The final push

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 9 November 2010

So the alarm went off at 4.30. I was up up at 4.00 having written FOUR on my forehead three time, it always works.

Had a hot shower, a luxury since our villa only had cold water - that's how they do it in Costa Rica - we were all packed ready to go.

The other two got themselves up and we were all of the mind not to speak to each other in case some kind of row erupted.

The air con had addled our brains, the heat, the cold, the room, the rain.

Down three floors in Paris Hiltons elevator, we paid up for our meals and board and climbed onto the personnel carrier which took us to Liberia airport.

It took all of five minutes.

When we arrived three very young officials looked at our exit visas. Everything was in order.

The airport, consisting of two very big rooms with rows of red plastic chairs, was not open. The duty free off licence didn't open till six. We checked in.

'What are you carrying in that bag' asked the customs official. 'A big conch. A sea shell.' I said brightly.

'You can't take that out of Costa Rica. Conservation' said the customs official flatly.

'Oh No!' I was utterly deflated. 'It's a birthday gift' I pleaded.

'Well. I'll let you go, I haven't seen it.' Said the compassionate customs bloke, 'But I don't know whether they'll let you pass anywhere else'.

In the event they did. We had bought the shell for $5 from a stall holder on Samara beach. We were over the first hurdle.

The three of us sat quietly waiting to board when the young woman at the desk picked up her microphone - not needed really as we could all hear her perfectly well -

'Would a Mr. Jim Bywater please report to the desk.'

Jim got up, with his rucksak, went over to the table where two police officers showed him their badges then proceeded to question him. Where, why, how, whatever!!!! He was set free.

I nearly had a heart attack.

Second hurdle over.

The sniffer dog came round, he could have been Jacksons brother, sniffed our bags. All Clear. Thrid hurdle over.

We boarded I fell asleep immediately.

Three hours later we were in Huston.

Shoes off, sweaters off, belts off, bags open, through customs, conch shell safe and sound, and it was 11.30 in the morning. We had lost one hour.

We filled the time in Huston airport eating. Chinese takeaway breakfast, coffee, baked potatoes as big as a ranchers thigh, green beans longer than a lizards tail bone, cocktails, more coffee, french fries, chicken stir fry, bags of crisps...Oh! for Goodness sake what else was there to do!

Finally having had our passports checked YET AGAIN we boarded.

They watched four films a piece, I watched CASABLANCA yet again. Here's looking at you kid and then I fell asleep. Popping my homeopathic jet lag pills all the while. Then I watched BABIES, a wonderful documentary covering four new born babes from four corners of the globe. The Namibian child with nothing was the nicest the Japanese baby with everything was the most stressed. Hum!

After a wretched breakfast of a freezing cold bagel, and more turbulence than a delicate stomach can take we arrived in Heathrow.

After eight hours in the air, and the loss of six hours, we had missed Saturday night it was now Sunday morning. Where did the time go? Our bodies screamed 3.00a.m. but the clocks said 9.00. Who was I to argue with Old Father Time.

Our bags had been transitted successfully. The only hitch, my talcum powder tin had split and everything was covered in white baby powder, smelt good but looked suspiciously like I was carrying a cargo of Colombian contraband....

We collected our baggage form the carosel, Jim picking up every suitcase he could find, then we realised it was the baggage from New York. We changed carousels and by the time the cock had crowed 9.30 we were good to go. We set off for the underground.

What underground? Good old Blighty, the Piccadilly line was not functioning.....

We set off for the Heathrow Express, £54 pounds later we asked the Italian boy to move and the German girl to budge up whilst the elderly Swede removed his case, we sat down till we arrived in Paddington.

Then another extortionate taxi ride to the flat.

We were home.

After opening reams of rotten mail, and re-organising ourselves we left Sarf London for the East.

Dropped B off at her flat in Hackney, then off to the Blackwall Tunnell. Of course silly us this was Britain on a Sunday. What Blackwall Tunnell it was closed. So after navigating Tower Bridge, Lewisham, Leigh and Sidcup we finally made it home by 16.04.

Punch drunk, but SOOOO pleased to be back in our little English cottage. Hot running water, no bugs, no Pacific its true, no Freddie and no hammock, but the warmth of the big bed and the little furry pussy cat not to mention DOWNTON ABBEY on the recorder; three weeks of blissful adventure was over.

I fell asleep immediately. Jim nodded off before we had climbed the stairs.

