We arrived on the beautiful island of Antigua on Tuesday. The whole process was pretty uneventful. The flight was smooth; I was of course sozzled before we left UK airspace. This was courtesy of two breakfast Bellinis; these are the same as normal Bellinis only they’re drunk before 9am with Eggs Benedict – Darling. John and I almost caused a mini-uprising in Upper Class by inviting some people we’d met before the flight up to the bar, but apparently that’s a Cardinal sin; people sitting in Premium aren’t allowed to taste the nectar from the Upper bar – which by the way, is exactly the same as the rest of the flight gets only we get left the entire bottle to plunder and not just a piddly little travel size bottle of plonk. It all tastes the same at altitude anyway, oh who the hell am I kidding, everything tastes the same after a bottle or two with the exception of anything aniseed which along with bananas is the Devil’s food.
I got through immigration and customs in a bit of a hung over blur. Hey ho, start the new life as I left the last one, with a bad head and a mouth like a badger’s arse. As a little aside, it has to be said that for some reason whether it’s the water, weather or warmth I don’t know, but the minute I step foot on Antiguan soil my Irritable Bowel Syndrome disappears. It doesn’t just loiter in the background and I forget about it because I feel intensely euphoric at seeing the sunshine and feeling the sand between my toes again, it completely and fully fucks off. I know that for a fact I leave my IBS on the tarmac and like a parasitic evil bastard it lays in wait for a likely candidate in which to host itself. That’s a true story honest, it’s in colour on the Internet, and it must be true.
I think John and I had widely differing expectations regarding how finished the house was going to be. John? I think he might have had a picture in his head of a fully functioning turnkey house with a few finishing touches needed. Me? I was expecting what we got which was a roof, working electricity, running water, lockable doors and windows with the added bonus of a bed, sofa and working toilets. Let’s just say I wasn’t pissed off too much, just tired and relieved to be home. John on the other hand had a face like the tropical storm that was passing over the island. So there’d been a few delays in getting the tiles laid which had a knock-on effect for everything else, but even in my jetlagged state I genuinely could not have given any less of a shit than if I’d eaten two pounds of cheese.
The first night in our new home passed eventfully. A lovely deep tropical wave passed over the house and dumped a whole load of rain into our water tank, yeh ok so we had a mini-epic flood in the bedroom but we dealt with it. My only focus in life at that moment was getting through the next twelve hours before we could go and collect the dogs from the airport after their flight. To say I’ve been a bag of nerves would be an understatement, it would be like calling Leonard Cohen slightly miserable – because I love my husband so much I bought him tickets to see the miserable git in Birmingham many years ago, it was three hours of my life I will never get back. After the THIRD FUCKING ENCORE I woke up and all that could be heard from the back of The Birmingham National Exhibition Centre was me yawning loudly, “OH NO, NOT THE FUCK AGAIN” as the doddery old wrist slitter started up with some more of his tunes. Ahhh memories. If anyone asks that age old dumb question, “But what exactly is love?” That’s always my answer, sitting through music you hate because you know your partner will appreciate it and to show their gratitude you know he’s going to go down on you just that little bit longer. Love is not unconditional; if you want that, get a puppy.
So, where was I? Oh yes, the dogs, Holly and Fred. PetAir UK have been our UK brokers and I would recommend them to anyone needing to fly their fur-family members to strange and exotic places. The paperwork, blood tests and vaccinations were no hassle at all. Liaising with Dr Edwards in Antigua for their arrival was a dream. Sitting outside the cargo area of British Airways on Wednesday afternoon was never ending. The full force of the tropical storm hit the airport and I had no idea if the flight was even landing! My drama Queen self need not have panicked. Holly and Fred were offloaded, paperwork completed and Dr Edwards bid us good day and left us to the mercy of Customs. Oh my! I am not about to start screaming about how a country other than the UK conducts it’s customs. I appreciate fully I am a stranger in someone else’s country, I respect that absolutely, but we really were at the mercy of the customs guys as to how much they were going to charge us in import tax for the dogs. Dr Edwards had kindly vouched safe that he knew Fred and I from last year and these dogs were not commercial dogs at all so I think we got away lightly with charges, although no receipt was issued. I didn’t want to push our luck at all. One of the kindlier men from customs then asked me a question which left me speechless, yeh I know right? Me, speechless! I was asked, “Can I get this dog?”
The Custom’s guy pointed at Fred. In my naivety I assumed he wanted a dog LIKE Fred, but no he wanted Fred, my actual Freddy-Boo-Boo-Snush (don’t judge me).
I answered. “NO!”
This was returned with a look of shock because I’d said no. Right, I often go around just giving family members away to passing strangers, AND because I was going to spend all this fucking money and all the legal hassles of getting him from Antigua to the UK and vice versa just to give him away to someone just because they asked. Sigh
The Trish in the UK when faced with such stupidness would have said, “Yeh well, if you want a Fred get yourself to a rescue centre and get one because there are hundreds of abandoned dogs on the island and you want one like Fred? Well ALL dogs can look like Fred if you feed them well, vaccinate them, neuter them, give them a safe bed and love them.” Trish in Antigua isn’t bold enough right now, well not at that moment because I didn’t want to be screwed with even more import charges.
So the lesson we have learned this week? Don’t mind the rain, don’t expect unconditional love for Leonard Cohen, go re-home a rescue dog and always demand payment from partners in oral sex – in a consenting mutual respect kind of way.
Thank you and enjoy your day.