Ian and Carol had somewhat differing views on their daughter and her family’s new home in Dubai. Carol was over the moon; at last an excuse to escape the UK in January, get a really good tan and pick up as many of the latest handbags at that Al Karumba place as legally possible. Ian was less than pleased. A man reliant on the comforts and regularity of everyday life, who could never understand the necessity of leaving the British Isles for one’s holiday, he visibly winced at the thought of not being able to get his hands on his daily newspaper. That together with the prospect of dealing with an inevitable sunburn on the top of his head and a whole week with his grandchildren led to much indecipherable mutterings for most of the journey, which Carol chose to ignore.
Wandering around the Duty Free when they arrive at Dubai airport doesn’t improve Ian’s mood; he tuts and gasps at the prices while Carol struggles with armloads of sweets for the ungrateful grandchildren. Their trolley is already groaning under the weight of their luggage (Carol insists on bringing her own body weight in M&S food, even though her daughter has told her countless times that there is a branch in Dubai now. Carol thinks it tastes different). They are greeted by their slightly dishevelled-looking son-in-law who struggles to hide his exhaustion; Ian insisted on getting the cheapest flight which arrived at 5am Dubai time and was relieved when Carol’s suggestion that they got a cab was politely dismissed. The drivers here were distinctly unreliable and made Nigel Mansell look pedestrian.
There is one upside to this car park in the desert for Ian and that’s the golf. Luckily the sainted son-in-law insists on paying for their rounds or else Ian wouldn’t take a step into the clubhouse. Meanwhile back at the villa, Carol speaks very slowly and loudly to her daughter’s maid just to make sure her every word is understood and remarks how disappointing it is that you can’t get Lime cordial out here. She’ll have to remember to pack some next time.