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Forums Other Destination advice Half term in the Algarve, again – trip report by Froggee (paterfamilias)

  • Froggee 1,008 posts

    I am starting to think the boys spend more time on holiday than they do in school. But I did the numbers and this year it is 34 weeks of school and “only” 18 weeks of holiday. Given the cost of holiday club, it is practicality cheaper to go away. Obviously the cheapest option of staying at home and entertaining the boys ourselves is unthinkable.

    Due to a lack of imagination, I had booked to go back to our happy place, being Martinhal Sagres in the very south west of the Algarve. But the Irish scratch-card operator Ryanair had decided that they no longer wished to fly from Edinburgh to Faro at a civilised hour leaving me with a dilemma. How to get to Faro without waking up at three o’clock in the morning? There were no good options other than a private jet which I refuse to take for environmental reasons. That and being unable to afford a private jet given that I am unemployed retired.

    I let myself be suckered in by the unofficial slogan of the Sofitel T5, (“the holiday begins at the Sofitel”, or words to that effect). Therefore I chose British Airways flying out on a 2pm down to Heathrow and a 10:10am from Heathrow to Faro the next day. The flights cost:
    – 19,000 Avios + £70 for the four of us from Edinburgh to Heathrow
    – £402.04 for Mrs Froggee and the boys from Heathrow to Faro (hand baggage only)
    – £174.68 for me from Heathrow to Faro on a fare that allowed a suitcase to be put in the hold.

    So after a breakfast largely prepared by moi including a beautifully segmented grapefruit for Mrs Froggee, we had time for a leisurely trip to the play park on a bright but chilly Edinburgh morning. I continued my strong start to the day by procuring Mrs Froggee an unsolicited cup of tea for £2.20. Then a bit more packing and we were off at 11:14am exactly – one minute before the time at which I had hoped to depart. I chose the Edinburgh City bypass to give the car a bit of a run and we were at Edinburgh Airport’s mid-stay car park just within half an hour.

    The brain trust at Edinburgh Airport (slogan “never knowingly under monetised”) worked out the mid-stay wheeze a while back. They carved out a portion of the long-stay car park that was closest to the terminal, put in a separate entrance and charged more for this space. Like the idiot’s idiot I had forgotten to book parking until the end of August by which time Edinburgh Airport’s pricing algorithm knew I had to be punished. The short-stay and multi-storey car park were priced at a pain threshold in the ballpark of a full body wax. This left fast park (which is the one where a boy-racer takes your car away and leaves it in a muddy field) and the mid-stay option where you get to keep your keys but find that dragging a 24kg suitcase over tarmac for several minutes is quite hard work. I chose the mid stay car park on the basis that dragging a suitcase couldn’t be that bad. It was that bad and cost £85.49 for ten days parking. It would have been cheaper taking a taxi there and back but I don’t like taxis.

    Thanking my lucky stars it was dry, we eventually made it to the terminal where tensile barriers now occupy almost all of the floorspace of the check-in area. This meant it was single file only as we battled our way to the BA bag drop. After a modest wait, we dropped our bag which is now self-load as BA continues to follow Ryanair’s lead. We then made our way to security. I couldn’t remember if Executive Club silver members were allowed a guest at fast track and, not being one to risk humiliation, we therefore went for the family lane. It was busy but efficient, helped by me gaining a spot in the middle of the loading area which is a strategic advantage similar to conducting a sword fight from the higher ground. Mrs Froggee got shoe-fetished but apart from that we made it through without delay. Our prize was entry to the British Airways lounge at 12:17pm where we got to wait while the fellow in front of us inquired if it might be possible to move to an earlier flight. Tap, tap, pause. More tapping. Tap tap tap. Long pause. Tap. No sir, your seat is non-changeable. Oh right, yes, yes. Thanks for checking. Weirdly the boys waited patiently while this happened.

    I’m pleased to report that the British Airways lounge genuinely felt like an ocean of tranquility compared to the main terminal. Kermit did complain, of course. He had wanted to go to the Plaza Premium lounge as he has fond memories of the sausage rolls there. But we managed to make a perfectly acceptable lunch. Freddo even discovered a new cheese. The exotic Double Gloucester. Life was easier before he could read as rather than tell him it was Cheddar cheese which I could have done a couple of years ago, I had to say it was “just like Cheddar cheese”. Mrs Froggee commented that Freddo must have been thirsty as he had almost downed the contents of his water bottle. Nothing good ever comes from a child drinking lots of water before a flight.

