Monday 13 November

On the day of our departure, I wake promptly and I’m at Clare’s 10 minutes early. We load the car and then after extensive checks (I won’t mention the iron) we are away from Radcliffe-on-Trent by 9.20 am. The travel news has warned us to expect delays at Leicester, but it is further down the M1 that stress-levels begin to rise as we sit motionless for nearly half an hour. We arrive at my parents’ rather later than planned, for a rushed lunch. Fortunately the final leg to Heathrow is without incident and Dad drops us off at Terminal 2 with time to spare.

The three-hour flight on a Boeing 737-800 is just long enough to feel like a significant journey before we land at dusk in Casablanca. We left England on a clear cold day and here in Morocco it is cloudy and drizzling.

The luggage-handlers have more than enough time to unload our bags onto the carousel while we queue for what seems like ages at immigration. A rather pretty water-sculpture and mosaic in the entrance hall soon loses its appeal as frustration sets in. At last, we emerge into the cool drizzle outside the terminal building and quickly find our leader, Andy McKee, and the rest of the group.

We have a small comfortable coach which is to be our home for the next two weeks. Later in the hotel, we begin to introduce ourselves. There is quite a mixture of people, although several are seasoned travellers. It seems to be quite common to book an Exodus holiday as a last-minute ‘must get away’ trip for those times when you can’t or don’t want to bother organising everything yourself.