It was a strange feeling to be tidying the house prior to a trip but knowing that we were actually leaving for good.
I don’t suppose that many people move house or emigrate by Ryanair! Actually it turned out to be a good solution as we had determined from the start to reduce the clutter in our lives and limit the amount of our possessions to about 50 Kg in total. We paid the additional fees for two checked bags and weighed them very carefully so that each was within a few grams of the maximum allowed of 20 Kg.
This attention to detail proved to be worthwhile as several folk in the queue ahead of us at the bag-drop were sent away with little slips detailing their excess baggage payment. We would later sit on the plane next to a couple who had been charged £50 (about 80 USD) for being just 2.5 Kg over the limit. Jaqui cheerfully explained to them that they could have had an extra 15Kg and an extra bag for less than half what they had just paid.
We also packed our carry-on bags to the maximum of 10Kg and also stashed about 8Kg each in our Scottevests, making for a total capacity of 76Kg, somewhat more than our original target!
I was expecting to be hauled aside by airport security and wasn’t disappointed.
I had an English concertina in my carry-on bag which meant that 120 small dense pieces of metal (the reeds) would show up in the X-Ray machine, arranged in a hexagonal pattern.In addition I was carrying almost all our electronic accessories, including 12 USB/power cables, 2x500Gb hard drives and an apple TV. As a traveller who wants to remain safe myself, I would have been unhappy if someone was allowed to take this kind of package on board unchallenged.
I remembered on a previous occasion, flying into Muscat, Oman with a concertina in my bag, and being asked to play something to prove that it was really a musical instrument! I had decided that, if a similar request was made on this occasion, I would play the ‘Pershore Plum Polka”, a great Worcestershire tune composed by our friend Moira Gutteridge in 2010. I might as well have taken a harp to the party
In the event I was asked to unpack everything from the bag and all was gone over carefully using some kind of magic wand which I assume detects explosive material. Interestingly the gadget doesn’t seem to work in real time. It collects data and is then plugged into another machine for analysis. It was done by a lady security agent who was quite chatty and cheerful, albeit extremely thorough, and who was a breath of fresh air compared to the surly and humorless characters often encountered in these situations.
Although we normally prefer to fly Air Malta, we have become very used to the low-cost airlines and have found them to be very effective, provided you are familiar with each one’s particular methodology and stick carefully to their rules. Except when we are moving house, we fly carry-on only and usually pay the extra for speedy/priority boarding to get a seat near the front and, more importantly, guaranteed space in the overhead bin. The vid below made us chuckle though.
NB: Strong Language Warning! – at least if you are are someone who, like me, finds it difficult to accommodate to the peculiar status of the work “feck” in Ireland, being in common use there among respectable Irish grandmothers. (BTW 50p is about 80 cents US).
We arrived after 9.00pm and elected to spend the first night in the Golden Bay Radisson, mainly for the convenience of easily picking up a hire car the next morning from Rose, the Drifter hire car rep who had been so helpful to us before.
We arrived at our new premises on the Saturday morning to be greeted by a magnificent basket of fruit and food supplies for the weekend all laid on by the lovely lady owner of the apartment. We took possession of the keys, waved goodbye to her and then began to explore our new home. Luckily it was pretty much as we remembered it. Some photos below – more later. (Click to enlarge.)
Now we were looking forward to a week mainly of shopping and organising. More to follow!