D is for daughter

I have been feeling the need to write something new on here. What could I write about? I didn’t have a clue, then I remembered that back in February 2013 I came up with the idea, following something that Pete Denton had written. Whenever I don’t have a subject to write about I will take the next letter of the alphabet and write a post using that letter. Starting with this post here then going on to letters B and C. Now comes the turn of D. Each time I said to myself D is for … I just kept coming up with the word Daughter. Why could that be? There are many other words I could have chosen but Daughter is the one that I keep hearing in my mind.

Daughter, well I am one. I hope I am a good one although I have never been the perfect daughter, I do try to be the best that I can be. I see some of my friends posting messages to their wonderful daughters on facebook. I don’t have any daughters of my own. I do have one step daughter though, Missy M. Over the last few years since I met Owl, I have had many skype chats with Missy M (who lives in California with her mother and brother and their new family). Last year I was lucky enough to spend two weeks in California for our honeymoon. During that time we spent several days with Missy M, which enabled me to get to know my new step daughter without having a computer screen between us. Five weeks later Missy M and family were in the UK for three weeks so again we were able to spend time with them.

I particularly enjoyed her first visit to our home. She was amazed to see so many things that were familiar to her as well as things that were new to her. She loved our home, she also got on well with my sons, now her step brothers. Poor girl now has one brother and six step brothers and one step sister. Its a good thing that both her parents were past having new babies with their new partners.

I have also come to the realisation in recent months that although none of my boys have married they do have girlfriends who they feel will be their life partners. Prodigal and Model have been together for 10.5 years and although they don’t have that piece of paper that makes it official they are in a committed relationship. I guess that makes Model my daughter in law in all but name.  In a few weeks time Prodigal and Model are moving to London with two of their friends. The house/flat viewings begin this week. Prodigal will be able to get more work in London and hopefully Model will find more opportunities in the fashion industry once they are in the big smoke.

Statto and his girlfriend (who has just qualified as a primary school teacher) will also begin viewings for a new home together, with another couple, in south London, in a few weeks. Whilst Statto and Miss Effervescent have been together a little under a year they already believe that they are a match made in chemistry.

Not to be out done by his elder brothers, Pug and his Princess, have plans to live together next year (their third year at Uni). This year they feel they must concentrate on their studies. They will be living in different student houses in Oxford this year but still try to spend time together when they are neither studying nor working. He has no doubts that Princess will one day become his wife.

It seems that although I don’t have any daughters I do have three young ladies, whom I can consider to be my daughters in law. Not forgetting the lovely Missy M who is my step daughter.

I hope that in the years to come I shall get on as well with my ‘daughters’ as my mother does with my sisters in law.

Update

it is now April 2020

Prodigal and Model are now living in Brighton with their baby daughter

Statto and Miss Effervecent now own their own flat in North London where they live with their toddler son who is going to be a very grown up 2 year old next week. Oh and they got married 6 months ago.

Pug has not been with his Princess for a few years now but still lives in Oxford

Skater has been with his girlfriend miss cadbury since they began University they have now been in their flat near the seaside for nearly 2 years.

Time

I can’t believe it, the time has gone so fast.

It is almost two months now since we got back from California and I still have not had time to finish writing about that experience.

When we came home it was going to be about 5 weeks before my step children arrived in the UK for a 3 week visit. Last night they were here for a farewell meal with myself and Owl along with Skater and Pug, (my younger two sons.) Today we are meeting up with Missy M and Mr T briefly for the last time for who knows how long. Tomorrow they fly back to California and we will be back to relying on skpe and email.

It has been great to see them here and show them our new home. It has been good for them to meet 3 out of 4 of my son’s their new step brothers. It has been great creating new memories and cementing relationships.

During the three weeks they have been here there have been a number of get togethers for  different combinations of family members, including an evening up on the hill looking out over Portsmouth eating ginormous burgers. An afternoon of tenpin bowling and a weekend visit to our beach retreat.