    Mrs Froggee could not take the stress of waiting for boarding to be called so we de-lounged at 1:40pm. Just as we left they called our flight. Panic! Mrs Froggee charged to gate 10 at a speed I struggled to keep up with. We had two carry-on suitcases and, after dying alone, Mrs Froggee’s second-deepest-and-darkest fear is not getting her carry-on bag above her seat. Her speed was rewarded by us having to stand in cramped confines for even longer while they didn’t board our flight. Kermit complained. Eventually they boarded kids under five and extra-time-needed-ers. Kermit complained. Then a delegation of group 1s. Kermit complained. And then finally us #2s. As we went past Club Europe on our way to rows 16 and 17, Kermit complained about the sub-par seats we were in. There was barely space for our bags above us but praise be the lord, we managed. We then got to sit and wait for well over half an hour while everyone else boarded and the cabin crew rearranged the overhead lockers with the patience of angels. In this time I experienced two brutally bad bouts of halitosis from boarding passengers, one fart and body odour that was too lingering to come from anywhere other than a nearby seat.

    Eventually our 2pm flight pushed back at 2:45pm. Mrs Froggee was bravely sitting with the boys this time and administered Soor Plooms on take off. In case you do not know, Soor Plooms are a boiled sweet. I had made a special trip to the sweet shop the day prior where I had bought 100g of them and 100g of Cola Cubes. The cost was £2.10/100g which seemed rich for near-pure sugar but I guess the shop has high overheads being in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket. The shopkeeper (who was from Selkirk) did not have Hawick Balls. I’m sure there is a joke in there somewhere.

    Anyway, it didn’t take long before Freddo’s bladder wished to be vacated so off I trotted with him to the back of the plane where two members of the cabin crew and several passengers including us played Tetris with the trolleys and toilet doors. Freddo is apparently too small to go to the toilet by himself on a plane but way too big to fit comfortably with me in there as well so it was not fun. He has finally learned how to pee standing up but apparently not on planes as that is too scary. So I got to clean the toilet seat and then stand while Freddo repeatedly announced that no pee was coming. Just relax Freddo. But there’s no pee. You said you needed to pee. I do. So pee then. What happens if someone comes in? Freddo the door is locked and, quite frankly, there isn’t space for me, let alone anyone else, so I think you’re safe. Just relax and pee. Eventually Freddo experienced the joy of peeing. We both then got to experience the joy of washing our hands over a blocked basin. I then contorted to unlock the door and carefully backed out.

    I don’t know why but as I backed away from the throne I was reminded of how some Thai temples have incredibly steep steps up to them so that you cannot turn your back on Buddha as you leave. I digress.

    A kindly member of the cabin crew reversed her trolley about a dozen rows to allow us to be reseated and I must admit I was very disappointed to discover that not only had I missed the option of choosing between banana cake or flapjack but there had been no such option as it was still stupid pretzels which the aforementioned kindly member of cabin crew had left on my seat for me with the statutory 250ml bottle of water. Weirdly Kermit liked the pretzels.

    As we circled Heathrow, a member of the cabin crew cheerily notified selected passengers that they had missed their connections. Never book a tight connection at Heathrow. Never book a tight connection at Heathrow. Never book a tight connection at Heathrow.

    We landed, taxied for a bit and eventually got to the gate about 40 minutes late. I cannot remember flight pricing from when I booked but I can only assume that the flight down to Heathrow was expensive with cash as the smart thing to do would have been to book me on one ticket to Faro. As it was we had to collect the checked bag at Heathrow. The baggage hall smelled of wet dog which resulted in a formal written complaint from Kermit. We waited. And waited. And waited. Kermit complained. And complained. And complained. Kermit and Freddo played tig. The passengers from the Glasgow flight arrived and Kermit almost chased Freddo into a trolley which Freddo narrowly avoided by falling over. I asked the boys to stop playing tig. So Kermit went back to complaining. Some people asked the staff where the bags were. An announcement ensued informing us that they had “made a telephone call” and the bags would be coming any day now. The bags didn’t come. The Glasgow bags came. That flight had landed 24 minutes later than ours. Flashy Glaswegians with their rapid luggage delivery. A further PA announcement was made thanking us for our patience and saying the bags would be another 10-15 minutes. Kermit was now considering involving his lawyers, but seconds later the baggage carrousel started and our bag arrived. Yay.