Last night I watched Jack Duckworth leave CORONATION STREET. Me and 11million other people cried for him, for Vera, and for me the end of my summer/autumn.Central American break.

I'm off now to the flat to get back to my London life and look to the future....

Thank you all for your lovely comments. It's oh so nice to go travelling to Nicoya, Paris and Rome. It's Oh! so nice to go travelling but it's Oh! so lovely, yes it's oh so lovely to be home.

Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes


1. At November 9, 2010 9:05 PM Lyn Misselbrook wrote:

Welcome home y'all! I just returned from a reunion weekend in hilly Ventnor on the IoW - meeting up with old pals and one guy who I haven't seen for 40 years! Had a fab weekend. All set for the winter now ...
Glad you're back and relatively unscathed. Hope the cat wasn't too sniffy!
L xxx

2. At November 9, 2010 9:40 PM Lindy Fleetwood wrote:

Welcome home all !! Sounds as though three weeks in the rain has cleared your mind ready for the future, which should be bright and breezy. Looking forward to your postcards from Sussex or Battersea or wherever your world happens to be xxhugxx

3. At November 10, 2010 10:16 AM LV wrote:

JENI & Co. great to have you back on British soil safely.
Your spilt talcum powder was near miss! Lucky they didn't open the case. Just the sight of that colombian contraband spread everywhere would have given me a cardiac incident, let alone sniffing it!!
More of an adventure than a holiday maybe. I wouldn't say no to be being thrown about like a coconut in a 'four-b-four' once in a while...just for the fun of
Love and Light,

4. At November 11, 2010 4:08 PM Billy Pinkerton wrote:

Welcome home, there's nothing like your own bed ;)


5. At November 11, 2010 11:41 PM Terry wrote:

Dear Jeni. Its great to know you are really back again in spite of no undergrounds running at Heathrow and having to take the expensive option of Heathrow express to paddington then a taxi to the flat in battersea! your Home and Home is best they say . I wish you and the family a wonderfull weekend back in a rather windy at the moment England! Good Luck and God Bless! love Terry XXXXX

6. At November 13, 2010 8:30 AM Rhianon wrote:

Glad you and your family are back safe.
Will you ever be doing more live stage shows? I mean like the ones you did in Reading? I would love to have seen the show. Unfortunately, due to big committments at home this was never possible. Sadly, these committments are ended now. So If ever you did more shows (and I'm sure there'd be a pretty good market for them) I'd certainly be one of the first to buy a ticket.

7. At November 16, 2010 5:08 PM Lindy Fleetwood wrote:

Jeni could do with a postcard getting withdrawal symptoms !! hope your silence means you are enjoying yourself xxhugxx

8. At November 16, 2010 10:20 PM LV wrote:

...yes, it's gone all quiet on the western front....something's up.....Hello?....Hello? there anybody there?, no reply, the lights are out and the shop is shut....I'll come back later and bang on the door!....something's up...could it be post holiday blues.....uummm...
Sending Love and Light on the situation.

9. At November 17, 2010 12:03 AM Terry wrote:

Dear Jeni. I agree with Lindy! as to your silence at the moment,I just hope all is going well for you and the family and that your getting some quality time to yourself either at the cottage or at the riverside flat in Battersea. eventually im sure youll find your feet and surprise all of us with a new job in the media and start to warm the hearts of your miriad of loyal fans who knowing what a wonderful lady you are, really miss you on the airwaves FM DAB Terrestial TV Sat TV Freeview and not forgetting HD 1080! We are all with you Jenni! and longing for you to entertain us as only you can!
With much Love to you Jeni.take your time and do just what you want in whatever time it takes as we all understand how you must feel at the moment! Good Luck and God Bless You! Love Terry XXXX

10. At November 22, 2010 3:49 AM les tropeziennes wrote:

Beau travail! Absolument, j'ai suivi votre blog pendant une semaine. Faut dire que vous êtes la preuve! Je vois que vous prouver à partir de votre poste, il est la maturation, le garder

11. At November 22, 2010 7:45 AM sorel mukluks wrote:

mots de luxe! Il tirs mon ame! Il me fait grand plaisir de visiter votre blog et de profiter de votre excellent post ici, j'aime beaucoup vos messages, Keep it up! Pourriez-vous me dire comment puis-je m'abonner à votre blog?

12. At November 25, 2010 5:28 PM odette Hamilton wrote:

hi jenny ... so glad to know you are back! whats next ? im so looking forward to another talk show ...Keep us informed ...
lots of love
Odette xxx

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