Please don't let him park anywhere stupid Friday 28th November So today is the day we get in the car and are finally on our way, 568 days after booking this holiday. This is what has happened in the past week. I developed an infection in the gum around my wisdom tooth. My dentist prescribed antibiotics, which were painfully slow to start working and put me in a major panic for a while. The infection eventually broke on Wednesday afternoon but it was still painful to eat for a while and at some point the tooth will need removing as it sticks very slightly through the side of the gum. Nanny Lesley hurt her back. I still haven’t asked her how she did it. Those details weren’t important; the fact was she could hardly move for a while. Last Sunday she was so desperate for relief she took some painkillers that my Father got from a work colleague. Yes, believe it or not, my Mother took drugs prescribed for a complete stranger. Yes, they made her vomit all over the place. My Father went to the chemist/pharmacist for advice and was strongly dressed down in front of the whole shop. I scolded my parents for being so irresponsible, and Lisa gave them a piece of her mind too. But I guess, when you’re desperate you’ll try anything. On Sunday night I was laying awake wondering whether I should try and cut my gum to try and relieve the pressure of the infection. You’ll be glad to hear I finally fell asleep before taking such drastic measures. Then on Thursday I get a letter advising that I am at risk of redundancy. Confusing. Last week they were threatening to sack me, now they want to pay me to leave. I volunteer to take the money please. Adrian says it is not to fund another trip to WDW. Other things that have plagued me recently: the weather has prevented me from planting my Spring bulbs so they remain in a carrier bag in the greenhouse and my front garden remains bare of colour. I’ve started watching Pop Idol because Chris from Lancing made it to the final 6 and as he lives round the corner from me I thought I’d better lend my support. He’s actually quite good, but I don’t think he’ll win. And I’ve forgotten to sow my broad bean seeds for next spring. On a plus side I managed to find the address labels I printed for postcards and then put in a safe place. So on Tuesday I dropped the guinea pigs off at my parent’s where they will remain in the care of my father until our return. I have left written instructions on the finest detail of their care, which I know he’ll rip up and use to start a fire or something. My father has a strange sense of logic. He nearly burnt the house down once grilling a piece of steak. The fat caught fire and it was only the dog barking that alerted him to the potential of disaster. He had the grill on the highest setting with the food as close to the heat source as possible. When the smoke alarm went off his sense of logic dictated that the solution to this problem was not to lower the heat or move the food away from the heat, but to remove the batteries from the smoke alarm. I say a long goodbye to my piggies and wonder if they’ll ever be the same carefree happy-go-lucky creatures again. On Thursday I do the last of the ironing, turn off the pump in the garden pond, and make sure all the garden bird feeders are fully stocked. Got to look after my cheeping friends or they won’t eat all the nasty bugs for me next summer. Friday morning we do the packing of the last bits like Steven’s bottles, and have a major panic as to the whereabouts of my sunglasses. They have vanished off the face of the earth. They are prescription lenses; I cannot see anything closer than 6 feet away from me without them. We find them exactly where I left them after I last wore them. I can assure you all I never put them there. My parents arrive at lunchtime; Nanny Lesley looking white as a sheet with a combination of back pain and Dad’s driving. I honestly don’t have a problem with his driving but Nanny Lesley rates it scarier than any white-knuckle ride you care to mention. Oh well. Dawn’s tip for the day is aimed at people with stair gates in their house. Bring the suitcase down the stairs while it’s empty and pack it downstairs. Bringing a fully loaded, none-too-light suitcase down 14 stairs and through 2 narrow stair gates is a photo opportunity and a half I can tell you. Fortunately there were no cameras to catch the moment. Around 3pm we wash and dry the last bottle, toss it into a bag, whip a cable tie through the zip thingies and strap Steven into his baby seat. As I put Steven’s coat on I notice it has a large milk stain down the front. Too late, the stain will have to make the trip with us. I drive our car with Steven and Nanny Lesley as passengers and Adrian and all the bags go in the van with my Father (Grandad Fred). We only have a Peugeot 106 so we have room for precisely 1 bag and Steven’s buggy/stroller in our car. Adrian, Steven and myself have 1 suitcase and 2 holdalls between us and Nanny Lesley has 1.5 holdalls. Well she has 2 but 1 is half-empty at this point. We also have a piece of carry-on each. So Grandad Fred is luggage transporter for our trip. Adrian goes with him as he’s never been to the Gatwick Hilton before and doesn’t know where the drop-off point is there and will probably just drive in and pull up right outside the front entrance. I’ve got to be honest and say that Grandad Fred is definitely a bit suspicious looking so if he pulled up where I anticipated, he would without a doubt spark a major security scare resulting in the whole south of England being put under some kind of curfew or something equally as drastic. So Adrian goes with him to make sure he behaves.