    It was actually “only” 50 minutes since we had gotten off the plane but it felt much longer. Now for the easy bit. We made our way to the Sofitel, whilst being astounded that M&S Simply Food at Heathrow is open 24 hours. We encountered some Americans in the elevator whose luggage matched Mrs Froggee’s. They appeared to like children, or were at least very good at pretending to like children. For those not familiar, you step out of the elevator at the Sofitel to be greeted by a sweet shop. It is almost like they do it on purpose to annoy parents. Mrs Froggee went to restrain the boys while I went to check in. The Americans found this funny.

    At reception, a lady came out from behind the desk and swept me, in preference to the Americans, away to the priority check in area. I must have looked important as I had not mentioned my name or that I had taken Rob’s advice back in February and paid £65 for the old Ibis business card winning me Accor Gold status. Apparently one of the rooms was not ready because it was 5pm and when they had emailed asking when we might arrive I had said 3:30 pm. But a bit of tapping found a second free room near the first. The lady said she was very keen to keep me in upgraded rooms (I had booked two classic twin rooms for £156.25 each but was now receiving two superior twin rooms). She then gave the boys Sofitel kids’ activity packs and our key cards both of which had vouchers for two free drinks attached to them. I thanked her for being so kind.

    We got to our rooms at 5:15pm. I laughed at my naïveté in thinking I would be able to watch the England vs Fiji game which kicked off at 4pm. I checked the score. It looked like it was a good game.

    I had booked Vivre for 5:30pm so after toileting we made our way there. There was a short queue. When it was our turn, the maître d’ looked me in the eye and said “Mr Froggee?” without me so much as saying a word. Uncanny. We had not eaten there for more than five years and I do not remember the boys being that badly behaved.

    Service was both brusque and slow. Brusque when the waiter was with us and slow when he was in hiding. Our waiter was downright hostile when the four Americans at a table adjacent to us said one of them had received the wrong salad. “I read your order back to you so… mumble, mumble” and he walked off. When he read our order back to us I had barely understood a word but thankfully he got ours right. I had butter chicken which wasn’t as good as I remembered. Mrs Froggee had pork belly which wasn’t as good as she hoped. Freddo had a margarita pizza which was not pizza-shaped and Kermit had chicken nuggets and chips which, after a DNA analysis, was proven to be genetically identical to all other chicken nuggets and chips but unrelated to either chicken or potatoes. The peas which thankfully were in a separate container were passed to Freddo as Kermit hates it when people pea on his dinner. The waiting staff stoically avoided eye contact so we decided to dispense with any idea of dessert, instead saying we would pay a visit to the sweet shop which got the boys’ attention. Mrs Froggee eventually managed to flag down the waiter who took one of our two drinks vouchers and, in exchange, removed from the bill the cost of the beer and pot of tea we had consumed. Dinner was £75.37. This, of course, included 12.5% for the exemplary service but I decided not to fill in the gratuity section as to do so really would have been gratuitous.

    The sweet shop was open until 9pm which was lucky as it took the boys that long to decide what they wanted which was made more, not less, difficult by the shopkeeper being delighted to let them mix and match from various jars. £2.99 per 100g. Whilst expensive, it seemed a not unreasonable premium to Edinburgh.

    One sweet each, a bit of down time, and then Mrs Froggee bathed the boys while I went to M&S Simply Food where I paid £8.20 for four bananas, eight chocolate brioche, a combi pack of blueberries and raspberries and a pint of semi-skimmed milk. I figured paying 90p for milk was a worthwhile investment as I did not want Mrs Froggee to start the next day in a bad mood because of the hotel-provided UHT milk.

