The journey didn't start too well, with me underestimating the time it takes to pack two suitcases, and Clare increasingly flapping that we weren't going to make it to the airport in time.
"You know your problem?" I said to her. "You worry too much."
"Ugh Anne, I don't mean to bring this up, but on the way here you missed one flight, get booted off another, lost all your luggage, and your journey took two days longer than it should have done because you ended up in Amsterdam instead of Detroit. Which," she added, "was in exactly the opposite direction to the one in which you should have been headed."
"Good point, well made." I concluded and cranked up my packing speed.
Ten minutes later Clare was shoehorning my luggage into the boot of the car whilst I rued the footloose and fancy-free days when my bags were misplaced by North West Airlines and floated around in a mysterious baggage ether.
Baggage safely on board, Clare screamed out of Clermont onto the highway towards Orlando Airport (never breaking the speed limit of course), and before I knew it, I was handing my bags over at the 'self check-in' desks.
The whole time Clare was standing at my shoulder, "got your passports and boarding passes?"
"Check." I answered
"Got your luggage receipts?"
"Right then." She said, "go through to your departure Gate now, and hopefully even you shouldn't mess this up."
"Will do." I replied, and then added, "was that a dig?"
"No, but you have a safe journey," she replied, pushing me through passport control, whilst Izzy and I waved manically.
I am pleased to report that the whole journey went like clockwork. We flew to our connecting airport, Detroit, with no problems.
Pic. No. 1 Izzy pursues her travelator hobby ....... relentlessly
We even had two and a half hours connection time which allowed Izzy to enjoy her new-found hobby of going up and down, and up and down, and up and down - yep you got it - the various travelators.
With my limited experience of kids hobbies, the only thing akin to the travelator hobby, was the 'slam the door shut every three seconds' hobby which she favoured a year or so ago, and ruthlessly applied to every door encountered.
Pic. No. 2. A pilot bloke walking past a parked plane in front of a fancy fountain
Anyway, you will be pleased to know that after I took an arty shot of a pilot and plane in Detroit, I embarked the flight to Heathrow and arrived twenty minutes ahead of schedule at 7am.
However, arriving ahead of schedule when your destination is Heathrow doesn't mean a thing. [Prepare for rant!] It is by far the WORST airport that I have ever had the misfortune to pass through.
Firstly, they generally only have about two Passport Control guards on the 'European Nationals' section, so it takes at least 30-40 minutes to get through. If you are a 'Foreign Nationals' section, then there are about 20 guards processing passports in seconds flat.
Then comes the baggage reclaim. In most countries in the developed world, the luggage is coming out on the carousels by the time you have cleared customs. Nope, at Heathrow, I was still waiting after one and a half hours, watching the same unclaimed pink case with white spots going around and around. Then to top things off, a voice came over the tannoy; "we apologise for the slight delay in Detroit baggage reclaim."
Slight delay? Do they think we are daft? I could have driven from London to Birmingham in the time it took to get my case back. BOYCOTT HEATHROW! FLY TO GATWICK!
Pic. No. 3. A diminuitive smuggler manages to get her trick-or-treat contraband through customs
So we got our bags at last, took the worlds most expensive cab (£18.00 for five miles) to where my car was parked and so began the final leg of the journey home to Oxford.