Saturday morning and Sue was up for 7am and me soon, both eager to escape the cold winter days of Harborough. Annoyingly it was bright and sunny.
By 9.30am we had checked the packing of the previous day, satisfied ourselves that all the required paper work was in order and stowed away (in duplicate) in our hand luggage and were racing down the M1 towards Gatwick.
We were not due to fly until 8pm so we planned to have lunch at the Gatwick Manor Hotel for 12.30pm, just a couple of minutes away from the off airport parking I had booked. What a great call that turned out to be. The hotel was a lovely old Elizabethan mansion that has now been taken over by Premier Inns. The food was lovely and the beer acceptable, I even managed to watch a bit of the Italy v Scotland Six Nations game as we sat in the lounge afterwards enjoying further refreshments. We left the hotel just after 3pm and checked the car into parking then made our way to the terminal and found the BA check in desk.
As we were early we had lots of choice as to seating and this turned out later to our advantage.
After navigating passport control we both spent our ‘waiting time’ in Jamie Oliver’s Bar that just happened to showing the England v Ireland match (great result). As the game finished we were called through to the departure gate and boarded our 12 hour Boeing 777 flight to Mauritius.
We were in ‘lower-class’ seating and on this occasion being unashamedly a member of the lower order, paid dividends. As the flight was predominately Anglo Saxon and therefore highly class conscious, the majority of our fellow passengers had paid extra to be away from the likes of us. The result being Sue and I with fellow passengers in close proximity, had loads of room to stretch and kip, while those at the front of the plane were crammed to capacity.
I watched the Krays portrayed in ‘Legend’ and a few other TV shows during the flight. Sue attempted one film and preferred to sleep when not eating.
The temperature on landing was in stark contrast to our take-off. However we Mauritius airport is well laid out and relaxed and surrounded by some wonderful scenery, it was a shame we didn’t have a window seat on landing. I changed some currency in the terminal before finding our transit to the Verandah Palmar Beach Hotel.
The friendly Muslim driver narrated throughout our 45 minute journey along the coast. We agreed that Russian tourists are anti-social and ignorant and best left in the motherland. I was to see our driver again later in the afternoon when I left my reading glasses in the taxi.
We checked into our air-conditioned ground floor room situated a few steps away from the reception and pool.
First skirmish was left along the beautiful beach which is shared by several other establishments. However, the sparkly turquoise ocean seem so inviting I slipped off my sandals with the sole purpose of joining the many already splashing among the waves. Two steps and I stood on what seemed some green mossy seaweed to find that a spiny sea-urchin was lurking underneath. I never made the waters edge and spent an unpleasant hour back in the room with Sue brandishing tweezers and a needle digging holes for Britain.
With most spines eliminated from a sore sole we again attempted the tricky left turn on the beach and were successful. I think we have wandered around a mile and a half along white coral beach and among mostly French holiday makers before returning to our air conditioned haven.
Later, as the evening approached we negotiated a tricky right turn on the beach, triumphantly avoiding any natural traps. By the time we were back safe in our room, it was dark.
We ate a buffet lunch in the hotel restaurant with the intention of watching the Karaoke in the bar afterwards, but we didn’t stop long and two sleepy Brits went to mow a meadow.