I only hope that time will be kind to us and we will manage to be together on the same side of the pond again in the not too distant future.

Beached

Monday 10th June 2013

Monday morning saw the return of the sun, much to our relief, we did’t come here for cloud we could get that back at home. We had a leisurely morning before having a drink at McNear’s. We decided to return to our room for a picnic of cheese, meat and crackers.  We had been to the local Safeway store enough times that the staff were beginning to remember us. After lunch we decided to drive to the beach that Missy M had taken us to a week earlier.

Driving along with the roof down we once again congratulated ourselves on upgrading to a mustang convertible.  It was mid-afternoon when we parked up, the sun was warm, we were happy. To our dismay we discovered that the tide was in making the beach inaccessible from the road way. I was quite happy taking endless photos and even a video of the water lapping at the rocks.

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I was watching the water and some surfers over to my right whilst Owl spoke to surfer who had just arrived. He told Owl that we could reach the main beach by going back up the road and through the village and following the road round. I thought this house looked very quaint with its rocking chair on the front porch.IMG_0885 rounding the corner we found the centre of the village. Owl went in search of a restroom while I sat in the community garden waitingIMG_0886 and waiting. IMG_0887 Then I saw Owl walking across the street a little way off so I moved along to wait for him near to the establishment he had entered. IMG_0892 Still I waited, I watched the locals from a distance feeling that it would be best if I didn’t go too near.(Owl later told me that it was not the kind of place women should enter)”You wouldn’t have liked it. It was a real hicksville bar full of men with long beards and brown dungarees cussin” I crossed the street again to the local gallery. These tiles on the doorstep intrigued me. IMG_0890IMG_0889 back across the street so that Owl would see me when he finally emerged I took this view down the street we had yet to investigate.IMG_0893 After what felt like an age Owl emerged and walked across the street to where he had earlier left me. I scuttled back there to grab his arm and lead him back in the direction we were supposed to be going. Rounding the bend we were met with this vista, the entrance to Bolinas Lagoon.IMG_0894 IMG_0895 we both found this house fascinating. I am sure it would make a good setting for one of those find the object games. IMG_0898 Across the street we found this unexpected gem.IMG_0897 I loved this place, what lucky people to live here with views across the lagoon entranceIMG_0899  towards the hills behind Stinson beach. IMG_0900IMG_0901 A moment later we were back at the ocean. You can see quite clearly where the lagoon meets the open sea.IMG_0902 It was lovely to feel the warm sand under my bare feet and the water was very refreshing too.IMG_0615 Missy M had told us that she loves the graffiti that is found at Bolinas Beach and I can see why. Every piece of concrete lining the base of the cliff behind the beach is cover in wonderful and varied colours and intricate designs.IMG_0912  IMG_0913 this was my favouriteIMG_0914 we also saw a couple of signs that we have never seen anywhere before and probably won’t again.IMG_0612 andIMG_0915 By the time we reached the place where we had started the tide had gone out far enough for us to safely reach the slipway without getting wet feet.IMG_0920 We had spent a lovely afternoon in the sun looking out at the pacific ocean from what we had been told was the 2nd best beach in the area. Now it was time to drive back to base and walk over to the diner for our evening meal and the pleasant company of the staff who we were now getting to know quite well.

Peggy Sue Adventure

 

Sunday 9th June 2013

After our adventures of the previous day we had a pretty quiet Saturday morning. Missy M had called the night before to tell us that the annual art and music festival would be in Novato and we should go. We visited our favourite diner Pepper’s for a late brunch of omelette for me and waffles for Owl.IMG_0757

Wandered back to our room and waited for the call to go and meet Missy M.

By the time we arrived at the festival the temperature was a massive 100 degrees, which is not good for walking about. We were all melting, I am sure we all shrank a few inches during the afternoon. There were lots of interesting stalls to look at. Missy M bought herself a dress and some earrings.  We all found this stand very intriguing.