    I had insisted on sharing with Freddo as the last time I shared with Kermit, both nights he had woken me up in the middle of the night by switching his light on for no reason whatsoever. So I took Freddo, pleaded with him to stop jumping on the beds, read him stories, pleaded with him some more to stop jumping on the beds and got him locked down at 7:45pm which was a job well done. I then went to make poopoo but, within a couple of minutes, Freddo was screaming for me. He had managed to switch on all the room lights and now couldn’t switch them off. I switched the lights off. I went back to the toilet but it appeared that Freddo had spoiled my poopertunity. My sphincter had shut up shop for the night. Oh well, I was in good time to watch France vs South Africa which I managed to get on my iPad. I had positioned the desk chair by the bathroom door thinking it would be okay to have a little illumination from the bathroom lights but this was not acceptable to Freddo. So I moved into the bathroom, shut the door and ended up sitting in the empty bath watching the rugby on my iPad. Whilst suboptimal it still beat the prior weekend when I watched Scotland get destroyed by Ireland, in person, by myself, after my former best friend Mr McToadrick phoned me up when I was literally queueing at the gate at Edinburgh Airport to tell me he was not coming to Paris because his wife had a migraine.

    Sad face.

    After the rugby I went to bed but struggled to get to sleep. I have spent a fair few nights at the Sofitel and therefore was not expecting to get murdered so I guess a combination of the day’s travails and a blistering rugby match was not conducive to making me sleepy. I did eventually fall asleep which was lucky as otherwise Freddo could not have woken me when he switched on his bedside light in the middle of the night. The next morning when I asked him WHY??? It was apparently because he wanted to know how it worked. I know Scotland is backwards but we do now have electric lights with switches and everything. It was not okay, Freddo. Not. Okay.

    I woke ridiculously early so lay in bed listening to Freddo’s gentle snoring. He woke at 6:27am which was much better than expected. I had a shower and got changed and, more in hope than expectation, messaged Mrs Froggee at 6:54am to ask if I might be allowed some fresh milk for my tea. She replied immediately having already showered, so I imagine had similarly been Kermitted. My phone had failed to charge for unbeknownst reasons and was at 34% so I turned the lightning cable around and plugged it back in. It now decided to charge.

    We made a light breakfast and after retrieving my phone which had by then crawled up to 60% we headed to the terminal where bag drop was pretty quick as was security. We again avoided a secondary check and after some spirited debate went to Galleries North which was the right thing to do as the lounge dragon (very nice lady, to be fair) informed us that our gate was A11. The lounge was pretty full, scoring four out of five bodies on BA’s lounge-o-meter but we managed to secure a table and then partook in proper breakfast. Because life is a cliché, we all had porridge including Mrs Froggee who isn’t even Scottish. Everyone was happy with it except for Kermit who said it tasted like sludge. Erm, it’s porridge Kermit, Mrs Froggee had two cups of tea, I had an Americano with milk. We were just about functioning. Mrs Froggee then bravely went to Pret A Manger to buy lunch for us all. She claimed she had only bought four sandwiches and two pain aux raisins. I considered patting her down for mango pots but it would have been a shame to do so given that we had all avoided secondary screenings for once.

    We headed to gate A11 and had a giggle at the sign on the monitor asking us to take a seat. Um, where? And it did not look like we were going anywhere soon. At this point Mrs Froggee remembered that there was a Tiffany & Co in T5 and ran off. This, believe-it-or-not, is totally normal behaviour for Mrs Froggee. She was hoping to replace a necklace she had inadvertently left on a Qatar Airways flight along with a few thousand pounds of other jewellery. And some apple charging cables. And her AirPods. As you do. HSBC travel insurance had been pretty reasonable but a claims limit is a claims limit so Mrs Froggee had decided not to replace a couple of things but Tiffany still sold the exact same necklace her sister had bought her many years ago. Fair enough really. Mrs Froggee returned with a sad face as the shop did not have it. But it is in stock again online so she will buy it on our return home which will help her hit the 60,000 Avios sign up bonus on the BAPP Amex. She really doesn’t need any help. A target of £5,000 in three month is something that Mrs Froggee would probably cheerily limbo dance under rather than have to jump over.

