I can’t believe it is twelve months since John went to Belfast on his beloved S boat, where has the time gone? Having said that, not a day has gone by without him mentioning it, looking up Stenna line ferries on google and youtube and carefully planning his next trip. He is down at the quayside at every opportunity, lurking around the departure lounge and licking the windows in reception. “S boat man” he yells at the top of his voice whenever he spots a member of staff, “Johnelmo on S boat, yesss peas”.
It goes without saying that he is now very well known down at S boat HQ.
Well folks its that time again and Johnny boy is off to Belfast Tuesday morning at 10.00 a.m. My ears are ringing with a years worth of his cries of how many sleeps it is until he goes. He has even slapped a bald spot into the top of his head with all the excitement, the good people of Belfast will be forgiven in thinking that they are about to be invaded by mad monks.
This year John will be staying for two nights in a city centre hotel before sailing back on Thursday. He has never stayed in a hotel before so one can only imagine his reaction, you can rest assured it will be loud and long. He will find everything in the room hilarious and want to flush the toilet repeatedly, especially in the wee small hours. Pardon the pun.
My sympathies lie with the hotel guests in the adjoining rooms. I dare not give away the name of the hotel for fear there is a sudden rush of cancellations and the Ibis’s share value drops overnight. Oh damn! now I’ve gone and done it.
One good thing is that Johns car will also be going to Belfast, this affords John more packing space and ensures the support workers backs are not a health and safety issue. Last year they resembled Sherpas, so weighed down were they with the amount of ‘stuff’ John wanted to take with him. They looked so worn out and sleep deprived that they did infact look as if they has just trekked to the summit of Everest and back. Clearly this year taking the car was a condition of them agreeing to go back.
This past weekend has been a crazy fun filled S boat fest as John revved himself up with anticipation. He took to standing at the top of the stairs at regular intervals announcing in a very loud voice (is there any other kind) that he ‘Johnelmo’ would be leaving for ‘Befass’ in four, three and two sleeps depending on which day it was. He printed 43 pictures of the S boat and twelve of an old Japanese gentleman with no teeth. I have no idea why.
We turned the smelly shops upside down looking for appropriate S boat music on cd, and came away with ‘In Dulci Jubilo’ A Festival of Christmas by the Bach Choir and the Philip Jones Ensemble. You couldn’t make it up. I offered a silent prayer to the poor unsuspecting guests of the previously mentioned, unmentionable hotel.
We made several very different lists of the things John thought he might need to take on his ‘Oyiday, Befass, yessss’ as he called it. I was relieved to find that this year he didn’t include any live stock, last year he wanted to take Terry his favourite goat and a micro pig. However he was very definite that he wanted to take Margaret our lovely neighbour. John has grown to love Margaret very much, she has a washing machine which he finds irresistible and he is always knocking on her door to gain access to it, she also makes him fabulous cakes. How could he not love a woman who can provide two of his most favourite things! I explained that it wasn’t possible on this occasion as Margaret would be busy making his next cake, reluctantly John nodded that he understood, poked his tongue out and chose a packet of dried pasta to take instead. I am still trying to work that one out!
John’s grandad & I will be stood watching the S boat depart, binoculars and tissues at the ready. Goodness knows why I find it so emotional, I guess its seeing John so happy and excited, knowing how much this means to him.
It might sound as if it would be easy to organise this trip and if it was for you and I it would be, but the amount of jiggling of staff rotas, reams of paper work, risk assessments and financial planning that has to go into this 3 night jolly is huge. So John’s dad & I give a huge thank you to thank the Staff at Nelsons Croft where John lives, and to Wirral Society as a whole for once again making our boys dream come true.
Nelsons Croft will be a very quiet house for the next three days, make the most of it because he will be bouncing of the walls when he gets back in two sleeps!