IMG_0760 my favourites wereIMG_0759 Owl likedIMG_0463and thisIMG_0465

We walked from one end of the street to the other where we left Owl to listen to a live band playing while we went in search of ice cream from Missy M’s favourite ice cream store.  It was a blessed relief going into this air conditioned store full of every kind of sweet you could ever imagine and the sweet scent lingering in the atmosphere was hypnotic.  Missy M chose her tub of two kinds of ice cream and I had two kinds of sorbet which I felt would be more refreshing. Grabbing a bottle of water for Owl we headed back along the hot road to find my husband enjoying the music.

Cold desserts (rapidly melting) in our hands we meandered along back in the direction of the mustang. We had seen everything we could muster up the enthusiasm to see, it was just too hot to do much else. Even just walking at a slow pace felt like wading through treacle.

Once back at the car we decided it was time to collect Mr T which we duly did. I wouldn’t recommend travelling with father and daughter when the daughter knows her way around and the father doesn’t. Giving vague directions and not paying full attention to directions can lead to an interesting situation. With help from Mr T we finally found our way to a part of town we hadn’t seen before and a retail park that included several eateries.  We found ourselves at Pasta Pomoro one of Missy M’s favourites. Both teenagers chose a pasta dish whilst Owl and I both had a soft drink only as we were not hungry. It was nice to sit in partial shade just relaxing and chatting.

We were feeling tired and the teenagers had things to do so once the table had been cleared and left over pasta boxed up to take away we dropped them home and drove back to Petaluma and an early night. We were planning a busy day for Sunday.

Later we received a message that Missy M had left her makeup bag and car key in the mustang. She didn’t need them immediately but could we drop them off in the morning. Which of course we did even though Novato is in the opposite direction to Santa Rosa which was our chosen destination for that day. Whilst at the starlight the other evening we had picked up a free paper. Reading this we had discovered that Peggy Sue’s All American Cruise event was being held from Thursday to Sunday.

This morning the sky was looking a bit glum but we were confident that it would improve. Having completed our mercy mission we turned back north along Route 101 which didn’t actually take very long at all. Soon we were pulling into the designated car park. Already Owl was getting excited just seeing the cars parked around us, before we even got into the show itself.

There were mustangs, challengers, Bel airs, and corvettes every which way you looked. A slow walk through the car park to the field of cars, cars, cars and yet more cars. Owl was in his element. I won’t bore you with all the cars we saw, but here are a few.IMG_0764Since we arrived in California Owl kept talking about cars wearing a bra IMG_0787this was what he meant.IMG_0788IMG_0800bet you haven’t seen many cars that colour.IMG_0797and lastlyIMG_0803The weather never did improve, we were so glad we had our hoodies from the previous weekend. We didn’t see all the cars on display but after a couple of hours we decided that we had seen enough and besides which our feet were aching. Time to go back to Petaluma and call into Peppers for a drink and a slice of home made mandarin cream pie to share mmmmm.

mandarine cream pie

Meeting Texas

Tuesday 4th June 2013

After a good night’s sleep we lazed in bed watching tv, before wandering off to find the local shops. It was time to begin a bit of retail therapy. First stop was Payless shoe store, I needed new sandals and some flat shoes for anytime we might go walking. Owl needed some lighter shoes than the boots he had brought with him. He loves his Caterpillar Boots but it was just too hot to wear them all the time. I had to check with the sales lady which sizes we were looking for. Something I should have done back home before we flew out.  I settled on a pair of striped slip-ons and Owl got some canvas Oxfords.

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Next stop Ross Stores where I bought some black sandals and Owl bought some shorts and t-shirts. After this we just had a mooch around for a while before heading back to our hotel to await our lunch guests. By the time they arrived it was about 2pm but it didn’t take long for the four of us to pile into the mustang with the roof down and head into downtown Petaluma to Missy M’s favourite place to eat,  McNear’s . Today was the day fathers dread.

