Saturday 7th December 2002

We live next to the world's busiest airport so of course we have to drive from Heathrow to catch the Fuerteventura flight from Gatwick. Who says the government's transport policy isn't working?

And worse than that, unlike Heathrow, there is nowhere to get a decent pint in Gatwick. But we survive - and have an OK lunch at Est Est Est (10% off for BA shareholder voucher) before piling onto the Airtours flight. (Still can't get used to the saddo marketing suit name of "MyTravel" - sounds like something you'd get in Windows which only makes me loathe it even more.)

Last year's flight was on a shiny new double-decker Airbus with a reasonable amount of leg-room, little LCD screens showing external camera views (cool) and movies as well as console games. One showing of Cats and Dogs later, there we were in Fuerteventura in reasonable comfort recommendable to anyone.

This year? Good grief. Crammed full flight on a Boeing leased in from somewhere (no livery - just white) and even the two decades old video system broke down. Mike is 6 foot 3 tall and would not recommend this seat pitch to anyone.

Anyway, on landing in Fuerteventura, we're met by the estimable Keith who also gathers in Yvonne, Linda, Mary and Jemma. After negotiation with the car hire people we cram the cars full of luggage and people and trundle off to Caleta de Fuste where those kind folks at the Villas Caletas have sponsored the expedition with support on accommodation costs.

Nice apartments too - no more than 5 minutes walk from the beach / harbour and commercial centre with more bars and restaurants than you can shake a medium size stick at.

Settle in and wander round to the apartment used as HQ - Keith and Marshall's - for the briefing. We meet Jenny (the Boss), Marshall and Ted along with the others. Keith and Marshall have already acquired a local mascot or two who just happened to come round "for breakfast".

Apparently we are doing something new this year, having been invited to use the facilities as a hotel complex down south at Jandia - Stella Canaris - in return for spending a couple of days hunting down some of the "hundreds of cats" on the complex.

Afterwards, we head off with Keith, Mary, Yvonne and Linda to a restaurant (The Manchester) in the complex just inland from our apartments. This is run by Elizabeth & Tony - friends of Mary. They feed a local group of ferals and we are to collect these later in the week.

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