If you had asked me yesterday which was my preferred London airport I would have had to think hard. Not today, the answer in a flash is Birmingham. Seriously, Gatwick is nowhere near London, Luton is a building site with no direct transport and a bottleneck approach road that needs much more serious thought, Stanstead is OK, but where is it? Suffolk? Southend is improving, and Heathrow is a fight; either an hour on the tube or the unpredictable M25. If you drive and park for Heathrow, you’ll be miles away with a transfer in traffic. Birmingham however, as much as I hated the idea when my tickets were delivered, is easy!

Birmingham is ‘the’ London airport. A simple uncrushed, hour long overground train ride sitting in a civilised seat with a table. The train stops in the airport and you wheel your cases to the check-in a hundred yards away.  My advance train ticket which, my employer does not pay for, cost half the Gatwick express price, and almost the same as a tube ticket; where I would be unlikely to get a seat. It goes to show that you have to think out of the box. However, if your plane is flying from one of the lesser London airports there is no point in travelling to Birmingham.

It fits with my less than direct life that I am about to land at Orlando, Florida for a Caribbean Cruise. Surely everyone else on the plane is heading for a theme park. My direct route would be; find a man, fall in love, get married; but I have left it a little bit late in life; the panic is on. Have you noticed that now there are more and more single women that they lock the Captain in his flight cockpit? The route my life has taken since waking from my cryogenic state has been a very educational set of diversions with no road map.

STOP – you may have thought this was one of our Doris Visits blogs. But no, all the words above, every word, unchanged are the opening words to the novel AMERICAN PORTRAIT. Now you may say she (Violet Becket) sounds off her head, but she is, in a nice way. We do hark on about these romantic novels, but they are all set on cruises, and seriously, it is like you are there. Not between the sheets, between the islands !

We smiled when we read this because we have flown regularly from the nightmarish London airports – except Southend, where did that come from? Bit, we have also got on the train at Watford, got off in Birmingham Airport and said – wow, why is this so easy. So just saying, let the train take the strain, try Birmingham, and also before you go, for less than a tenner, down load the first three Solo Cruiser books to your Kindle. You will be shocked, not talking about the romance, that might shock too, but, it is a shock. Should you decide to drive to Birmingham Airport and need parking; Birmingham Airport Parking with Holiday Extras

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READ THE CRUISE BEFORE YOU CRUISE THE SEA. In the book charts, SOLO CRUISER BOOK SERIES. Violet Becket has never cruised. In fact, she has been nowhere in a long time. Too long. Book 1, Virgin Voyage has been in the book charts for some weeks now. Or listen to chapter one of book 1 here.

Violet has never had romance, never ever. As an older woman time is running out and she needs to make a change. This romantic read is based around cruises because once she cruises she loves it. That is her romance, well, there is a little more. Sally Katz used the films on Doris Visits to peg her books on! With permission. Each book takes place on a cruise! Book 1 is a Canary Islands cruise, Book 2 is in the Baltic, Book 3 is in the Caribbean, and Book 4 goes from the ABC islands through the Panama Canal.

See the solo cruiser blog on the three books – and don’t worry about Birmingham !