The brief was “the best or worst Christmas you have had”. Well seeing as though I believe that Christmas is all about family then last year probably would have to be the worst. Being denied the ability of seeing our family without the freedom of choice was a tough one. We’d always said we would like to spend a Christmas in Mallorca but that would be by choice and not forced upon us. Don’t get me wrong it was nice to spend it together but we would have preferred to be in the UK.
So when I think about it, it wasn’t the worst. All Christmas’s for us are fun, as we would normally spend time with our families and then fly off on holiday. “You’re always on holiday aren’t you?” Is always a question that we get asked. Well we know we are lucky to live where we do, but a holiday it definitely isn’t, particularly after the last two years.
But there’s one Christmas that does remain unforgettable. We laugh about it now but at the time it wasn’t funny. It was 2010 and this particular story happened before we had even landed in the UK. We’d heard there had been bad weather in the UK and some airports had been closed because of snow. Our plane, although delayed by 5 hours had managed to take off from Stansted to Palma. It was quite late in the afternoon and at the departure desk the pilot came on the microphone to sat that if we didn’t board within half an hour, they and the crew would be out hours. You’ve never seen a plane load so quickly! As we sat down we breathed a sigh of relief as we were on our way. We had our two kids with us, Jake our eldest was 5 and Jude was 1 and a half. I remember the plane being full up, so we were that family that nobody wanted to sit with. Everything was fine until about half an hour before we were due to land the Captain came on to say. “Ladies and Gentlemen, as you know it was a bit of a struggle for us to leave Stansted earlier today and since we left the conditions there have worsened. So much so that unfortunately we are not able to land there right now.” So where would we be going, Gatwick, Luton or maybe Heathrow? He then said, “the weather is very bad down south and we have no other alternative than to land in Newcastle.” NEWCASTLE! The most northerly airport in England and about 250 miles from where we wanted to be in Bedfordshire. This was just the start, as it became apparent that when we landed the airport was over run with planes from all over the World. We were told that we couldn’t disembark from the plane because the airport terminal was too busy. Now you try calming a one and a half year old who is tired, hungry and after one hour on the ground has ran out of nappies. Not a pretty sight or smell to be perfectly honest. Luckily someone had some spare ones but this was now turning into a nightmare. Three hours on the ground and as you can probably imagine peoples tempers were going. A few people asked if they could get off the plane, not go into the terminal and try and get home. I tried to get a hotel room or hire a car but everything was taken. Luckily a fellow Pirate lived in Newcastle and his Mum very kindly came out to pick us up and put us up for the night. For which we were forever grateful. The next day we got a train from Newcastle to Peterborough where our family picked us up. When we finally got back to where we were staying, it was about 30 hours after we’d left our house in Mallorca. We found out that the people that were left on the the plane finally got off a couple of hours later. They were then put on a bus to Stansted the following morning. I still bump into people today who say, do you remember that nightmare Easyjet trip to Newcastle?
Funny that one of my favourite Christmas songs is by Dean Martin, “Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful and we’ve no place to go let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!”
Take care everyone and enjoy your Boxing Day!
Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance!
Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org