Travels With A Reluctant Holidaymaker: Day 1

We’ve been away at Christmas several times: to Majorca,to Fuerteventura, to Egypt, even once to Jordan during Ramadam – possibly the best overseas Christmas we ever had. But this is different. A week away from home in January, a chance of some mid-winter sunshine. Too short a spell to warrant self-catering, with the necessity of learning where the shops are, how the cooker works etc, we have booked an hotel in La Caleta, on the south-western coast of Tenerife.

My dear RH had suggested it in the first place. At least that is my recollection, although he denies it vigorously as the date of departure approaches. Coming so soon after the Christmas and New Year period, we’ve done little in the way of preparation, and two hours before we’re due to leave, we still haven’t started packing. But years of experience in travelling on business, plus the inevitable computerised list (which will not surprise anyone who knows me) makes this task relatively quick and painless. 

Thanks once again to years of travelling on business we have a huge cache of airmiles and are making the journey courtesy of British Airways Business Class, for the cost of the airport tax. This means flying from Heathrow, not as easy from Devon as it was when we lived in Kent. So we are setting out a day early and adding a night in the Sofitel at Terminal 5 at each end of the trip. Never ones to rush when travelling, we are more than happy with this arrangement and see it as part of the holiday.

The train is on time, nearly empty and therefore quiet. We settle down, he to read and me to work on updating my new website. One of the joys of working for oneself is the ability to choose when to work and when to relax.And the two and a half hours on the train is a perfect opportunity to get that last bit of design finished.

The revamped Reading railway station looks as smart as ever, if one discounts the loos which were frankly on a par with one of the early, grubby versions seen in motorway service stations before they smartened up their act. But the RailAir bus is on the stand, and leaves within minutes of our arrival. The roads are clear, which is remarkable for the M4 on a Friday afternoon. We sail into Heathrow a mere forty minutes later. The hotel welcomes us in their usual suave fashion and as I am ‘a valued Club member’ upgrades our room to a luxury one. “They’re obviously not very busy,” observes the RH as the lift sweeps us up to our floor. But we are both delighted to find not one, but two lazy-boy chairs in which to relax. (We’ve been staying in a budget hotel in Birmingham quite a lot recently and while the rooms are clean and functional, there is never more than one decent chair, so this is a great improvement.)

Knowing we;d be spending the evening in the hotel, I’ve pre-booked us supper in the main restaurant. Imagine our amazement on finding I’ve accidentally booked us the tasting menu which starts with champagne and gets better from then on. Surely, a good omen for the week to come?

Join me to tomorrow to see how our travels progress.

By Elizabeth Ducie

Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.

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