Meeting the boyfriend for the first time. Missy M and Texas have been together for 3 years but this was the first time Owl got to meet Texas. He seems to be a very confident and pleasant young man. The two young people obviously care about each other. Conversation between the four of us flowed easily. The food was very nice and very plentiful. Owl, Missy M and I all chose taco salad I have never seen such a huge taco shell.

IMG_0680We realised once our food was in front of us that we really should have shared.

After we had all filled our bellies as much as we wanted to we had a walk up and down the street window shopping. We had of course to enter those dens of iniquity that lure our men folk through their doors. A couple of music shops. Here are a few of the guitars we saw there.

IMG_0683  Missy M and I both loved the pink oneIMG_0682this one I took through the window so it hasn’t come out too well but the design was very pretty.

IMG_0681 Owl particularly liked this upside down guitar.

Texas had to be somewhere else so we drove back to the hotel where we said our goodbyes and that was the last we saw of Texas during our trip.

Moving on to Patagonia

Monday 3rd June 2013

We had only booked 3 nights at our hotel  before we flew out to California. We wanted to have the freedom to move around during our stay if we so wanted. My step children’s step father had helpfully drawn up a list of hotels for us to look at in a nearby town.  So as Monday morning dawned we managed to get ourselves not only out of bed but packed and checked out of the hotel by 9.30am

We decided to have breakfast at McDonalds, so I set the Sat Nav to find the nearest  Macky D’s which turned out to be on the far side of town. I had my first taste of Blueberry and pomegranate smoothie which was delicious.

It was still fairly early so we decided to just follow the road to see where it went. We were due to meet up with Missy M later in the day. We drove for miles along the same road following hills and valleys. After some time I plugged in the Sat Nav for directions to the town of Novato where we would meet up with Missy M. Owl couldn’t believe it when he saw a sign for Laurel Canyon (not the one in Los Angeles). In a previous era of his life he had owned the album Blues from Laurel Canyon by John Mayall. I had better not tell him that this was not The Laurel Canyon, but hey it is still in California.

Reaching a modest shopping centre we called Missy M who knew exactly where we were and joined us a few minutes later. It was then decided that she would show us the local beach. I assumed that this beach would be on the edge of San Pablo Bay, but it did seem to be taking us much longer to get there than we had expected.  45 minutes later we arrived at Bolinas, we parked just a short distance from the beach itself. Missy M told us that it was a popular beach for surfing. Whilst there we watched a couple of fishermen with their rods set up near the slipway.IMG_0674

Not long after we arrived we watched as one of the men reeled in his catch. A sting ray, while one man held onto his rod the other unhooked the fish. He tried to put it back into the sea but the waves brought it back. The three of us watched in horror as the poor creature lay flapping helplessly at the edge of the water. The ebbing tide not managing to take it back to sea. We knew that before long it would die. Sadly there was nothing we could do.IMG_0675

Driving back from the beach we discussed the list of hotels that Missy M’s step father had kindly printed out for us. We were moving on to a nearby town which Owl just could not get his mind around the name of, he kept referring to the town of Petaluma as Patagonia. It begins with a P but there the similarity ends.

Having dropped Missy M off back at her car we took the back road to Petaluma. We were planning to book into Step dad (SD)’s recommendation Hotel Petaluma. Using Sat Nav we found the road where this hotel was situated. The entrance was a little on the shy side, hiding among nail bars etc. Opening the door we stepped into what appeared to be a an office with the dated appearance of a throw back to the 1920’s. I have just looked up the history and indeed the hotel does date back to the late 1920s.

There was a jovial silver surfer (older gentleman) sat behind a huge desk who when asked about booking a room said he had to phone someone. He then proceeded to speak to a woman on a mobile (cell phone) which he then passed to Owl. The woman told Owl she would be there in 20 minutes to show us a room. Having been on the road for hours I was by this time desperate and asked if there was a restroom I could use. I was directed to a door at the end of the office. It was like going into a cupboard under the stairs. It took me a while to find the light switch as it as covered in the same ancient wallpaper as the walls.

