So, this is my first proper holiday from work - a full week rather than the odd day. I'm in Lowestoft, staying with Pip and The Boy. Steve can't take time off work at the moment, and Pip no longer has a car, so the biggest problem has been sorting out the logistics of getting me about, not just to and from Lowestoft but also around places while I'm here.
The first plan was to hire a car for Pip, so that he and Steve could both drive towards each other and hand me over at the halfway point. This way neither of them would be spending the whole day driving. But Steve found that the company he wanted to use wouldn't allow Pip to pick up a car that he wasn't paying for, and furthermore, this payment would have to be by a credit card on which he was named.
Unsurprisingly, as a single parent Pip doesn't have the means to pay for a week's hire of a car. The only possible solution that company had was that Steve should drive me all the way to Lowestoft, hire the car himself, have Pip named as an additional insured driver, and then drive all the way back, causing a marvellous amount of additional expense and inconvenience for Steve's weekend. By this point I think Steve was about at the end of his rope so he agreed to collect the car in person on Saturday, at "about lunchtime, depending on traffic" as he would be driving all the way from Warwickshire.
As such, on Saturday morning we got up at a weekday kind of time and got to Pip's at about 1.30. We brought my stuff in from Steve's car and phoned the car hire place to check things...
... and the call rolled to a diverted number. The person who picked up - apparently nothing to do with the car hire place - told us that the car hire place had closed at 12noon. Just like they had done every Saturday for the last fifteen years. For some reason, this hadn't seemed like a relevant point to raise for the person who agreed we could pick up a car at lunchtime.
We started hunting for alternatives, but it seems that every car hire place that isn't based at an airport closes at lunch on Saturday and does not reopen until Monday morning.
Alternative plan: since the Boy spends Saturdays with his mother, we spent Saturday afternoon relaxing. We all went for a coffee with friends, and then Steve drove back home. Pip and I intend to try and hire a car between the two of us on Monday morning.
It has been really nice to be able to just relax and chatter with Pip.
This morning we went out to get a booster seat for the Boy to use in the car, and then to the park where we fed the ducks. This was more complicated than it might sound at first, when you consider it was me in a wheelchair and the Boy on his new bike. Pip definitely got a good workout.
This afternoon we've been rediscovering Sonic the Hedgehog. I lose to a four-year-old. It's mildly distressing, but testament to intuitive gaming controls. Still, I'm managing a good line in getting him past a section when he gets "stuck" which is nice.
Mostly though, I've been taking the opportunity to rest, which was the whole point of the holiday. The Boy had difficulty believing that all I was doing upstairs was having naps, he felt sure there must be something more interesting going on.
Okay... I've recovered from getting here and had a good night's sleep. I've made plans to get fed at my mum's and also to get together with several friends, which should be good. The Boy has got used to me being here again and everything is going smoothly.
Plus, Pip and I successfully managed to hire a car. First thing this morning I called Lowestoft Car Hire and arranged to pick up a car from them at about 10am. They were perfectly happy for me to pay and Pip to drive, in fact they seemed quite surprised I was asking whether that was okay. We were really impressed by their customer service. The taxi to take us to their unit arrived here at 9.45, we got there, we were offered several choices, we chose one, did the paperwork, paid, got "shown around" the car, and were driving away by 10.10. That's a LOT more like it.
On with the holiday!