The Holiday (Part 1)

Day 11

My babies are back and today we enjoyed each other company, the girl did lots of drawing and the boy played on his computer games. Very boring, very lovely but totally un-blog worthy so today you get fiction. The is another serial, sorry!

Part 1 – Conception and Planning


I had made such wonderful plans in my head. When I planned it out while in bed waiting for sleep it was all sunshine and laughter. We were going to have to most amazing time, I was going to be the most amazing Mum ever and do all the things amazing Mums are supposed to do. My children would remember it forever and tell their own children and Grandchildren about the summer holiday they took with their Mother. Well. As it turned out the children will definitely remember it. They will definitely tell their Children and Grandchildren about it but not at all in the way my sleepy brain had envisioned.

The sun bleached haze of the holiday that had taken place in my head continued as I began the first stages of planning. I ruled out holiday centres like Butlins and Centre Parks because we didn’t need all that planned and prescribed fun, oh no, we would be free of that! We didn’t need all those facilities on our doorstep, that kind of thing didn’t exist in the Famous Five books that were the backbone of my imaginings and they wouldn’t exist in our holiday! I would rent a little cottage in a quiet non touristy spot of undiscovered Cornwall. We would go for long walks along the coast and take picnics! We would frolic on empty sandy beaches and befriend a local farmer! We would pay a quick visit or two to the local town, not one of those really busy tourist hotspots, no, one with some tourists that I could look at and pity before going back to our little cottage to fly kites and drink ginger ale.

I know. You can stop laughing now. It didn’t take too many google searches for me to discover that every single inch of Cornwall was well and truly discovered and during the summer holidays every inch is inhabited by tourists most wanting what I wanted and most being stressed as they try and claim a square meter of beach space to call their own. The whole mornings search and discovery only left me to marvel that the whole peninsula didn’t just break off on August due to the stampede. I was either going to have to compromise and risk joining the legion of stressed Motherhood or I was going to have to rethink the whole thing.

That night as I laid in bed and I let my mind wander to the summer holiday question I had an epiphany. I was looking completely in the wrong direction. If I wanted isolation and freedom from the masses I needed to head north. I remembered being a small girl and spending what I remembered as a glorious summer holiday in the Outer Hebrides. I remembered camping just behind a sand dune on the island of Barra and discovering that the beach on the other side was in fact the airport. Heading up to the north of Scotland might mean that the chances of glorious sunshine took a bit of a hit but, I reasoned, everybody has to be willing to make a compromise somewhere. I sighed happily as I drifted off to sleep, my fantasy of our amazing holiday where I could be an amazing Mum and my children could make amazing memories was once again intact.

The small detail that had been skimmed over in the fantasy started to make itself known as I googled anew the following morning. Barra Island is 550 miles away. Google maps told me that it was a an 11 hour drive. It told me the route involved toll road and if I wanted to avoid this toll the drive would be nearer 12 hours. What google maps didn’t say but what I realised as I pondered the definition of ‘island’ there would also be the need for a boat.

The deflated and disappointed feelings that I had experienced the day before as my Cornwall dreams fell down around me faster than the model of a saxon village my had daughter made at school last year was not something I was willing to allow to happen again. I was going to take my children on holiday to a remote island and have a splendid time that would be remembered for not just my lifetime but for all the future generations to come. We where going to have wholesome fun, pink cheeks and ginger ale even if it killed me (and I did have at least some appreciation for the fact that it just might). I completely blocked out like it was an undesirable on Facebook the small voice in my head that was telling me that maybe, just maybe, I was putting a little bit too much into my dreams for this holiday and it was all going to end in tears and possibly a nervous breakdown before we had even left the county.

I managed to keep my serenity and fantasy going throughout the process of finding the perfect little holiday let, it was just as I had imagined my undiscovered Cornwall would be just with more rocks, less sun and more wind. I excitedly decided that being the perfect Mum on the perfect holiday we would make the journey part of the experience, I booked two campsites along the way giving us plenty of time to see some bits of England and Scotland we may never have visited otherwise. I even contacted the Sunday Times to see if they would be interested in buying my story as a lifestyle piece for the colour supplement. They never got back to me though and I was too busy with the most pretentious holiday planning that ever was to chase it up. That was one thing I ended up being glad about.

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Pictured: What could go wrong?

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Twas the night before Christmas

Written in homage to my girl, who did just about this to me last Christmas!

It was Christmas Eve. All was far from silent and even if a mouse had braved moving with daft cat about it would have had no chance of being heard above the racket that the children where creating.

The evening I had envisioned, curled up on the sofa, a child snug in new pyjamas on either side watching old Christmas films was I knew, always going to be an unattainable fantasy. It was just never going to happen. Not while the children would still fit inside those new pyjamas. By the time I might gain a little control I would probably be over run with Grandchildren. At least by that point I can at last be smug about it all.

It was taking every second of my eight years of parenting experience just to get the two wildly over exited children to stop bouncing up and down squealing intermittently and asking if they could just open one little thing now. Even with those years of experience I was still failing miserably. Even daft cat had defied me and broken into several gifts under the tree. It was a lost cause and all hope had been abandoned somewhere around lunch. Around the same time daft cat had a silly moment and rolled around on a glitter painting that had been left on the floor. I now had a daft cat that shimmered with a Christmasy red sparkle. Classy.

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Pictured: Daft cat, glitter rat

It took a considerable amount of time, threats and bribery but the children where finally in their beds one and a half hours behind schedule. No lovely traditional Christmas films had been watched, apparently they are all boring while watching Frozen for the 957th time is not, apparently.

I now had to finish off all the wrapping and wait for my little blighters darlings to actually go to sleep. Sounds so wonderfully simple.

I finally finished my Father Christmas wrapping at midnight, the living room was tidy and the breakfast things laid out by one but still every time I snuck upstairs to check that the children where in a deep enough sleep one of them would stir, raise their heads and then quickly pretend that they where asleep all along. By 2am it was only the eldest that was keeping it up. The child had morphed into the lightest sleeper known to man or beast, nothing escaped her notice. By 3am I was considering hitting her on the head with something just so Father Christmas could visit and I could try and get some sleep. I still had just about enough reason in me to realise that a concussion was not really what I wanted to give my first born for Christmas and maybe, just maybe I would regret such action.

At 4am I finally made the connection. The gig was up and the child was playing me. She knew dam well that the bringer of gifts was my own sweet self and she was simply determined to catch me in the act what ever it took. Fair play she was really going for it. I decided in the end to pretend that I didn’t see her pretending not to see me. Rather than risk a full incursion into the children’s room I carefully placed the two stockings in the open doorway and ran like hell into my own room hoping for the best.

Not 10 minutes later, just after I had finally laid down my sweet head I heard it. The sound of a tenacious 8 year old scampering out of bed to claim her prize. A few moments later I heard her wake her younger sister to join her in the spoils of her war. At that point I just gave up completely, closed my eyes and welcomed the hour at most of sleep I was going to get. Merry Christmas indeed.