In which our reluctant hero prepares for a maiden voyage.

We’re off on holibobs in a few days time. Yay! The resort looks nice with things for the grown-ups and a few hours of entertainment to keep the little people happy. No 24 hour childcare facilities for us though – we’re doing it old school – which may be something that we come to regret in a week’s time. The food looks plentiful and should suit us all. Even BBC Weather indicates that the sun has popped his best sun hat, shades and factor fifty on for what looks like a glorious week. So far, so good.

But there is one tiny thing worrying me as we prepare for this journey into the unknown. Yes, we’re leaving these sunny-one-minute-and-minus-ten-the-next-even-in-June shores and heading abroad. On an aeroplane. With a two and four year old.

It may well turn out to be worry over nothing (it won’t.) I was always one for tutting at parents taking small children on aeroplanes but now I find myself about to take small children on an aeroplane. What could possibly go wrong?

The first potential concern involves “stuff.” You need a boot full of stuff to go to Lidl with two small children, let alone Spain which is on the other side of the world. Will we have enough stuff? Will we have the right stuff? Do they still have shops in Spain? If so, will we be able to afford anything if the British economy has collapsed by Monday as a result of this week’s General Election? Fixed-term Parliaments, my bottom.

You never fully concentrate with kids nearby as your subconscious is exclusively tied up preventing the next potential disaster – that’s why parents frequently forget or lose things. This is not a problem if just a spare changing bag left in the car rather than, say, passports. I may just gaffer tape these to my torso tonight to save the inevitable panic come Monday afternoon.

Assuming that we miraculously manage to check in, there’s the airport to negotiate. Airports are amongst the dullest places imaginable at the best of times, let alone with two children to entertain.

I suspect that you’re not actually allowed to knock children out like B.A. Baracus in every episode of “The ‘A’ Team”, so Plan A is to watch the other planes take off for a bit. Plan B is to take their tablets and enough Powerbanks to keep the National Grid up for a couple of hours in an emergency.

Alternatively, there’s always the option of eating to kill time. The last time that we flew we attempted to buy an airport breakfast with scrambled eggs as my wife was pregnant. A simple request you would think, yes? Apparently not, as eggs only come fried. I may give that a miss.

We’ve not booked with British Airways, and I’m sure that Ryanair have ploughed billions into their I.T. capabilities, so the risk of being stranded at the airport due to system failures is one less thing to worry about. Probably.

On the plane, there’s more to stress about starting with who gets the window seat. My wife allowed me to sit in the window seat on my first flight, but we’ve two little people on their first flights that will both want to sit there. There’s going to be a row, isn’t there?

Regular listeners may well remember that we started potty training last week. Unsurprisingly, this isn’t quite mastered yet. I’m predicting worst case scenarios of an accident in the seat or, more likely, the boy being sucked down the toilet and out of the plane after messing with the vacuum flush. Again.

I’m hoping that the children may fall asleep like they do in the car if strapped in for a couple of hours. This is probably a good thing for the flight, but if they remain asleep after landing, I’ll need an extra three arms to manage one of them and the four lots of hand luggage needed to fit the emergency stuff in. If they wake up, they’ll most likely be tired and grumpy which may be a bigger task. At least flying with Ryanair, we’ll land three hours ahead of schedule to the trumpet fanfare. You always do.

We’ve planned ahead and should be able to survive a few days should anything go missing en route. We’re always the last drop off during any hotel transfer, which may be a blessing if a few winks can be squeezed in. Then it’s the simple matter of checking in and bed, via returning to reception to fork out an extra €1,000 for the air conditioning and safe keys.

Refreshed from a good night’s sleep, it’s time for fun and relaxation. It should be easy from here, asides from keeping a fearless two year old and large outdoor swimming pool apart. We’ve packed armbands and a rubber ring just in case, but I’m still not sure I trust the boy. Pass me the gaffer tape again, por favor.

Oh. And the flight back…



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