    Eventually we boarded our plane and despite repeated threats over the PA system we were allowed to keep our suitcases which we managed to stow directly above us. This was a massive relief. There were no bad smells while the rest of the cabin boarded which resulted in me reaching a sad conclusion. Scottish people must be smellier than the English. The flight was a bit delayed but nothing disastrous and we eventually took off about 50 minutes after the official departure time.

    Mrs Froggee again chose to sit with the boys which was brilliant for me as I got to read the FT and type this in peace. The flight got even better as not only did I get my statutory 250ml bottle of water but also one of the fabled flapjacks. It looked bigger than in Rob’s picture. The woman across the aisle from me promptly launched hers onto the floor in a manner that implied she was not a fan of British Airways’ flapjacks. As it turned out neither was I – too sweet. Oh well, there is always banana bread to try.

    A few days earlier, I had been on the High Life shop website and paid £2.90 for a cup of tea to be brought to my seat. This arrived promptly and the cabin crew member seemed amused it was actually for my wife. The impression on Mrs Froggee’s face was one of sheer delight. She looked so happy I think she may actually have been okay if I said that I had booked myself into the Conrad Algarve and I would see them all at Faro Airport again in eight days. Obviously I would never do this because that would have been very expensive. But such was the delight a mere cup of tea resulted in, I think I might have gotten away with it.

    The woman across the aisle from me struck up a conversation by asking me if it was my flapjack she had found on the floor. Erm, no ma’am. Because the world is very small, it turned out she had been visiting my former boss in Scotland a few weeks prior. A very long chat ensued which Freddo interrupted with his adopt-me face a couple of times. I eventually ended the conversation as politely as I could at 20 minutes to landing explaining that I had better eat my lunch. My lunch was an egg mayonnaises sandwich which is the cheapest sandwich Pret A Manger sells. Because Mrs Froggee loves me that much. Our flight landed only ten minutes late which is as good as early for British Airways.

    The wait for immigration was a bit shorter than our previous visit. As a bonus, nobody in it appeared to be drunk and there was no profanity either. The lady from the plane was several behind us in the queue and every time we looped round and passed her again, she had a micro conversation with Freddo setting him a variety of challenges from the geographical to the mathematical. Freddo’s adopt-me face never fails to work. At the front of the queue we splintered off to the far side. Nice lady and her husband gave chase. Freddo was too busy looking for her to pay attention to the immigration official which resulted in him booming out “please, I need to see your ugly faces”. Apart from Kermit we found this very funny. Freddo then waited for nice lady while Kermit set off in search of the British Embassy to complain about Portuguese immigration. On catching him up, Kermit observed “wow, Freddo really has good social skills”. Yes Kermit, he does.

    Our bag arrived swiftly and after a near tearful farewell to nice lady we were off to meet our driver, secured for us by Martinhal for the bargain price of €135 (each way). The driver looked very familiar and as we left the car park I realised it was the fellow that almost made Freddo puke up with his driving a couple of visits ago. His driving was a bit smoother this time and we had medicated Freddo for this very eventuality so all was well. We arrived at Martinhal just before 3:30pm and we were officially on holiday.

    This time we were in a two bedroom “resort view”, upside down house which had a marvellous sea view albeit overlooking some other houses. I was content just sitting on the balcony. Our en-suite did have a couple of issues though. The toilet’s cistern rarely refilled after a flush. To get it to do so involved a robust negotiation with the push button. I was fine with this and preferred wiggling it, just a little bit, as opposed to having a Portuguese plumber turn up and spoil my harmony. The porcelain tank was secured to the wall with mastic so was non user-serviceable. At least without a trip to a hardware store. Therefore Mrs Froggee refused to use this toilet instead sharing with the boys. I considered this a real win. It turns out that Mrs Froggee’s third-deepest-and-darkest fear is leaving a stinker in the bowl for others to find. After a couple of days the basin then became blocked. I resolved this by using an empty five litre water bottle as a plunger and then pouring boiling water and washing up liquid down it. Portuguese plumber, I banish thee! Mrs Froggee then said she did not want to use that basin. Ever the supportive husband I told her not to be so daft.