We made our excuses and left. Owl has since described Hotel Petaluma as having the appearance of ‘The Addams Family House’. Next we thought we would try our luck at the local Best Western. Half an hour later we were unpacking our luggage at the Best Western. The very helpful receptionist told us that they had an agreement with the local diner for 20% discount for BW guests.

We were made very welcome by the staff at Pepper’s restaurant. For dinner that evening Owl wanted a bowl of soup but was astounded when he was offered either a sandwich or salad to go with it. Finally he agreed to have a salad, expecting a small side salad. Nope he got enough salad to feed a family. My chili n’ cheese potato was the biggest potato I have ever had, it too was served with enough salad for a family.

Needless to say we didn’t go to bed hungry that night.

Muscle with a grin

Sunday 2nd June 2013

Sunday started bright, sunny and warm. We were both in good spirits. Owl was feeling stronger almost back to his usual self. The only down for me was when I looked in the mirror and saw the black bags under my eyes. The bruises from my fall on Friday were making themselves obvious. I had been sleeping with a cold flannel draped across my face in the hope of lowering the swelling. Oh well if bruising was the only price I had to pay for examining the airport floor with my nose then I was getting away with it lightly. My left hand was still and is still painful but I don’t think I broke anything so I am relieved about that.

After a drink and a snack that we had bought from the gas/petrol station the night before, Owl called a cab to take us to the local bus station. We were informed that our bus would be here in a few minutes. An hour later it arrived, sitting on a wall in the bus station for an hour in the middle of a hot Sunday, I was beginning to gain a little redness on my shoulders. Our bus took a circuitous route calling in at places with names like Larkspur landing (I would like to go back there to investigate more one day.)

Mid afternoon we were dropped off at the airport and told that we needed to catch the skytrain. What a great way to get around the airport. The last stop was the Car Rental area. Luckily for us there was no queue at the desk we needed. We (by that I mean Owl) explained that we should have picked up our rental car on Friday but had not been able to hence why we were there now. ‘Not a problem, as it happens we can offer you an upgrade if you are interested.’ Of course Owl was very interested especially when he was offered Mustang convertible. The grin on Owl’s face was as wide as the Channel Tunnel. I think all his Christmases had come at once.

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The only query we had before we drove away……how to take the roof down. All it took was two clips and a button. With hired Sat Nav in hand (boy are we glad we asked for one of those!) we set off back through San Francisco, over the Golden Gate Bridge along Route 101 ending up in San Rafael, stopping at the pizza parlour to show off the car to Missy M.

After having more pizza we headed back for our third and final night in our San Rafael hotel. We still didn’t know where we would be staying next but we were armed with a list of hotels to visit, but that is another story.

 

Crocs in hoodies

Saturday June 1st 2013

Did I tell you that we had pizza for dinner after arriving at our Travelodge in San Rafael. Missy M works part time for one of the pizza outlets nearby. We only wanted a medium as we were not really hungry but knew we must eat. We were presented with the biggest pizza either of us had ever had, one slice each was enough but cold pizza in the middle of the night and again for breakfast late morning was still not going to make a dent in it.

Missy M and Mr T picked us up early afternoon, we had intended to go to the airport to collect our hire car but neither of us were strong enough to drive yet. Missy M took us up to ‘The Heights’ where we had a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the bay beyond. Apparently we were lucky as we had such a clear view of the bridge. Very often it is shrouded in mist or at least the top of it is. (During our time there we crossed that bridge 7 times and it was clear for 6 of those 7 times).IMG_0605   IMG_0341

I did wonder why it is called the Golden Gate Bridge when it so clearly isn’t anything like golden in colour. Mr T informed us that it is called the Golden Gate Bridge because it was the gateway to the gold mining area to the north following the California gold rush. How true this is I have yet to check but it seems plausible to me. Once we had taken all the photos we wanted we set off again into San Francisco.

