I had sort of expected to arrive here just as the neighbours were beginning to emerge, like hibernating bears, scratching themselves and lumbering off to Tescos for fresh supplies of honey. All I can say is that they had at least cleared the snow from our road, so that, when we eventually reached home, I could roll straight into my drive (they hadn't cleared my drive, but they had allowed me to gain enough momentum to plough my way in). Actually, I was able to reverse back out again this morning when we went down to Tescos to restock with sausages, shortbread biscuits, honey, etc. We'll be OK now if we get cut off in fresh snow falls.
But here's the sight that greeted us at Fuerteventura airport when we checked in at 6pm:
Yes, we were headed to London. Not taking the flight to Liverpool, which was leaving on time; not to Dublin (or Hanover for that matter) which were boarding, nor to Manchester, which left only a little delayed. So a bit of a wait. In fact, it became quite exciting. Fuerteventura airport closes down at 11pm and our flight hadn't actually left UK, four hours away, by 7pm. At 8, we were told that the flight had taken off and that, if it could arrive and leave before 12, we would be away. So a nail-biting few hours (which I spent rather pleasantly in the bar - why should I fret about being unable to leave this balmy island paradise?).
Anyway, the plane landed at 11.15 to the combined cheers of the assembled observers, rather like the way passengers onboard Aeroflot flights cheer when the pilot manages to land safely (the next flight was due out at 7am, so only our fellow passengers were sitting there) and we began boarding immediately. And, with a bit of a fudge of ICAO cleaning requirements (and not much of a stopover for the crew), we taxied out at 11.55, fully loaded, and took off without delay.
It was similarly an easy journey at this end (if a few hours later than we intended) with main roads cleared of snow and not so many other cars around at 4 in the morning. And here we are - bronzed and poorly camouflaged against the snow drifts, feeling the 25 degree difference in temperature, but health and morale improved after the break, and enjoying the reversion to wholesome, filling stews and root veg soups. Yes, on balance, it's good to be back.
And not only that, as we hunker down in front of a roaring fire, wondering whether we should be feeling guilty about not going out - the Africa Cup of Nations tournament has just started . . .