Well the day dawned that we thought we would never get to, the first properish day of the holiday. I had a day owing from work and Lisa an I got up as usual to send the kidlets off to school. They were stuffed into their respective classrooms both frothing at the mouth and bouncing. - their teachers were not so impressed .

Quick dash home and a repeat performance of the ever popular game - 'find the cats , stuff them into the carrier and cart them off to the cattery before it closes'. This was made easier as our neurotic tigress and expert hide and seeker 'Dipstick' was asleep . Disney peered out of the carrier and his face clearly stated that he had done ' yet another poo in the house that you will never find', oh and 'your cases smell so utterly of cat that the security dogs at Gatwick will be glued to them.'

The rest of the day was spent with me staring at lists and checking the window locks a bazillion times whilst Lisa packed everything. I was surprisingly calm about all the papery stuff for some reason .

When there was a break in the rain and the birds had left the tables for a few seconds I then spent the best part of an hour covering every available inch of back garden in birdseed and fat blocks ( ick) to try to keep our garden occupied until we got home - if you have ever wondered what they do with the stuff they get from a liposuction op - then wonder no more

Backup all the photos onto a portable hardrive and hide that - hide the laptop and it is time to pick the kids up ( seriously how they find time to learn anything in school is beyond me

Kids were still and by now their teachers were more at not having to hear about dolphins for 2 weeks.

Rushed home with them and changed into civvies then it was off in the cold and pouring rain (that only a few days before had been forecast as snow ) to Gatwick.

Now we had paid a bit more for parking this time (not that much more as it happens) so we could just drop it off outside and we followed the drop off e-mail precisely but there was no one there to pick up the car.

out comes the mobile

'erm.. hello yes , we booked a valet pickup for 5 and there is noone here'

'I think you'll find I am here' came a thick Birmingham accent.

'erm... well could you wave or something because I can't see you'

'where are you?'

'At the drop off point'

'At the Hilton?'

'No , the one you sent me in the e-mail'

'You've had the wrong e-mail, shall I send you the proper one?'

' er, no.. not really'

'see we have you down as Hilton not South terminal'

'Oh ok but as I said to the chap we are doing twilight check in tonight - are you far away?'

'Well alright I could come to you I suppose'

'Thanks that would be great you see we already have our luggage out how long will it take you to get here?'

'2 minutes' good grief we'd been talking for 5 already.

Anyway we then took our meager 3 cases to the Virgin desk to check in, nice lady gave us the bulkheads upstairs - we always ask for these not for any extra room ( as there really isn't any but so Matthew can't annoy any of the posh people by kicking then in the backside for 10 straight hours). She then told us ESTA wasn't working and we'd need to do the green forms again, the white one , and oh and she also needed the zip code of the hotel.

'you've never needed it before'
'its now policy sir '
'where do you suggest I get it from?'
' Directory inquiries sir'
'Seriously directory inquiries in this country? :dozey: who struggle to find their posterior without a compass and a map will be able to tell me the zip code of the wilderness lodge in Florida???'




'Are you just going to smile?'


I have a brain wave and try and rifle through the paperwork I have, find the UK WDW travel companies number call them listen to IASW over and again, do battle with poor reception and the announcements over the tannoy at Gatwick ( starring the teacher from Charley Brown), get the info explain she can't help me with dining reservations at this time, I swear to her I will have a magical day and finally get checked in.

Right time to check in to the hotel and have some din-dins.

The room is the usual mahosive family room at the Hilton 1 double 2 single, large bathroom, all very large and impressive but utterly without charm or warmth. A hotel built for convenience, I doubt if any room has ever been occupied for more than 1 consecutive night by the same people and as such I don't like it as a place to stay. Smells funny too, bit like old cigarettes and farts and air freshener.

Any way we are all starving so head off to Frankie and Bennie's for some tea. Boys are now at a level beyond as it actually looks like we are going to go now and we are all starting to feel a little intoxicated with anticipation, excitement and in my case Stella Artois. Boys have pizza and Lisa and I have calzone ( folded in half pizza) {Honestly Italian cuisine how difficult can it be, pasta - every shape you can imagine different name, white sauce, red sauce,meat either on or in pasta, pizza done- thats it} it was a fantastic meal and for sure the proper beginning of our trip.

It is late when we meander back to the room but the boys are in no mood for sleeping despite the long trip ahead. As Matthew is still jumping all over me when I am trying to do the green forms it is suggested that he is put in the cupboard ( which is bigger than our 1st house) to calm down. - He rather likes this idea and goes in voluntarily.

30 seconds later- Mr Tumnus brings him back saying that the good people of Narnia are trying to get some sleep and can he be quiet please.

We all pass out after much giggling and shushings and about a million bathroom trips in the small hours.

Thomas at least trying to sleep....