The flight back was unremarkable. We were back over UK airspace at roughly the time I would have been returning from a blues bar; my day was starting in the UK when it would be usually ending in San Francisco. I had not slept at all.
Once through the rigmarole associated with completing all the hurdles to escape an airport, I walked out through the arrivals gate and there a few yards in front of me were my two daughters and grandson. I had expected Sally to be there to collect me, but Katie's and Oliver's presence tripled my delight. I was lost for words and just smothered them in hugs, kisses and cuddles. I thought Oliver, who was 8 months old when I left, might have forgotten me and would have taken a while to come around to me, but he was a happy wee soul who was content in my arms straight away. He had just started to crawl when I left four months ago, now he was toddling. I was over the moon to see them again.
I was totally parched after the flight, so we stopped at a cafe in the airport to stock up on fluids. The door to the outside world was open in the cafe, so I carried Oliver out in my arms to show him the world. His head was constantly swiveling around as he watched multicoloured busses and taxis whiz by; such an alert wee lad. A real treasure!
A couple of hours later and I was back home. I was now completely whacked out and didn't know what to do with myself. I soon had plenty to occupy my mind: the shower was broken, the toilet leaked when flushed, the car wouldn't go into gear, the car radiator sprung a major leak, and I'm sure many more things would become apparent as the days went by.
The euphoria of getting back had been replaced by the anticlimax. My mindset would require major rearrangement to return to how things were before the trip, or perhaps I should just say sod it and go forth on another adventure. A time to reflect, and just be glad to be back safe with my family again.
When I have had time to mull it all over, I will tag a conclusion page on to the end of the diary.
I hope my sharing my adventure with you brought a little colour, humour and knowledge into your life, and better still, will have inspired you to go out and live your own dreams. You only have one chance in life; don't leave it too late! Just go out and do it.
Good luck and be safe!