Dick Head Tours (In Liquidation) #travel #bloggingholiday

People who have read this blog for a while will be aware of my inability to organise a holiday without any administrative cock-ups. My father, famously, described my vacation planning as being akin to ‘Dick Head Tours’. As the holidaying season is upon us and we are off to Singapore to visit the Lawyer and the Beautician before decamping to Cambodia for a few days templing I thought I would share with you one example of why you should never join in my holidays, this one from 2015.

I am happy to report that this year’s holiday has been organised by the other members of my family, principally the Textiliste. That said I am sure there will be plenty of occasions for me to stick my oar in, to the family’s discomfiture.

On a side note, blogging on holiday is always a somewhat hit and miss experience so there may be gaps, there may be random pieces, there may be  nothing. Who knows? Watch this space. Actually in blogging terms that is oxymoronic; if it’s a space there is nothing to watch; it’s when it’s not a space that… oh sod it, you know what I mean. Anyway, here’s the promised reprise…

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Sometimes it’s not easy to discern the extent of the problems ahead

As many will know, organising a holiday is stressful for me. Dickhead Tours, a phrase coined by my father to cover my organisational incompetence around holidays (read this if you doubt his wisdom) has sadly been proved an apt aphorism over many years. For this year’s trip to the Outer Hebrides and to avoid another débacle, I even involved the Textiliste this time: she did accommodation and ferries; I undertook the flights and car hire.

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He’s always looking for an excuse…

To begin with the problem looked like it was going to fall on her side of the line. I mean, can I be blamed for a ferry strike the day we were due to cross from Skye to Harris? Can I be blamed for the operator, Caledonian MacBrayne (I’m really not sure where the ‘Brayne’ bit features in their corporate consciousness) texting us the day before we travelled to tell us that, due to the strike they had rebooked us on the ferry a day earlier. We like to think we can move quickly, the Textiliste and me, but getting from South London to Uig on Skye from a standing start in under seven hours was going to be a stretch.

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He is good at excuses, this one…

They offered us a new slot but rather than the Friday as planned it was the Sunday which would severely curtail our time on Harris and Lewis; and especially since our visit to the Harris Tweed weavers was a major component of our holiday that was never going to work.

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He’s such an arse ‘Leapt into action’. Ha!

So, I leapt into action. After all, even if it wasn’t exactly her fault, it was on her watch. I was magnanimous. ‘I’ll sort it out.’ I know, I should have left it to the Textiliste. But soon enough I found us flights from Inverness to Stornoway and back on the days we wanted. I was on a roll. It meant a different car hire but that was easy: I cancelled the first, for collection on the Thursday in Inveness and replaced it with a different one for the Friday when we landed in Stornoway. I checked, doubled checked and triple checked. It was flawless and, well, it was inevitable I’d done something wrong.

The glitch, the fly in the ointment, the splinter as I slid down life’s bannister dawned on me on the flight to Stornoway. The car hire. You see, in the last couple of months the European rules have changed. Now you need a code from the DVLA confirming your licence is valid before you can hire a car. I didn’t know either but Avis warned me a week before we set off. You obtain it on line. All you need to do is fill in some details and out pops a code. It’s valid for 72 hours. I’d obtained mine for a car hire on the Thursday.

Which, of course, was 24 hours earlier than the new booking. By my calculations the 72 hours would expire precisely 17 minutes before we landed in Stornaway.

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When will you accept it is going to be your fault…?

I could go on line and get a new code; it might delay us maybe 30 minutes in the airport. Only to get the f£$%^&*+g code you need not only your address and driver’s licence number but also your national insurance number.

Who caries this around? You do? Well, bully for you. I don’t.

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I know my national insurance number. You can see it, over there!

The Textiliste sat next to me, reading a Quilting magazine, oblivious to the upcoming disaster. I wondered if you can find your NI number on line. How much using taxis to tour the islands might cost. Could I persuade her to cycle? I tried and failed not to sweat. Should I tell her?

I did as we landed. She just smiled, sure it would be ok. Why does that make it seem worse, this trust? But she was right. In the event the nice lady from Hebridean Car Hire never asked about it. They take these sort of new rules with a pinch of salt. It turned out there is a grace period when a waiver can be signed by the driver. That’ll end by August. I’ll not forget again.

I did note that the Textiliste’s smile was a touch steely. I said, ‘You know, this happens every time, doesn’t it? I really ought to stop…’

She smiled a little more.

‘Don’t you think?’ But I know the answer. Every disaster  is just another lesson to my wife.

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And suddenly there was some light….

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published three books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars and Salisbury Square. In addition I published an anthology of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand this summer. A fourth book will be out soon. This started life as a novel in a week on this blog and will follow later this year. I blog about all sorts at geofflepard.com and welcome all comments. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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38 Responses to Dick Head Tours (In Liquidation) #travel #bloggingholiday

  1. Cooler heads shall prevail… I was once a wife myself. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ritu says:

    Lol! His Geoffleship at least your Dickhead Tours company leaves folks with interesting stories to tell!!! 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Darlene says:

    My husband can join your club. He once arrived at an airport in Canada to fly to the UK with an expired passport. He figured because he still was a British citizen it would be OK!!! I was so tempted to go ahead without him but instead sweet talked the folks at the check in desk to let him go on the plane with promises to take him to the passport office immediately once we got to London to get a new passport. Which we did or he would not have been able to return home with me!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Geeze, you wouldn’t be a good housesitter if you get stressed organising travel! Good thing you are a writer!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. stevetanham says:

    Still laughing, Geoff. Love the ‘seventeen minutes before we landed’ bit!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You know she’s right don’t you – the Textiliste? It will always be alright. So you can still be the CEO of Dick Head Tours, just without the sweating and splinters. It would be so much more fun for you then too. Enjoy your holiday. Mind, you’ll sweat in Singapore, but just from humidity, not fear…. 😀 Dead jealous about the upcoming templing experience!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s the perfect story about how most couples travel. It will always be your fault and she will always fix it somehow. Murphy’s law. This was truly hilarious! I’m sorry, don’t mean to laugh at your expense but it is too funny. 🙂 This kind of thing is required for all writers. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great post, Dick. ‘the splinter as I slid down life’s bannister’ is a wonderful image

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I enjoy your Dickhead Tours stories. You should market them Geoff as Mystery tours as you never know where you asre going or what is going to happen. People pay good money for those sorts of holidays! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. willowdot21 says:

    Hope you enjoy Hong Kong! I laughed the first time I read the Hebrides story, cried this time 😱🌹

    Liked by 1 person

  11. noelleg44 says:

    There’s a branch of Dick Head Tours right here in North Carolina. You’re welcome to use our company any time!
    Enjoy your holiday!

    Liked by 1 person

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