At that point, the diary ends. This is what happened the next day, though
The flight back was beset with complications. Initially, all went well. We had a stopover of an hour or so in Bahrain and I remember Mum scrabbling around to find something with which to cover Karen and Lisa’s shoulders as we were allowed to disembark onto that most Islamic of soils.
The next leg was where it all went awry. There was bad weather which meant we had to fly slower. The plane ran out of refreshments and the toilets blocked. Fog at Heathrow meant that we could not land and were diverted to sit on the tarmac for a couple of hours. Planes get very warm when sat on the ground and only one member of a family at a time was allowed off to notify waiting relatives what had happened. As mobile telephones were a good five or six years away from being usable, and another ten from being widely owned, this was a largely futile exercise.
My uncle Allan had gone to meet us at Heathrow with Grandad’s van and had a long wait before we finally made the brief hop back down from Manchester. Somewhere, there is a wonderful photograph of all of us, with about 20 pieces of luggage, crammed into the back of the van.
One final funny moment came as we cleared Customs at Heathrow. Not having a clue what was allowed and not allowed, my parents had compiled a list of everything we had bought and were bringing into the country, along with the price paid. We dutifully entered the ‘Something to Declare’ channel, showed the list to the customs officer, who looked at the list, counted us all up, and allowed us through unscathed without stopping to add up the amounts involved. It was, I believe, well over what we were allowed, even though almost all of it was in gifts for other people.