I'm home. Finally. We left the apartment in Budapest at about12 noon after an hour or so of hoovering, polishing, washing, tidying and changing bedclothes. We normally wouldn't have bothered but the next tenants were arriving almost as soon as we were leaving and I knew there wouldn't be enough time for the fabulous Nora to do these things before they arrived. And as the owners of the apartment had been so lovely about letting us stay for an emergency unscheduled further 4 days, I reckoned it was the least we could do.
The taxi driver who picked us up had just enough English to get the right names for the booking and took us to Ferihegy (or 'Ferengi' as TLH insists on calling it) Airport. I'd arranged for what they call 'Special Assistance' at both ends of our journey as there was no way mum was going to be capable of doing a lot of walking. We'd gone by Easyjet and all the arrangements had been done online so I was somewhat concerned that it wouldn't work properly but, in fact, it was all absolutely fine. At Budapest, after speaking to the Customer Service desk, a chappy appeared with a wheelchair and he took control of the entire check in and passport control situation for all 3 of us! It was great! Mum sat in the wheelchair looking suitably wan and we all went straight to the head of the queue. Again, when it was time to board, instead of somehow loading us onto the bus to get to the plane along with all the other passengers, they drove a special minibus up to the doors for us, to take us all of 50 feet to the airplane steps where they, very gently, helped mum up the stairs. We sat in the front row on the plane (which they'd saved for us) which meant we had oodles of legroom.
When we landed at Gatwick, we were told to wait until everyone else had disembarked, and then, again, they helped mum gently down the steps and into another waiting minibus which took us all over the apron until depositing us just beside passport control where one of those beeping buggies came to collect us. The driver took all our passports then drove the buggy right through passport control (again bypassing the hundreds of passengers waiting in queues) and then on to luggage reclaim. It was a relief to see our two suitcases forlornly going round and round but at least they were there. The driver picked them up and loaded them into the buggy for us before driving us right down to the roadside where cars come to drop off and collect people. He unloaded us and our luggage and we thanked him profusely.
Mum and I found somewhere to sit with all the luggage while Doug went off to collect the car. We got everything loaded in and I got back in through my front door at probably about 7pm.
The cats don't quite know what to make of me. They sort of think I'm familiar but can't quite place me so they're watching me closely but from a distance.
I am now, officially, quite unbelievably knackered. My levels of stress at particular times over the last 3 weeks have been astronomical and I've shed more tears during this period than I probably have over the last decade. So I'm very, very glad it's over and the objective was finally achieved, but I really don't want to do it again.
What I need to do now, though, is pour myself the first of several stiff-ish gin & tonics, soak in a hot bubbly bath and then sink into the blissful oblivion of sleep in my own bed. Hopefully with added cat.
The price of health
14 hours ago