Yay we’re off on our holidays today! Sunny Scarborough beckons and I’m really looking forward to it. At least I will be when I’ve got over a few hurdles which I’d like to share with you in a bid to establish whether it’s just me who finds the lead up to a family holiday quite stressful or if anyone else also experiences any of the following:-
1. The washing
For the past two days, I’ve been modelling an extremely funky black corduroy button-up skirt and mint green knitted jumper combo c1970, Molly has been prancing around in skin-tight, too-short, peach tracksuit bottoms, Eddy has been playing football in his school uniform and Pud….well Pud has been wearing just the same as he always wears.
Why the strange outfits, you might ask? Well, it’s like this……in the lead up to every holiday we go on, I always get this mad urge to wash every single item of clothing in the house whether it’s needed for the holiday or not. Not only that, I also have to clear the ironing pile regardless of what’s in it. This includes bedding, all school uniform, even though it’s not needed until a week after we come back from holiday, my work clothes and even as I type, Pud’s work clothes are whizzing around the washing machine.
So why do I do this? Will Molly and Eddy really be playing football in their uniform on the beach? Am I likely to need my prissy work blouse and pencil skirt for a night at the local bar? I think not, so why do such items need to be washed before we go away?
I’ll tell you why – it’s in anticipation of the HUGE black binbag full of dirty clothes that will accompany us back from our week of fun, like a fifth member of the family. Oh God, even as I type I’m getting stressed at the thought of it….it lurks in our wardrobe in the caravan, ever-expanding as the week goes on until it can’t be filled anymore. My biggest fear is that one of these days it will split as Pud stuffs it into the car on our last day and a week’s worth of skaggy pants and suchlike will come spilling out for all to see. I know it’s going to take at least a week to wash it all so I need to give myself a head start by eliminating any trace of dirty washing that exists within a five mile radius before we go.
I can’t think about it any longer, I must move on!!!
2. The packing
If I could hook a tow-bar to our house and pull that to our chosen destination, I would be one very happy holiday-maker. I live in fear of forgetting to take something vital with me that couldn’t possibly be purchased at a shop somewhere else in the UK. You might laugh but in a cruel twist of fate, one year I forgot the most fundamental of items, my toothbrush. Now you’d think that the on-site shop would sell such a basic commodity and indeed it did. But it was blue and I didn’t want a blue toothbrush. Plus the bristles were hard and I use medium. Surely you can see my dilemma…can’t you?
So I move from room to room, looking for things that I won’t be able to live without for a week and unfortunately my daughter has developed the same pathological fears as me.
This is just her toiletries for the week:
I also like to pack a few nibbles to get us through the first couple of days – after all, who wants to trot off and do a weekly shop as soon as they arrive on holiday? Not me, I have far better things to do when we get there (as you will read about in due course).
I’ll never forget one year, my next door neighbour almost pissing her pants with laughter as she witnessed a bag of potatoes and three loaves of bread balancing precariously on top of the rest of our luggage as we bid her a fond farewell for the week………
……and then there was the time there was so much stuff rammed in the boot that when I slammed the lid down for the fourth time in a fit of foul temper, it pierced through the sleeve of my highly expensive down-filled puffa jacket that was laying on top, leaving a sizeable ‘gash’ allowing small feathers to float out every time I wore it from then on. I tried to blame Pud but we both know who the real culprit was that day….
3. The journey
Molly suffers from car sickness or at least she used to until one year we hit upon the idea of sitting her in the front, leaving one of us in the back with Eddy. Eddy also suffers from car sickness but is never allowed to go in the front as Molly will then get sick (this is a rule made by Molly). So one of us drives and has to endure Molly’s constant requests to ‘squirt your windscreen wipers when we’re nearly there’, almost as soon as we’ve left the village and ‘can we stop for a wee in a minute?’ when we’ve just passed a sign saying ‘Services 20 miles’, while one of us is squashed in the back in amongst all the luggage (see above), with no leg room, a cool bag and stack of cuddly toys separating us from Eddy, the ticking vomit time-bomb. He normally has a travel sweet which, if we’re lucky, sends him to sleep for a good part of the journey and last year he also hit upon the novel idea of stuffing a haribo smurf sweet up each nostril to eliminate any external smells that were contributing to his nausea and this seemed to work surprisingly well. One more thing to pack……..
4. The arrival
No matter which one of us drives the final part of the journey, no matter how tired I am and no matter how shit I look, I always have to go to reception for the keys. I’m not even listening as the receptionist directs me to our caravan by drawing a thick black pen trail around a map that could be of the moon for all I care and then Pud will get cross at me for not knowing where we’re going.
When we finally find the caravan, Pud will chuck all our bags in it, make a cup of tea and sit down to watch TV for the next couple of hours. I, on the other hand, can’t settle until everything is unpacked, there’s a towel, soap and bog roll in the bathroom and I’ve found an extra duvet to supplement the postage stamp sized excuse of a cover on our bed.
Molly and Eddy will argue over who’s having which bed and we will then venture out to carry on the family tradition of a chip shop hunt in a town we’re not familiar with, before showering, getting our glad rags on, swigging two large vodka and cokes (that’s just me FYI) and hitting the delights of the arcade and in-house ‘entertainment’. It’s not until I’m sitting there with a large glass of wine, singing along to a rather poor Beatles tribute band that I can finally relax and start to enjoy my holiday.
That is until Molly pipes up with ‘Mum, are you doing us a cooked breakfast tomorrow…and then can we go swimming?’
AAARRRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHH, PASS ME THE WINE!!!