Monday 25 July 2016


            the action or process of packing something.
            "she finished her packing”

As opposed to packed. Which seems frightfully final.

I’d made a list which was good, right? And this list had stopped morphing so it must be complete. Not only that but I knew where everything was and, naturally that any clothes fitted. Needless to say my laissez faire approach was driving a number of people slightly nuts as I stubbornly refused to move from my current stage 2 of packing to the final stage.

I really wasn’t in the mood. And I’d only end up unpacking to find something that I shouldn’t have packed yet because I actually needed it.

If you’re wondering the stages are

  1. Thinking about packing. This is a whimsical state of mind where we consider what is going to happen and hence what you might need.
  2. Writing a list. Now this bit can go on for some time and as it was the unexpectedly summery weather that struck the UK in the latter days of stage 2 meant that I had refined what I felt I needed
  3. Actually packing
  4. Weighing the bag
  5. Deciding what you need to ditch and then going back to 4 until you can move on
  6. Getting dressed and rushing to stop LK just in time to catch the bus for the station.
Obviously that last step needs altering for those that don’t live in Limehouse Basin.

So when of the main why-aren’t-you-packed-yet protagonists suggests having a bon voyage drink by the river you accept, there is after all a serious point to be made here…

A few hours and strawberry ciders later I was feeling very mellow, giggly and really not in a fit state to do stage 3. However that wasn’t a problem as my flatmate had remembered to turn off the oven that contained the sausages I’d chucked in before heading to The Narrow so I proceeded to hash together dirty beenz on toast with sausages. The perfect meal.

This helped immensely.

By now it was way past 9pm which was good as I’d already decided that if I wasn’t sorted and in bed by 9pm I wouldn’t be going to sleep. As it turned out this was an excellent plan. With my flatmate wishing me a good night I slowly leapt in to action gathering together all of the items on the list and placing them on my bed - thus preventing me having just a moment - whilst I also decided what to actually wear and showered. The showering was because I’d not actually checked everything fitted and I didn’t want to try things on with a disgustingly sweaty body. I know, too much information.

By midnight I had reached stage 4 and fortunately was underweight even with the iBastard in place. Ladies and Gentlemen: I. Was. Packed.

And running out of time.

According to Google there was a bus in twelve minutes and another in about 45. I was still in my underwear.


I elected to go for the later one. As it was I was leaving very early as I intended to meet Clare’s brother, sister-in-law and nephew at Gatwick at 02:30 so they could collect some things she’d asked brought back which needed to go in the hold. Easy.

I even had enough time to take my things off the clothes horse and carefully dump them on my bed. Because I’m classy like that.

I stood with my handbag, flight bag and hat and mentally went through the list. Actually I checked that I’d left nothing on the bed and knew where my passport, Oyster and purse were. To be honest I didn’t need anything else. In fact I could have done with just my passport and purse. Such is the modern world.

I was off!

Fortunately it’s just a few minutes to stop LK and I waited patiently until a number 15 rolled up to take me to Ludgate Circus and then a quick walk to Blackfriars. As I was earlier than originally planned it was yet to become a night bus. Which has to be a bonus.

The weird thing with London is you might look at a map and have no idea whatsoever what to do but on the ground you know exactly where you are and with a flood of memories you march off in the right direction. To avoid recent escapades with buses I’d checked something I thought I saw on my last trip and sure enough I could use my Oyster to get to Gatwick so no more faffing around with the wrong train, just turn up, touch-in and get on.

I am completely awake.
Except that the bloody train stopped about ten miles from where I was waiting. Goodness knows how long those trains usually are! I, along with a mostly bunch of others, scampered down the platform to catch up with the train.

Now all I had to do was not fall asleep.

Finally at Gatwick I waltzed through to the Norwegian desks, checked in, got my ticket and waited. I knew the others were en-route as I was getting a constant text update from Clare’s sister-in-law but frankly it was boring. There was a moment of “oh jeez” as I saw a particularly bawdy bunch of lads hanging around in the same area so I was grateful to see that they were heading to Florida.

Sorry Florida.

In a bid to stave off the tiredness I went in search of a chilled coffee. My first attempt was Marks and Spencer. Waste of time, they had none whatsoever. I headed to WH Smith, they were bound to have some and they did! Unfortunately it - as was the fridge - was decidedly warm. There was only one last option without actually going to a coffee place… Boots.

