The summer passed and we watched the weather in Gradeshnitsa on our phone apps hit 34 degrees at times!!

So we were actually relieved to be in much-cooler England, especially as the Bulgarian house has no livable rooms in the cooler basement until we can get those done up!

The flights were booked for September as we knew it would be cooler then, but still good average temperatures, and cheaper flight prices as it was no longer school holiday time.

Because it was Alex’s last year of GCSE study, and because they’d already said they were not that bothered about going again until we’d got the house a bit more set-up and were able to get out and about exploring more, the two older boys didn’t come this time.

I was sad they weren’t there with us, but understood why they didn’t want to go; the facilities there are still quite limited and it’s not a huge amount of fun sitting around whilst the grown-ups do boring jobs on the house, or wait in all day for deliveries.

This time, we’d planned to leave a little earlier in the day and arrive at Gatwick at dinner time, so we could eat at the airport before going to the Travelodge for a few hours sleep.

We’d found the journey that would need the least amount of train changes, as we had a toddler in a pushchair, three cabin-sized suitcases, and a rucksack, which was a pain to drag on and off various trains, so we thought we’d be smart and minimise the disruption to our journey!

We hadn’t factored in the rail network having a tonne of issues that day though!

Signal failures, point failures, smoke on the tracks, and even someone hitting a train bridge with their car :O

Arriving at Portsmouth Harbour, we expected to get on our train but it was cancelled.

As was the next one we could have caught :/

An employee advised us to catch the next available train to Havant then get off there.

At Havant, there seemed to be a load more people with suitcases trying to get to Gatwick too!

Another employee told us to get the next train to Barnham.

So we slowly edged up the line, closer to Gatwick with each change, having to unload all the luggage off one train and onto the next!

We finally made it and enjoyed a much-needed meal at Wetherspoons (the first time we’d eaten out for MONTHS as we don’t even do that for special occasions any more!).

Then we caught the shuttle train to the North terminal (which B loved!) and ordered a taxi to take us to the Travelodge.

Despite the fact that we’d told the taxi company where we were waiting and that we had a toddler in a pushchair as well as all our luggage, and despite the fact that we were waiting at the Gatwick drop-off/pick-up spot, the taxi driver pulled up OVER THE ROAD :/

Which meant we then had to collect up all our luggage AGAIN and drag it across the road to him…

Our exhaustion by this point matched our frustration as it had been a hard, tiring day, and because of my EDS, poor Ian was having to do the bulk of the hefting of the luggage as I was only able to manage the pushchair.

I might have uttered a few choice words about how rubbish all the services we had paid for that day had been!!

But eventually, we made it to the Travelodge.

Who put us in a room about 6 miles away from reception, and up a flight of stairs in a section of the hotel that had NO lift to get us up to it *eyeroll*

Which meant dragging all the luggage up said stairs, taking B out of the pushchair and holding his hand whilst he slowly climbed them at his toddler pace, and carrying a pushchair up too…

So that was fun too!!

But at least we’d finally made it and now just had the challenge of getting B to sleep quickly so we could sleep too, as we needed to be awake at 3am the next morning.

I was just too exhausted to take him through his usual bedtime routine by this point, so I hoped just snuggling in bed between us would be enough to help him fall asleep.

He didn’t play ball though, so we gave up for a while and just snuggled up watching a bit of TV, knowing it might stimulate him, but hoping it would be boring enough for him to drift off to!

At about 10:30pm, we just turned it off and quite soon after he drifted off too!

At LAST, we could finally relax for a few hours… 🙂

A few more photos from our visit…