Well, here I am in the queue at Gatwick for the security checks. Having experienced the chaos of getting through the laughable and incompetent security at the Tory conference two weeks ago (when attending as an observer) this seems positively professional and highly efficient.
We are off for a cruise on the Black Sea, flying out today to Istanbul where we board our ship, Voyage of Discovery, a modest passenger ship for about 600 passengers. We sailed on the same ship two years ago when we visited North Africa and Italy.
This holiday starts in Istanbul then along the North Turkish coast to Georgia, up to Russia, over the the Crimea, then south to Romania and Bulgaria before heading through the Bosphoros to western Turkey and finishing in Cyprus.
Mother is looking after the house and Freda (our Gateshead cat). Dad had been lined up to do this but he only came out of hospital yesterday after his appendicitis op. He's staying at my sister's house instead.
Norman Lamb as usual makes a lot of jokes about my going on holiday. In the days when we both attended DTI Parliamentary Team meetings, comments would normally be passed about where I was heading to next. So at dinner last night the jokes flowed freely before we all got onto the rather heady political stuff. The taxi back to the flat cost me more than the train ticket I got to come from Newcastle to London on Monday morning. I suspect the cost of taxis in some of the places I am visiting shortly will be less than the cost of the cup of tea we have just bought. We are now through security and are sitting in the BAA tax free shopping mall (given the prices perhaps "maul" would be a better word given David's wallet has just been mauled by the visit to the cafe here.)
Five minutes to go before we board. Then a holiday of sun and sea sickness!
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