Monday 1st January 2001 Day 20

We were woken up for breakfast, and the fresh fruit salad was quite refreshing. The garden pea filled tomatoes on the other hand was an appetite suppressant, and the fried rice with almonds just left me speechless.

With only a few hours to go they showed a film called "Remember The Titans" about the first integrated black and white American college football team. It was good enough to keep me awake and before we knew it, the film had finished and we only had another half an hour before reaching Heathrow. "Hooray!" we thought, and "Hooray!" it was! We hovered somewhere east of Heathrow for fifteen minutes waiting for a new slot after missing our original one. Touching down at 6:15am. The look on Julie's face was one of such relief. No more flying! I'm sure she was near to tears from the sheer relief of being safely home.

Within an hour we had collected our luggage, gone through customs, caught the hopper bus to the Meridien car park, paid for our parking, and were on the M4 heading for home. The weather was perfect for driving. It was a lovely, sunny, and crisp winter's day, with no freezing rain, no severe snowstorms. And hardly any traffic on the road. We stopped for a proper breakfast at the services outside Oxford. Beans, and egg, and brown sauce! We also all got changed into warmer clothes. I had two layers of jumpers on but I was still shivering.

Two more stops the other side of Birmingham, and Knutsford, and we were on the homeward stretch of the A55. The final furlong of our 24 hour marathon journey home! At 1pm we arrived home to an ice block of a house. It was incredibly cold. It was actually colder in the house than it was outside! We decided to whack the central heating on, and pop out to Bangor for a while whilst the house warms up.

We went into Woolworth and ended up buying the film 'The Beach' on DVD. Julie and I stood at the counter smiling inanely. Both of us thinking "here we are buying this video when 48 hours ago we were sunbathing on THAT beach!". We were bursting to tell the woman behind the till about our adventure, but we didn't say anything. She was having a bad enough day as it was, but to come into work on New Years Day and have two giggling idiots tell you that they had just been to paradise and back whilst you were suffering in the cold winter weather would have been too much for her to stomach.

It was then it hit me what an amazing experience we had just been through, and how lucky and privileged we were. The memories of this holiday will stay with me a lifetime.


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