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Tuesday, 4th October 2016
We counted down the months. We counted down the weeks. We counted down the days. At last the non-working day arrived, the day on which we had to ensure the spare bed room was sealed up so Amelia couldn't hide inside it, the day on which clothes were packed in cases cluttering up the lounge, the day of have we got everything together?

Our poor cats, Tabitha and Amelia, were transported in their carriers to the Grange Cattery in Waterbeach and the kind care of Phyllis. The road had been improved in places, but still bumpy and undulating. It may be the last time they go there as Phyllis is in her 60s, and the landlord has planned building works which will shut the cattery. Disturbingly (but necessarily I guess) Phyllis asked what to do if Tabitha died while we were away - we settled for having her frozen at the vets so we could cremate her later.
An easy drive down - Ginny drove to the Macdonalds at Royston where we had a drink each, convenient one can order at a touch-screen, then I drove to South Mimms where we favoured KFC. The Satnav to my concern didn't take us down the M3, but instead the A3 which was fine if not better as the M3 has always had roadworks on it when we've gone along it. We were glad as we arrived too early to check in to find a Harvester on the outskirts of Portsmouth at Great Salterns with good views of the sea. I had an apple 'bomb' which happily didn't contain sultanas.

The Satnav lulled us into a false sense of security by navigating us safely to what I imagined was a B&B but proved to be the upmarket Number 4 Boutique Hotel. Just as well we were on the ground floor in room 1 as we had five cases to manhandle in from the car! A helpful receptionist Daga seemed miffed we didn't ask her to help with moving the cases. Instead of going back to the Harvester we used the free Wifi to check out nearby restaurants, and settled on a tapas place Nicholsons which was an easy walk up the street. The baked mushroom starter was splendid, the shared main course of paella was a little stodgy to me.

Room was hot as the heating was on, also heard noise from next room a bit. I survived the time by watching four episodes of Ghost until we left.