    The only real change at Martinhal was that there had been an enhancement to the insect life. We still had the annoying flies although they were perhaps not quite as bad as the two previous visits. But for the first time, there were mosquitoes on the loose. Mrs Froggee did not like the mosquitoes which was a bit rude I thought, as the mosquitoes loved Mrs Froggee. I was bitten three times. The boys seemed unaffected. Mrs Froggee, on the other hand, was the meal of the day. Every day. One even had the audacity to bite her on the back of her neck during a spirited game of ping pong. Poor girl. The citronella sold in the Mercado did not seem to make any difference.

    Because Freddo and I are team players we walked along the beach and into Sagres where we procured a 30% DEET insect repellent, something to ease the itching, and one of these bands that don’t make one iota of difference but make you feel you are doing everything you can. It cost €31.55. Freddo offered to give me some money to contribute to this expense as it was to make his mummy feel better. It is rare moments like this that make me feel our parenting attempts are not entirely unsuccessful. Mrs Froggee then hid the DEET from me as I think she was concerned that if I used it also the mosquitoes might start targeting her again. The sad fact Mrs Froggee hoped to use me, the love of her life and father of her children, as a human shield was not lost on me. But I had exclusive use of a toilet so I didn’t care.

    Kermit was not delightful this holiday. Obviously he didn’t walk to Sagres with us. Because that is walking. And he didn’t play mini golf. Because, why would he? And he wanted to excuse himself from ping pong, preferring to go back to the holiday house by himself. This made me particularly sad as he was capable of delivering a wicked forehand smash when he could be bothered to pay attention. And he complained about everything. Relentlessly. He complained about €22 group tennis lessons and €27 individual swimming lessons despite later admitting he actually quite enjoyed these. All he wanted to do was stare at a screen and, if that was not allowed, play with his Lego. Except he complained that the internet was slower than at home, the TV was smaller than at home and that he had not been allowed to bring nearly enough Lego on holiday on account of Mrs Froggee wanting to bring clothes and stuff instead.

    Kermit did not complain about “Smashie Bros” however. Smashie Bros is a new game created one day when I tried to keep the two boys away from each other in the swimming pool because whenever they got close to each other they would fight. Smashie Bros involves “battling”, with me repeatedly throwing them away while they try to get to each other. Miraculously nobody got hurt. Apart from me obviously which does not count. Just a knee to the nose, a badly scratched back, myriad bruises, and enough blows to the kidneys to make me hark back to the halcyon days when Kermit preferred to hit me in the cojones.

    Speaking of pain, we have a saying that it is not a holiday unless Freddo sustains a head injury. I missed it this time but Freddo managed to get his foot stuck in a pinch point on a kerb bundling himself over, scoring a hat-trick of forehead, elbow, knee. Apparently he was very brave in his crying.

    And that was another holiday. Eight nights accommodation at a cost of €2,334.96 plus €1,452.86 for eight dinners, four breakfasts, two lunches, a fair few ice-creams and our Mercado shopping to fill in the gaps.

    I had chosen to fly back on a Tuesday as, somewhat randomly, Irish scratch card operator, Ryanair had a Tuesday flight that departed Faro at 2:40pm which is more sociable than their preferred 10-something-am or 8-and-a-bit-pm. For this I paid €316.54 for Mrs Froggee and Freddo to go no-frills and €386.26 for Kermit and me to go “priority-and-two bags” with two checked bags also.

    I loaded all our heavy stuff into the sturdier of our two carry-on cases and lightly packed the big suitcase. We got picked up at 10:45am by a nice Ukrainian taxi driver who was happy to practice her English which she said was much better than her Portuguese. We got to Faro airport at 12:10pm, and took just under 50 minutes to drop our two bags (where I was delighted to note the larger bag was 19.9kg and the smaller one a hefty 16.6kg), empty the boys’ water bottles, clear security, get our passports stamped, skittle through Faro’s duty free experience and make it to the lounge where Priority Pass was accepted with alacrity. There was much talk of pancakes by the boys which produced a genuine smile from the man at the front desk.