Once parked in the Fishermans Wharf area we hurried to the nearest clothing stall to buy hoodies to keep us warm once the temperatures took a dive. I really can’t believe that Owl voluntarily became a hoody wearer. I got one too, so did Missy M. We had intended to have either a late lunch or an early dinner but time was running out on us. We walked as fast as we could considering that Owl was still a bit shaky after yesterday. We decided to get a quick snack to keep us going and have dinner later. Boudin’s on Fishermans Wharf was our chosen destination for our snack. We found a table outside where we could people watch. Do you know how many people stop to take each other’s photo stood under the Fishermans Wharf sign on the corner of the street.

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Time was getting away from us so we finished our food as quickly as we could and set off to find a taxi cab. Hey that was not as easy as we had expected. We had walked several blocks before we managed to flag one down that was not already in use. The four of us piled in, the taxi turned the corner and 100m down the road joined the stationary traffic waiting to turn into The Embarcadero. Anxiously we kept an eye on the time, we knew we were cutting it fine. If we had all been fitter we would have got out and walked/run.

We heave a  collective sigh of relief when at last the taxi slides to a halt opposite our destination.  We take advantage of the stopped traffic to cross 6 lanes to pier 33. With just a couple of minutes to spare we joined the queue for the ferry.  We were on our way to fulfil one of Owl’s greatest wish list events. I am sure you all know about Alcatraz, well that is where we were going.

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It was a lovely sunny early evening, I took some lovely photos of the island as we circled around it. Once again Owl’s physical state was to our benefit (well mine and his that is). On arrival on the island those of us who were less mobile could take a tram ride up to the prison building instead of the steep walk that everyone else had to make. It was here that Mr T began to try his father and sister’s patience.  It didn’t bother me at all but his biological family found his constant disappearances somewhat trying. Mr T is very passionate about creating films and is constantly on the look out for locations and ideas for his films. We all collected our audio guides and set off following the route around the prison. We all started together but gradually began to take our own time going round. I continued to take copious amounts of photos (both family and location). Many of the photos of Missy M show her with her phone in her hand which we found amusing. We caught up with Mr T several times before he scooted off again. We were beginning to panic when there was no sign of him when we were heading back to the ferry for our trip back to mainland.

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By the time we returned to terra firma it was dark and getting late, Owl and I waited by the side of the road whilst his children (my step children) went off to collect Missy M’s car. Arriving back at the hotel the pair of us just about had the energy to eat half a slice of pizza before falling into bed.

It was lovely spending the time we did with the two young people who I am still getting used to as my step children.

Making an impression

Friday 31st May 2013

Finally after months of waiting and planning we were now on the plane heading west. This was to be my first long haul flight (10hrs). By the time we had been in the air for 6 hours I was beginning to feel that I had had enough now. I hadn’t bothered to watch the first in flight film, preferring to read my book instead. Lunch had been surprisingly tasty considering it’s uninteresting appearance. Luckily the plane was less than half full so the two of us had four seats to ourselves. That came in handy when we needed to spread out.  I seem to remember that we both managed to doze a little during the flight. I did watch one of the films though.

All was going reasonably well until approximately 2 hours before we were due to land. Owl began to feel unwell. I tried to coax him to eat as much as he could of the afternoon snack. He didn’t seem to be making any improvement. By the time we landed Owl was feeling very weak and shaky. We waited until the majority of our fellow travellers had alighted before making our slow progress through the plane and finally into the terminal.

I did my best to support Owl plus carry both mine and his hand luggage. These travellators are a huge relief in this situation. However we had just come to the end of one of these moving walkways when Owl felt his legs give way under him. I had a hold of both his arms and managed to lower him slowly to his knees. It was then that a fellow passenger leapt out of the wheelchair she was being pushed in so that the staff who had rushed to our help could hoist Owl into the now vacant chair.