As Goldilocks would have said, their’s was just right.

Cold and coffee like.

I headed back to my waiting spot. And waited.

Finally they turned up, checked the luggage and we all headed off in search of a cup of tea as it was too early to go through security. This was definitely the downside of turning up early for an 05:35 flight.

Surprisingly I waltzed through security, no bings, no search, no problems with my bag. Id even had an easy time of getting things in to the transparent bag! The problem came at the far side. I’d lost the others and I had no idea if that was because they were behind me somewhere or had already gone through. I decided that I’d wait until the either they turn up or the flight was called…

It wasn’t necessary. Eventually they turned up and apparently there had been much searching of bags and persons. Clearly I’m a very honest looking packer. We wandered through passing the shiny things in not-quite-duty-free and found the flight board to see when the gates would be called.

We were the first on the board. We also wouldn’t be called until 04:45 so enough time to wander and find a bottle of water for the flight. By now I’m starting to feel decidedly tired, I’ve been awake nearly 24 hours and the lubricating effect of the strawberry cider was now a distant memory. But I knew that I had to wait until the flight  before I could even consider having a snooze. Oh well.

Finally we were called to gate 10 so off we trotted to be - as it turned out - very early in the queue. Which isn’t a bad thing as it meant I was sat right by the door for the plane, important as it was a full flight and I really wanted to make sure my bag was stowed with the minimum of stress.

All went well except for one minor detail, when I got on the plane all of the overhead lockers were open and I put my bag in to what looked like my seat area and sat down. I’ll admit I’d struggled to read the numbers properly close up and had managed to confuse myself and sit in 28 instead of 29. There’s a reason why I usually sit at the front. As the plane filled I was fairly sure I was going to have to move. Awkward. Even more awkward was that the two lads in the row were I should have been had decided as nobody was there yet they would take the seat. Ahuh. They moved. I strapped myself in. Closed my eyes and…

…woke up to see the Austrian Alps down below.

Well that was a bonus. It did mean that I’d missed my usual drink of champagne, but seriously I was tired enough to sleep on a flight. Me! As the rest of the plane snoozed I connected to the WiFi and began nattering with the travelling one who was en route to Dubrovnik airport to meet us.

As we slid into Croatia I could see places I recognised to my right, first the island of Krk where I’d been in March, then Split before with a pause the engines slowed and the plane began its descent. We were nearly there!

Once landed we re-grouped and I left the others waiting for their luggage as I went to meet Missy at arrivals so we could have a few minutes catch-up before the task of getting us all to Šipan.

The plan had been for us to get the shuttle bus to Dubrovnik harbour. The problem was the queue for tickets was almost as long as the distance we needed to go. In the end we decided the best thing to do was get a taxi as with there now being five of us it wouldn’t work out too expensive. Still more than the bus, but better than waiting in a queue and we *did* have a ferry to catch plus we needed to buy food.

On the plus side the taxi driver said he would drop us at the Konzum so it all worked out nicely.

We split in to three teams, one would watch the bags, two would go and buy food for the main party and I would get snacks etc. for my room as I was staying somewhere else. Inevitably I also found the fizz so loaded up on that, picked up what I needed and headed to pay and then swap places with the watcher. 

With the last of the supplies sourced we grouped outside, loaded bags and headed for a bar near the ferry for refreshments. In the form of beer. There are worse ways to do a shopping trip.

The beer flowed nicely, food was sought for the youngest in the party, hats were found and bought and the clock ticked slowly as we awaited for transport to the island. It turned out that the usual ship was a bit broken so we were on an older model that had character galore. A proper diesel clunker that had seen many, many days. It didn’t matter if it got us to our destination. And had a loo.

We had to stop at a couple of places en route which gave a good flavour for the area. Though I didn’t really take it in as by now exhaustion was winning the war and I kept drifting to sleep. Needless to say I was grateful to arrive at Sutured harbour so I could head off and find my billet. And sleep.

The fly in the ointment was that I was utterly ignored by the waiting staff in the place one of the people ignoring me turned out to be the owner. Not a great start by any stretch of the imagination. Eventually the young girl serving deigned to talk to me and then went wandering off to find the one I suspected of being the owner.

To add insult to injury he said “ah, you must be my guest”… It’s great being invisible.

Oh well. The room was nice, the view great and I fell in to a deep sleep for several hours.

As you do.

No comments:

Post a Comment