    You can imagine the boys’ disappointment when they discovered the pancake machine had been replaced by a microwave. The man from the front desk came out and showed the boys where they had moved the pancake machine to. Phew. A national emergency narrowly averted as Kermit could not deal quietly with such a betrayal. We had a leisurely but fairly poor quality lunch and then headed to our gate. Mrs Froggee bought emergency food from PAUL and I paid €4.40 for two bottles of water from a vending machine as Mrs Froggee and I had not brought our water bottles this trip. We were made to suffer the hardship of being bussed to our plane. Kermit came with me in the priority-and-two-bags queue and Mrs Froggee went with Freddo. Given that the priority bus driver tried to kill us with emergency stops alternated with flooring-it, I was relieved when the other half of our family safely joined us on the plane. Kermit was initially traumatised as there was a sweet wrapper on his seat. Zero resilience that boy. I brushed it off for him and only then did he sit down. We took off on time on what was the most sedate Ryanair flight I have ever been on. Maybe Tuesday afternoons do not attract the stag/hen party crowd. The cabin crew were lovely. The wee girl behind me only kicked my seat a teeny bit. And the baby behind her only cried for a few minutes. I was between Kermit and Freddo who enjoyed bonding with their iPads. At 3:45pm I was instructed by Mrs Froggee to give the boys half a ham and cheese baguette each. Kermit removed the cheese and handed it to me for disposal and then ate his. Freddo removed his cheese and ate it. He then removed his ham and ate it. I was asked me to remove the unbuttered top half of his baguette (which I was to dispose of) and Freddo then finally ate the buttered bottom half. Whatever works I guess.

    After some gentle persuasion, both boys agreed to make pre-landing peepee. This time Freddo’s initial concerns about pee anxiety were quickly superseded by the joy of peeing. Anyway, Ryanair flight FR5668 was entirely uneventful and landed at 5:42pm, an impressive 13 minutes early. The boys were made to put on their hoodies, partly because we were now back in Scotland, but mainly because I did not want to carry them off the plane along with everything else. In doing so Freddo managed to grope the bottom of the lady in front of him which apparently you can get away with when you are a child. We then got to climb the stairway to nowhere and walk along the corridor of doom on top of Edinburgh airport where we were delighted to merge in with another arriving flight. Despite this our descent into immigration was impressively swift and our bags arrived promptly. We exited the airport at 6:15pm. I put my Ryanair-approved small cabin bag on top of the 16.6kg bag, bowed my head and charged, pulling 40kg+ of luggage behind me. It took five minutes to get to my car by which point my forearms were failing. Note to self: mid-stay car park = a false economy. At least it was dry.

    Given the hour, we had dinner at the Scottish restaurant which cost £25.34. It was probably the highlight of the boys’ holiday. Maybe we could have just stayed home, gone there every day and saved five grand? I had forgotten how wrong the milkshakes taste but it is not about me. And that was that really. We were home just before 7:30pm where it transpired that, for once, I had correctly programmed holiday mode on the central heating.

    Weirdly the fact that nothing whatsoever went wrong on our journey home left me feeling deeply unnerved. I slept poorly that night.

    The end.

    The Savage Squirrel 610 posts

    Great trip report! “Poopertunity” 😀

    “Scottish Restaurant” – even though I’ve never heard this before I instantly knew where you meant :D. Weirdly, although the milkshakes do taste of some sort of industrial chemical solvent, I still quite like the allegedly banana one.

    Lady London 2,172 posts

    EDI airport “Never Knowingly Undermonetised” and stvffed with other choice digs. Best trip report so far Froggee.

    But worryingly, your boys seem so much better behaved now? Will holidays be so interesting in the future if they keep this up Froggee?

    Rui N. 883 posts

    Damn, your holiday clubs are expensive. Mine at the school are £25 until 4PM and £32 until 6.

    robkeane 79 posts

    So on the way out, instead of getting up at 3am and flying direct from EDI, you paid for 8 flights instead of 4, paid £300+ for two rooms, £75 for dinner, lost a day, and got up at 6:30am the following day.

    Sounds reasonable 🙂

    lollyfry 50 posts

    I love reading your reports, thank you @froggee for writing them!

