Let’s get the totally expected over and done with first. Flying with Ryanair was, as Churchill almost said about the Russians, “a misery wrapped in depression inside humiliation.”
The seats were made of that sort of shiny plastic that you know only exists so that all known human stains can be wiped off in the eleven and a half minutes that Ryanair allows for the turnaround of the aircraft.
The spaces between the rows were so cramped that Tinkerbell would have had a bad back had she been forced to sit there.
To make matters incandescently worse a party of vivacious youngsters occupied about 25% of the space and 87% of the volume inside the aircraft.
There is nothing a teacher likes better at the start of his holiday than to find himself a calm (yet seething) centre of fixed immobility among the Brownian Motion of young people “seat-belted” on a low-cost airline.
As a result of the impossibly early start of the flight adolescent freneticism soon reached its drooping point and within an hour of take off the neophyte humans had assumed a variety of “crash positions” (made famous by the classic film “Airplane”) and had actually fallen asleep with limbs akimbo and heads at impossible angles.
The plane was totally full and our usual plan of dividing our forces and sitting at window and aisle, leaving the middle seat “free” but with an armed neutrality around it, totally failed and a “person” dared to sit there. In the scheme of things we could have done worse, as the “person” was a reasonably petite woman – the sort of person who does not fight for the armrest. Result.
But not much of one. My aisle position, where I can at least stretch one leg in the hope that circulation there may stimulate circulation in the cramped other, was frustrated by the positive parade of clump footed passengers and Boudicca trolley wielding stewardesses who all attacked my extremities with reckless abandon.
Owing to particularly vindictive geography it appears that Barcelona (two and a half hours away from Bristol) is actually further away from Gran Canaria than Bristol is. This is obviously Not Fair and I demand that pilots take the two rather than three dimensional route to my destinations.
By the time we Thank God touched down in Las Palmas I felt that a certain degree of adverse torque (not that I know what that is but it does describe my feelings exactly) had been applied to each and every bone and muscle in my body.
Then came the car hire.
It is a known fact, at least as far as I am concerned, that everyone else in the world is a twat. I know this because every bloody queue that I join has one in front of me. I was somewhat surprised to discover that this theory holds good for everyone else in the world as well. I can’t help thinking that this must effect/affect my theory to some extent, ut it is still workable so I won’t worry too much.
Suffice to say that the pair of cretins in front of me asked a range of questions and had to have so many things explained in “Janet and John” language (in Spainish) that I wouldn’t have entrusted a Dinky toy to them let alone a car which works on the roads!
When they left I found out the full meaning of the phrase “additional charges may be applied at the point of hire” when £750 was actually taken out of my account because Visa Electron is a debit card and therefore the waiver cannot be held by Hertz car hire! What a load of rubbish!
A Korean paterfamilias who pushed in to return his keys in the nicest and most polite way possible clearly did not believe anything that the Hertz man was saying about the “re-ferned” (sic) of his deposit– and who can blame him!
Starting a journey from the subterranean depths of a multi-storey car park is not the best way to get your GPS to cooperate and get you to your destination. Mine sulked until we were well on our (unaided) way to the south of the island until she grudgingly told us to continue on the way we had already chosen.
When we finally arrived at our hotel there was not a free parking space to be seen. We recklessly parked in a blue area and hoped for the best when we lurched into the hotel.
I had speculated that our room would not be ready as we were scheduled to turn up well before the magic time of mid-day. I was duly proved right and we were told that our room would be ready at 1.30 pm approximately.
We were prepared for this and merely asked that our cases be guarded and we would walk, drink and eat until the time was right.
At this point the person who was checking us in was told by a female on the phone to ask us if we required breakfast as we still had time to catch the meal!
Not only did we eagerly agree that we did indeed want breakfast but we also were given a magic card to access the free parking of the hotel.
Breakfast was excellent and clearly stood in for lunch. The blackout which occurred almost as soon as we sat down only delayed my cup of tea due to the professional approach of a waiter who also lavishly provided Cava when I said that would do instead!
When we had finished breakfast/lunch our room was magically ready and the sheer sensual luxury of a shower was a much more satisfying end to the meal than any cup of coffee!
We eventually walked through the extraordinary shopping-and-other-things centre that is next to our hotel and had a relaxing glass of beer in hot sunshine.
It is now gently raining.
Truly all human life is here!