(Golly, there's not a lot to be said for the architecture of this station, is there?) But in fact it's been quite some time, hasn't it? Thank you for that, Mr Volcano! We should have returned to Blighty over a week ago but found ourselves stranded in the middle of nowhere, veritably marooned on a desert island. Feeling sorry for us? Hmm, you might want to reserve judgment!
So where have we been all this time then? Well, first it was the short matter of a nine and a half hour flight heading East. But we weren't there yet, oh no. Our holidays invariably involve some new and whacky mode of transport and this time, we thought how about a sea plane? There's nothing that Munchkin loves more than a new and unusual form of transport...
Eeek, I've never been in an 18 seater plane before where you're practically on the pilot's knee. Hold ooooooonnn...
Hmm, where on earth are we heading? Hope the pilot has a better idea of how to make head or tail of this.
Phew, there it is, our desert island dream...
Now things get really interesting. After a fifteen minute flight, we have to get out of the seaplane, which has landed in the middle of the sea, and wait for the speedboat to take us ashore. Yes, on that little rickety rafty thing. I need a cocktail. Please let there be cocktails. Soon.
The speedboat soon picks us up and whisks us off. They've done this before, many times, thank goodness. Ah, that looks more like it.
The jetty is in sight and wild horses will not drag me back to that grim railway station in London!
Where next? I see the important things a girl on an island in the Maldives needs to know. The reef. The bar. The spa. Let's gloss over the sports centre. Sorted.
And here is home for the next two weeks (make that three then, Mr Volcano).
The villa is the least of our priorities and we do what you just have to do first when you hit foreign shores: get your cossie on and head for the nearest beach or the nearest pool. Well, the infinity pool is handily situated on the beach so there's no need to choose. Good, because the only thing I'm choosing for the next few weeks is a cocktail from the list and a treatment in the spa!
This is the life, thinks the Munchkin.
The boys take part in a spot of unexpected bird watching. Indeed, Henry the Heron is often to be found around the island over the following weeks and likes nothing better than a dip in the pool.
Bird watching? Far too exhausting for me, I'd need to get off my sunlounger. Very important to keep hydrated whilst in a hot country (and trust me, it was oh SO hot), so there's nothing for it than a cocktail or maybe two, to accompany a spot of crafting. The colours prove very inspirational.
As do the stunning flowers. The vegetation is abundant on the island (as are the lizards - eek!)
The Munchkin has other things on his mind. He's still building sand castles as the sun goes down.
Other times, he finds it all tooo wearying and opts for munching some pineapple in a rather comfy spot.
As well as beautiful flowers, there is truly a-mazing marine life in the Maldives. We borrowed some snorkelling gear and saw some fabulous fish and corals. The coral reef was mere yards from one side of the island and you could easily spot all manner of colourful fish swimming next to you as you stood only waist deep in the sea. Oh the sea; warm as bath water and crystal clear. The best sea I've ever been privileged to see. Did I mention the sharks?
It wasn't all just laziness and cocktails, you know. One afternoon, we ventured to the nearby island, home to local Maldivian people. Ah yes, we can do cultural here at the HenHouse.
There was the predictable selection of gift shops though they were fairly low key.
Hmm, it's hardly This 'n' That in Totnes!
I think you could walk around the whole island in half an hour. To be honest, it was not particularly pretty, the shoreline was shockingly littered with rubbish, I think we were spoiled on our resort island and it was a shame to see the locals didn't seem to care to look after the island or the water round it. I satisfied myself with snapping some colourful local houses.
The island has 900 inhabitants and apparently an average home will house three families (and the houses were generally not as pretty or as big as the ones I've photographed). It was an interesting and thought provoking comparison for the lucky eight year old Munchkin. The school was a tad different from his own Victorian Gothic pile.
We were keen to head back to paradise! The island looked spectacularly pretty at dusk.
Cocktail at the Sand Bar anyone?
Ah, I miss this...
The entertainment on the island is about as lively as watching the sting rays being fed at 6.30pm each evening.
The local man has apparently been feeding fish to the sting rays for years. It was quite a sight to behold!
For Mr HenHouse and I, there were some yummy meals in gorgeous shore-side restaurants with only a handful of tables, from where we could watch the crabs scuttling along the beach.
Most evenings, it was a little cloudy but there were still some fairly spectacular sunsets to behold.
We had a truly wonderful time but of course, it's always nice to be home. Eventually.