The rays of unadulterated sunniness beating down upon Casa Carmichael this day (stronger, bluer, clearer, cleaner than predicted) force my thoughts back to Lanzarote and the Lunching Ladies’ trip, March- time. There too we expected to be met by pockets of cloud and a ‘now you see me now you don’t’ yellow globe in the Atlantic sky.
“if this is partially cloudy,” we purred, “It’s time to move to Spain.”
This view of Montana Roja from our villa in Playa Blanca at the foot of Lanzarote is sublime. It encapsulates all that this volcanic island is and the violent beauty it parades for a tourist’s delectation. How I wish the inside of our villa lived up to the same majestic standard.
Thankfully, Gracie was a little out of sorts on this our first day in Life Villa and thus K…… and Yours Truly could leave the lengthy itemising of transgressions, faults, flaws and downright disappointments that our accommodation presented, to our friend. She went to work with both an alacrity and intensity missing from her persona prior to arrival at the house.
Having been the finder, booker, interacter and haggler with mine hosts it would be more than fair to say that whilst I was pleased Villa Vida actually existed and we had ingress (always a risk even if ever so slight in using Owners’ Direct) I felt a tad responsible for the drab and I bowed, just a mite, under the barrage of complaint.
Thank god the sun shone.
We drew straws for the bedrooms. Those of you who have followed my ‘girls on the hoof’ series will know that recently Mrs C’s luck has been out in the allocation of bed and or boudoir. No change to report I am afraid. I popped my suitcase on one of my two micro-beds and practiced my fakey, snaky smile.
The winning of the West Wing, complete with uber-king sized bed, ensuite bathroom, changing room and direct access to the pool did little to improve Gracie’s mood and went no way in counterbalancing the missing plunger in the coffee percolator.
We set her onto the landlord. Fangs bared through smiling bouche, Gracie effected a meeting for the morrow and a replacement cafetiere to be rushed to Villa Vida with armed escort imediatement.
The sun shone.
We went shopping for food and wine. The food and wine on Lanzarote is very cheap in comparison to London. Gracie’s mood began to improve. We bought a lot of vino blanco and some rosé for good measure. Bread, cheese, olives, salami, tomatoes, crisps, water, coffee (in anticipation of a working coffee maker) more cheese and a couple of backup bottles of wine. At four euros a pop, it would have been churlish not to, you must agree.
The sun still shone as we repaired to the villa and settled in for a very late lunch.
Lunch was particularly late due to the fact that, idiots that we are, a hire car booking had been made with Ryan Air at the time of cheap flight confirmation. Fools. My advice, for what it’s worth, is if you’re going to Lanzarote do not book your hire car with Ryan Air. Here are a couple reasons why:
It will not be as cheap as you think it is.
We got done for the extra driver. Others in the hundred deep queue appeared to get done for quite a load more. The was shouting, weeping and some rather threatening language. Oh and a little bit of over the desk lunging as well. K……., our newest holiday recruit, felt the need to step away from the front line of battle and check out the sunshine beyond the terminal walls leaving hardened campaign veterans, Gracie and myself to fight the good fight and wait our turn to collect the Fiat Panda.
Collection will not be a speedy as you hope it to be.
With every single passenger from every single Ryan Air flight in this one queue it will take time to get your hire car. Every other car rental desk will be empty but you will have already paid in full so must wait your turn. Ha – you think you have paid in full. I promise you will not have (see above). The crying man in front of us seemed to be fund- less. Fundlessness takes time. A great deal of time.
Your car will be way more dented than the itemised dent/scrape list presented to you.
You need to take more time to have it re-calibrated or it will cost you more than you think. Our flight took three and a half hours of not too bad Ryan Air timeliness and service. Getting the hire car took almost two.
Need I say more?
But, the sun was still shining as we sat down to a late lunch on our patio with a view to die for.
“You know how we said we’d get L……, from the airport tomorrow?” I asked Gracie as we ploughed into our second bottle of Spanish wine.
Our fourth wheel was joining us Thursday through Monday.
“Mmmmm,” Gracie grunted while wrenching the cork from a third bottle.
“Why don’t we ask if she’d get a taxi instead? There’s something utterly unappealing about that airport. And look at the sunshine we’d be missing.”
Gracie sent a text informing her of the new plan.
Bikinied up, we prepared to enjoy the last few moments of Canarian sunshine while anticipating a sun bathe to die for in the morn now that airport run duties no longer stood in our way.
“Do you want to swap bedrooms?” I asked Gracie from my sun lounger.
There was no reply from mi amiga, too busy was she collating and binding the pages of villa defects for presentation to Steve, our landlord, in the morning. For his sake I hoped he got a good night’s sleep.