handed over the confirmation, and felt a wave of nausea hit me when I heard the trainee receptionist say "I'm sorry sir, but you are booked in for tomorrow night"

"You're joking?" I just couldn't believe it, so I asked him again, "You're joking??" Julie walked away, arms waving, muttering "It's all going wrong, it's all going wrong, we're going to die." All the bad omens were stacking up high and forecasting our inevitable doom.

Fortunately, just as the cherry was about to drop, the one that made the camel shit hit the fan and break its back, it turned out not to be such a big deal. They had plenty of vacancies here tonight, and despite having to pay an extra £20 charge to change the booking with Holiday Extras, we were compensated with a "free" upgrade to a deluxe room. A huge sigh of relief all round was released, not least from Julie's Doomometer.

We finally settled down about 11pm after dropping our car off at the long stay car park. We ordered room service and I dyed Julie's hair Golden Copper Blonde. When the food arrived and my pizza was but a poor imitation of a proper pizza, it dawned on me that not only had I booked the wrong night I had also booked the wrong bloody hotel!!!

I thought we stayed at the Hilton last time, before Florence, but we hadn't; it was at the Le Meridien at the North Terminal. I remember enjoying a really delicious pizza that night and this was far from delicious. Ah well, nevermind, we're here now.

I set the alarm for 4am and tried to get some sleep as Julie glued on a set of false "French manicured" nails. Try as I might I couldn't get to sleep because I had Cheryl Ladd screeching down my ears from the set of a terrible TV movie about internet chat rooms and a porn ring. The smell of the glue must have sent Julie to sleep despite Cheryl's 'worthy-of-an-oscar' screaming, so at about 2am I switched the TV off and turned over to try and get at least two hours of sleep.

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