Last night in this wonderful suite.
Awoke to yet another bright, sunny but breezy day, feeling a bit dismal. Breakfast was followed by the necessary packing.
Our flight doesn’t leave until 6.15 p.m., so a cab is coming to pick us up at 3.45. I wonder if George is going to ply me with more alcohol….. Still, it gives Jean a chance for another dip in the pool before we go.
Settled the bill, which was remarkably reasonable, seeing as how George had theoretically racked up a hefty total. Except that he hadn’t. I got quite a few of those additional drinks gratis. Respect, George! The 1-litre bottle of gin had been charged – at US$12. I’ll take that. So I did. There was quite a bit left, after all, believe it or not…
Just sat on our balcony and enjoyed the sunshine. Jean took a final dip in the suite pool, and off we went to Reception for our taxi pick-up.
As when we arrived, we had quite a party to see us off the premises, including Leo Garbutt, the hotel owner. A really nice touch, that, and we had a very pleasant chat.
The cab was a bit late – bad traffic, apparently, which I can genuinely believe – and four people loaded our bags into the back. We didn’t have to lift a finger. A proper send-off.
10 minutes later, we were at the airport. To my surprise, the St. James Travel rep who had briefed us on our arrival (Wistell Bowen) was there to greet us. She showed us which queue to join and eased us through the check-in process. Top service.
On top of this, the airport has a lounge! We were instructed to wait for an agent to collect us, take us plus around 8 others on a short walk to some golf trolleys!
We were then driven round the corner – a surreal 2-minute journey – and were then led to the lounge. Not quite up to the standard of lounges at a major airport – the only food on offer was various packaged snacks – but a selection of drinks were available. An adequate white wine was partaken of.
We were then herded to the aircraft – a Boeing 777 as per the flight out – and sorted our seats out in the usual chaotic fashion.
The flight didn’t actually take off until around 7 p.m. for the half-hour hop to St. Lucia. Managed to down a glass of fizz in that time…..
As on the way out, we had an hour’s wait while the plane was refuelled, restocked and re-staffed before finally getting re-airborne.
The cabin attendant asked us if we’d like something to eat. As we hadn’t had anything significant since breakfast, we said yes, which resulted in some crisps and nuts.
What we didn’t realise was that she’d interpreted this as a replacement for dinner. Mystified, we asked when we were getting our meal, and got slightly told off. She did produce a couple of meals, though we had to eat them in the dark. Not a great start to a 7½ hour journey.
Tried to get some sleep, but I always have difficulty getting comfortable enough. It also appeared that we’d left it too late for breakfast. Jean wasn’t happy at all about this, but I wasn’t hungry. Had to make do with a very indifferent coffee (me) and tea (Jean). Again, not great.
Landed at Gatwick at around 9.15 a.m. after a smooth-ish flight. 4 ⁰C as opposed to the 29⁰ we’d left. 😒
Just to add to the fun, neither of us could get through the automatic passport scanning gate. In fact, very few people seemed to be able to. The queues were lengthening steadily at this point, so we went through the gate with a human in no time at all.
Had to wait a while for our bags off the carousel – I nearly walked off with somebody else’s – and went looking for a coffee and pastry. After consuming this, we headed for the car, which we found without too much difficulty.
Approached the exit barrier with some trepidation – would it let us through? After a pause which seemed to take ages, it swung up, and we were on our way back home.
Mercifully trouble-free journey, finally getting through the door at around 11.30. I’d switched the heating on remotely ahead of time, so the house was nice and warm.
The challenge now is a) to try and stay awake b) get the washing done, as these things are important, you know….
It’s been a wonderful break, and my final post will be a brief summary of the experience. Hope you have enjoyed the journey with us.