    Mel TS 81 posts

    This has made my Friday. Thank you for taking the time to write these 🙂

    elguiri 222 posts

    Thanks @Froggee for another great instalment of the ongoing saga of your amphibian life. Beats the Friday BOFH episodes on a popular Tech site.

    AJA 1,149 posts

    Yet another great trip report. Glad it went well.

    Misty 311 posts

    Thank you so much, was laughing out loud. Best trip report I have read since your last one. I would have added a smiley icon, but have no idea where they are.

    John 1,090 posts

    I paid for 5 days parking at EDI this summer. After it was too late to cancel, I realised that I had only needed to pay for 4 days because there is a grace period of 8 hours. Froggee arrived at noon and left at 7pm so could have taken advantage of this.

    Peter K 619 posts

    I paid for 5 days parking at EDI this summer. After it was too late to cancel, I realised that I had only needed to pay for 4 days because there is a grace period of 8 hours. Froggee arrived at noon and left at 7pm so could have taken advantage of this.

    Doesn’t take much to have a flight delayed by an hour unexpectedly though.

    cabal of rabid baboons 110 posts

    As always , an entertaining read from froggee

    Colin MacKinnon 301 posts

    If coming from Glasgow etc, you can park free at Harthill services for as long as you like – is this the only motorway services that allows this? – and take the airport bus.

    Or if in Edinburgh, park just before the Maybury off the Glasgow Road and take the airport bus.

    Not advised with young cost-centres though!

    WaynedP 258 posts

    Delightful read, as always, thanks. A nice, entertaining bonus to pass the time as I await our airport-bound taxi in the delightful Gewandhaus Dresden.

    Sign me up to the waiting list for the heavily anticipated Anthology of Froggee Family Anecdotes please.

    Random Punter 12 posts

    Thank you Froggee – this has cheered up a dark November day. Is Kermit 8ish by any chance? My son (now 9) also enlivened last year’s summer holiday by complaining for Britain all day, every day. It wasn’t wearing in the slightest. Thankfully it seems to have been a short-lived phase, which has now been superseded by the unceasing holiday running commentary on everything phase…

    Froggee 1,008 posts

    Good morning all. I did not mean to be rude by not replying:

    @RandomPunter – Kermit is now ten but has been complaining for Scotland for a good few years now. We get our running commentary from Freddo. It is what it is. I have concluded you get what you are given. Nature over nurture and all that. I kid you not, if Freddo is off school sick, then it is unfair that Freddo doesn’t have to go to school and Kermit does. Whereas if Kermit is off school, it is unfair that Freddo gets to go to school and have lots of fun while Kermit is expected to do home learning by himself. Thankfully they are rarely off school.

    – believe it or not, Mrs Froggee self-published the first year’s worth of trip reports (with added photos), printed a single copy and presented it to me for my birthday. It is obviously for her, not me, given that I write these as a sort of therapy. You see, a wise psychotherapist once told me to stop internalising stuff. You can’t get more external than this. I was slightly nervous that one of the boys might pick up the book and start reading it but Mrs Froggee has retaken possession and it is now well hidden. She has, on occasion, threatened to click on the “publish online” button which would mean that anybody could buy the book. I’m sure nobody would but it’s got photos!

    @ColinMacKinnon – I used to be fortunate enough that the airport bus dropped me off five minutes walk from my flat. Even so I still grudged the fiver return which seemed outrageous 20 years ago.

    I have been availing myself of the bonus period for a wee while but unless I’m going daft (very likely), I think they might have removed it. It was still live for this trip’s parking but I deemed it too tight time wise. For the life of me I can’t see it in the parking Ts&Cs yet it very much was there. You can still arrive up to two hours early but no sign of the six hour departure extension. This warrants a small sad face although for longer parking periods an extra day doesn’t put a huge dent on the price whereas am overstay fee is chastening.

    you nailed it. But I have to say it felt a relatively civilised 24 hours. In the words of Drake, who I know @JDB rates as highly as Homer and Dante:

    Sometimes it’s about going there, not getting there.
    Sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination.
    And sometimes when you get there, you’ll look back and realise that you wish you could go there again.

    Many thanks everyone else. Wish me luck for the panto this year.

    strickers 762 posts

    Just remember that with children, the first 21 years are the worst.

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