The aftermath of the burglary wasn’t too bad overall.
We claimed on the insurance and they paid out quickly without any question.
This in itself is worth its weight in gold because normally dealing with insurance companies is an absolute nightmare.
Having said that this was 1987 and they were not as clued up regarding scams and rip-offs as they are today.
Unfortunately in modern-day, it’s so extreme that many legit claims are rejected as many people have abused the system over the years.
There will usually be a loophole or some small print and then the company tells you to fuck off.
There are many timeless scams that crooks use to obtain money by deception listed in the link below.
So Carol for once had a lot of money and most of the stuff that was stolen had already been replaced by generous friends.
So she decided we would have a family holiday in Majorca.
This was a big deal in 1987 believe it or not. Plenty of people went on holiday still but not a patch on the numbers of modern-day people.
You would always hear about a friend going to Teneriffe but in general, the majority of people couldn’t afford this.
So this is all pre-internet days so booking a holiday was like a military operation. The holidays were a lot more expensive as well.
There was no way around this you had to go through a travel agent.
They always took a huge drink for themselves as well and there were travel agents everywhere.
I honestly think if I was twenty years older I would have probably opened up a travel agent it was money for old rope.
The only drawback is that everyone got wise to this quickly so many would open up in each area.
So mum and I looked on Teletext and searched for holidays and had a browse of the prices and figured out where we should go.
For anyone too old to remember this see the picture below.
Teletext was a series of information you could receive through your TV by pressing a button.
You could read the news or follow the weather pretty much anything was on there and there were codes for everything which you used your remote control for.
The graphics were piss poor and you could not buy anything off there it was basically a really shit guide to everything.
This would update itself in real-time but I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did.
It was also a lot easier than using a Thompson’s directory or Yellow Pages.
I probably need to explain these as well for all you youngsters reading this.
Pre-internet days if you had a business of any kind you would pay to put it in either of these books.
Once a year every house got a new Yellow Pages and new Thompson’s directory.
So then for example, if you needed a builder to come to your house you would look in one of these books, get his phone number and then he would come and do work.
These books served there purpose but they would usually only have small adds so prices would not be included so then Teletext became the next big thing which is explained more below
We jumped in mum’s car and went to Thomas Cook in town and after about two hours of talking to the staff and looking through catalogues of holidays we were booked to go to Majorca a week from that day.
Now it had become real and it was all very exciting. Mum took me to town got me some shorts and t-shirts. I had no idea what to expect or how different it would be so I just ran with it.
Unfortunately, Thomas Cooke went into liquidation in 2019 which was a shame as everyone used to book with them and they had most of the market for many years.
A series of poor business decisions and not evolving with the times put the final nails in their coffin which is explained in the link below.
Carol as mentioned in earlier bogs had done an extensive bit of travelling from her dancing days.
She had been to many European counties including Russia so she was a lot more switched on than the average travel agent customer.
When I think back to these days it blows my mind. I’ve flown to the other side of the world multiple times and I’ve arranged it all myself via my laptop.
I could have done it on my phone I just find it a lot easier on a big screen with a keyboard but I think saying this I’m really showing my age now.
The day before me and mum pack our cases and mum had arranged for her friend John Coomes to take us to the airport.
Now we had a mountain of paperwork as well as our passports and other things you had to carry back in those days.
It is so much more efficient these days and as a result, a lot fewer mistakes happen by the holidaymakers.
So we wake up early and being our long drive to Birmingham airport.
We had plenty of time to get there and get organised.
This was also pre 9/11 so going to the airport wasn’t as much of a nightmare as it is on a modern-day.
Granted you could get stuck in a long line especially in the summer but it moved quickly and there was no taking off shoes and scanning of laptops and tablets.
I personally do not mind the new measures of today as I have seen the effects of terrorism up close and personal from my time in the military and from working in Iraq as a contractor afterwards.
Below is an informative timeline of the modern-day practices and why they were brought into action
So we pull into Birmingham airport and Carol goes sick and starts to panic.
As so many things kept changing and there was so much paperwork she had got mixed up from where we were leaving from.
We were leaving from East Midlands Airport and now time was against us.
In her defence, this had changed multiple times and the travel agent was constantly on the phone to us trying to upsell extras and the fact he loved the sound of his own voice.
WE drive to the new airport in a blind panic and the quickest way to get there was through the country lanes and not the main roads.
We are making good speed and time is back on our side but then we end up stuck behind a tractor.
This guy had clearly never been in a hurry in his life and even if we could talk to him he had likely never left his farm nor would he ever so we spent a very stressful thirty minutes stuck behind this complete fuckwitt.
We could have overtaken him in hindsight but the odds were more in our favour of hitting another car head-on and dying instantly.
I think we all realised this especially with all of the fucked up stuff which had happened in the past few years.
So I think we all agreed in silence that we would leave it in the hands of the gods.
We pull into the airport which was brand new and tiny.
It was one of those Indiana Jones-type airports which had planes full of chicken and pigs. They had not long been in the commercial flight business.
There was still stuff being built around us with many guys in overalls drilling and hammering to try and make the terminal more presentable.
We plead with the baggage staff to let us board they say we are welcome to try but they don’t think we would have time.
We run to customs and clear customs quite quickly and we see our plane on the tarmac with everyone on board.
WE run across the runway tarmac which you could not do in modern times and the pilot looks out at us and smiles.
Carol gives him a prayer type sign with her hands which said please let us onboard.
He gives the thumbs up and we hear a voice from behind saying ill take that.
The copilot also walking down the tarmac sees us and takes one of Carol’s small bags. We get on the plane with seconds to spare and strap in ready for take-off.
I had never been on a plane before like many kids my age and to me, this was the equivalent of being on a space shuttle and I must have asked a million questions.
Carol so relieved that we made it was happy to answer as were the many stewardesses on board who went out there way to be nice to me.
We trundled along the tarmac and then we take off which I thought was the best feeling in the world.
None of my friends my age had been to Spain so I remember thinking to myself this is what life must be like for rich people.
I was told by mum that on longer flights there would be a movie and there was a special video player at the front of the plane. I remember thinking to myself only movie stars must get to watch movies on planes.
you have to understand that I had only just got my head around VHS and Betamax. I also can’t stress enough that it was 1987.
Then as we settle into the air and we can take off our seat belts I go to explore. I come back with the best news ever.
Mum you can poo on the plane if you want to and oddly enough she already knew that.
She then had to explain to me that you didn’t poo off the plane and the toilet was emptied when they landed the plane.
All of this was pure gold to a 7-year-old. Then they brought us some food which kept me quiet for a little while.
It comes over the Tannoy we are about to land and we strap in and pull into Spain safely.
We get off the plane and get our bags to which Carol had to explain the system of how the pane was loaded and unloaded and who was responsible.
We got a trolley and got our stuff together and went outside the airport.
It was night time and there were tour buses everywhere and holiday reps holding up signs and people being herded like sheep onto the right bus.
We were not going on the buses as we didn’t know how far our money would go.
Carol had the idea that we could get there and book a place a lot cheaper than through the travel agents.
A package holiday would have taken care of all of this but every time the travel agent exhaled it cost an extra 50 quid so I could understand her thinking here.
In theory, she wasn’t wrong but she hadn’t accounted that this was the height of the holiday season.
We get into a taxi and ask him to take us to a hotel for the night as it was getting late.
No problemo he smiled welcome to Spain. We drive off into the night not knowing what to expect and where we are going to end up.