Carols first reaction to me telling her I’d booked Gibraltar was shock. Her face was a picture for about ten seconds, almost as though it had been frozen in time, then I got both barrels: “YOU’VE DONE WHAT!!!!!!! I told you I didn’t want to go back in case it had changed for the worse and it upset me. We didn’t TALK about it, why didn’t we TALK about it, why didn’t you CONSULT me first?” (or words to that effect – with a few other expletives). We both knew if we’d ‘talked about it’ it would never have happened which is why I took the bull by the horns. For me the idea of never going back was unthinkable.
Of course I knew I would get that reaction and I was ready for it, in fact I had long prepared for it (for years!) but my primary aim was to take away Carol’s concerns as quickly as possible and put her mind at rest. I began by reassuring her that (judging from what I could see on the Internet) there had been massive change but all of the changes had been positive.
“Yes Carol, Gibraltar has changed love, but so have we too. And that old Rock is like an old friend, just like Sheila and Joe who we don’t see very often but love it when we do….which …is why… they’ll be coming with us”.
At that I think I detected a little glint in her eye but what came out of her mouth was “But Joe is in his eighties and struggles with his mobility now”.
“Which is why I’ve booked rooms at the Bristol Hotel bang in the middle of town” I replied.
“You know if I don’t like the changes I’ll never go back again don’t you” she said.
“Yes love, but I’ll take that risk” I said.
As the shock began to ease I put the kettle on to make a cup of tea. “It’s a lovely idea Alan” Carol said “and I don’t want you to think I’m unappreciative it’s just that its so sudden I haven’t had time to get my head around it”. I gave her a hug.
“Don’t worry love, we’re not going just yet. It’s still a few months away so you have loads of time to Google search Gibraltar and the Bristol Hotel. It’s May when we fly. In fact it’s 13 May 2016 when we fly. Exactly forty years to the day that you flew out with the children to join me. Difference this time, is we go together”.