‘Right, where are ya all’ boomed out the broad Nottinghamshire accent from behind us. ‘Amber, Dwayne, Nectar, Shane, Jordan, Sky’ the list went on and on. ‘Wayne, Shazz and Dean. Where’s that bloody Dean?’
‘He’s gone back to the duty free shop Granddad’ came this little voice. ‘Him and Shaz and some of the others polished off the stuff they bought earlier. They had it in their cokes and now he says that they are running low on loobrication or summat!’
‘Well go and get ‘im now, cos we need ta stay together. We’re a party of fifteen and we need to sit together dun we?’
‘But granddad’ came the same little voice. ‘We have all got these passes with our seat numbers on already.’
‘Rubbish lad, you’ll see, we’re family and family allus sticks together, no matter what the booking people say!’
Our hearts sank. It seemed as though a quiet week in the sun was not going to be quite as quiet as we had imagined.
‘C’mon you lot, stick together, remember this is a celebration it’s me 50th birthday this year and all of us, right down to the grandkids are gonna have a good time at this fwerty place.’
Our hearts sank even further, the talker was obviously referring to Fuerteventura, where we also were headed. The holiday brochures had described it as the least commercialised of all the Canary Islands and we had foolishly assumed that this would mean quaint and quiet, with plenty of sun, sea and so on.
‘Orright boomed the voice ‘ When we get sat down I will order us some champagne for the flight. My treat. WE will start as we mean to go on this week. Now, someone go and get that bloody Dean afore he falls ower!’
Finally the flight was called and the party of fifteen lead the way onto the aircraft sitting themselves in a group so that they could share out the smaller children between them and could drink their celebration champagne together. One of the cabin crew approached the leader slightly tentatively.
‘Excuse me sir, are these your seats? You see, they do appear to be for these other people behind me.’
‘Of course they are our seats, we’re in ‘em and I ain’t too good on the reading but someone tole me these was ours.’ He stared cheerfully at the stewardess who recognised that she was on a loser if she tried to move them.
‘I am sure that these people will be happy to move to the vacant seats, now can I see your boarding cards, so that I can rearrange things?’
‘Yus, of course me dear he boomed and while yer about it can ya put six bottles of yer champagne on to chill ‘cos it’s time to celebrate innit?’
The stewardess hurried off to re-seat the other passengers and was heard to whisper to one of the other cabin crew: ‘Don’t make a fuss, they’ve ordered six bottles of champagne and that will look good on our sales reports!’
The rest of the flight passed uneventfully if a little loudly as the alcohol levels mounted in and around the party of fifteen. Eventually they staggered off the plane clutching hand luggage duty free bottles and kids. Da Boss and I breathed a sigh of relief and made our way to collect our luggage and find the coach taking us straight to the hotel.
‘Where’s our Dean this time’ boomed the familiar voice.
‘He’s over there by the hedge being sick’ announced the same young voice as last time. ‘He said it was something he et!’
‘Et, ET, he din have any room to eat anyfing after all that lager and whisky and champagne. Never mind, we’re here to celebrate, in’t we?’
The chorus of agreement confirmed that all were present – if not quite fit and well.
‘Right, where’s the bus?’
They disappeared and we found our coach, handed over the luggage and settled back. Then it all started again.
‘The Hotel Dunas ? Yes that is us sir!’
‘Good, well we’re wiv you and there’s a load of us so we can ‘elp ya wiv da luggage. The uvver bloke said ‘Too much, too much,’ and I agreed wiv ‘im – but wot can ya do wiv a woman eh? They take what they want. On ‘oliday!’
Fortunately that was the last we saw of them until the day we left to return when once more we were greeted with the familiar booming chant of ‘Party of fifteen, coming through.’ This time however, Granddad’s deep voice was accompanied by the reedy piping of the young lad who always seemed to know where Dean was. Together they chanted their way through check in and onto the plane home.