The previous occupant of the chair continued on her way with the help of a walking stick.(I do believe another chair was brought for her in the next few minutes). The airport employee who had been pushing her chair ran off ahead calling out that he would be back. I loaded our bags onto the back of the chair and began to push. True to his word the employee, came running back to take over pushing Owl along the corridor until we came upon another wheelchair which along with its occupant had been left against the side of the long, long corridor. Our saintly helper took off at a fast pace with the other chair before parking it further up the corridor and running back to us. So we made progress along the seemingly never ending walk to passport check, playing leapfrog (with these two wheelchairs). I had to almost run to have any chance of keeping up with Owl in his chair.

I was just preparing myself mentally for the long wait to get through customs when our chair was once again snatched from my hands and pushed to the very front of the queue. After a very short wait (only 2 or 3 minutes) we were ushered forward to have our passports checked and stamped. Next I was faced with collecting our suitcases from baggage retrieval which I did but how to push a wheelchair and pull along two wheeled suitcases?

Perhaps I could hook the two handles of the cases onto the chair handles? Hmm no that didn’t work. I tried to push the chair with the cases hooked over my arms. That didn’t work either. Owl suggested that I get a trolley for the cases which I did but how do I push a chair and a trolley? I couldn’t play leap frog as I couldn’t leave the cases unattended.  I was just going through all the possible ways of managing this, I couldn’t come up with a solution when I was rescued by our saintly helper again who took control pushing the wheelchair through arrivals and parking Owl next to a row of seats a few feet from arrivals gate G.

By now Owl was in need of the washroom(restroom). Oh no another problem that I couldn’t overcome on my own. Never mind it was by this time 13.47 in San Francisco and Owl’s children Missy M and Mr T were due to arrive to meet us between 14.00 and 14.30. Once they arrived we would have to ask Mr T to take his father to the restroom. We waited patiently (what else could we do) for my new step children to arrive. (Before you start to worry these ’children’ are 16 and 18). We sent messages by text and skype to let them know that we had already gone through Arrivals. After a while I wandered through the Arrivals Hall to see if I could spot any familiar faces. I couldn’t but I did check that the flight information board did say that our flight would be at Gate G. Returning to Owl we continued to wait. We waited, then we waited some more. Now and again I would say, could that be Mr T. The answer was always no. Time trickled by, still no sign of the much awaited teens. If they were going to be late why hadn’t they called or sent a message. We had no idea from which direction they would be entering the Hall.

After two hours Owl was becoming quite distressed, I decided to take another walk through the (mostly empty) hall, when I reached gate A I saw a young lady who could be Miss M. I called her name, it was her. The two of them had been waiting since 14.15 at the wrong gate. They had been about 200 feet away from us for nearly 2 hours!!  From where they were standing they had been hidden from our view by a pillar of all things.

I led the two of them back towards their father explaining that unfortunately he was feeling poorly and was in a wheelchair. They were both very good about this.  After visiting the (much needed by all of us )restrooms we were making our way back through the arrivals hall towards the car park.  For some inexplicable reason I decided to throw myself on the floor. Throughout my life I have learnt to live with the embarrassment of falling over when my ankle turns over. I always land on my hands and knees.

Not this time though, I could feel myself go and there was not a thing I could do about it. I felt the tip of my nose hit the marble floor, followed by my forehead, my glasses smacked against my nose before skidding off across the floor just out of my reach. When I looked up Mr T was bending over me, and an elderly couple had rushed over. I felt hands under my arms hoisting me up, I was led to a nearby seat. I gingerly put my hand up to my face expecting blood. There was none, my nose was numb, my right knee was cut, my left foot felt bruised and my left hand was incredibly painful.  At first I was afraid that I may have broken my hand and or my nose. After a few minutes I began to feel a little steadier. Missy M drove us all to the motel we had booked for our first few nights. Neither Owl nor I were in any fit state to drive so our hire car would have to wait.

Well with Owl falling ill, my falling over and the kids waiting 2oofeet away for 2 hours maybe that was three things that had gone wrong and the rest of our trip would be problem free.

But what an impression to make meeting my stepchildren for the first time.