So The Boss, the kids and I are due to jet off to sunny Spain a week on Saturday, for what seems to be incorrectly called a ‘holiday’. It will not be. (Incidentally this will be my last blog for a couple of weeks).
Now as any of you with kids will understand, the planning of the holiday began several months ago. At the last time of checking, the list of items to be packed resembled that of a Victorian era jungle exploration mission; only we don’t have the luxury of having 250 native porters with us to help carry all the crap, like they would in one of those god awful black & white King Kong Movies. Nappies, bottles, pushchairs, car seats, baby wipes, creams, baby bath, mosquito plugs, portable DVD players, a library of books, the list is endless, and that’s without clothes and the never ending selection of items required for a day at the beach with two young kids. There are four of us, and we have an eight seater taxi collecting us for the airport.
The airport is a place that I now only associate with stress and ding dongs with The Boss. Once we arrive, I give it ten minutes, at most before the first aggressive exchange takes place. Every year it’s the same. It’s not always been that way of course. On our first holidays together we would enjoy a breakfast, washed down with a pint of Carling and a perusal of the duty free section. Not now. It’s now all about throwing some sort of Boots sandwich down our necks, baby feeding, bum changing and arranging the selection of kids entertainment that’s stowed away in our hand luggage ready for the plane. Then there’s security. A bit of a pain in the arse at the best of times, chuck in two young kids, a pushchair and baby formula that has to be individually scanned, and you have the recipe for total vein pulsing peril.
Once on board the plane it’s time to play the game of: ‘how long is the crap we brought for the kids going to keep them occupied for’? This is where the portable DVD player and the library of toddler books come in. I estimate these will work for around half an hour before my eldest (4) is kicking the seat in front, and my youngest (1) has shat himself for the third time. Thank god they serve booze on the flight, I’m looked at strangely when I order eight mini cans of Stella Artois, but with a quick point of the finger towards the kids and the hostess smiles knowingly.
Having arrived at the other end and removed the families six cases, pushchair and car seats from the jam packed luggage carrousel, you allow yourself for a very brief moment to look forward to the two weeks of sun and no work. This is brought to an abrupt end as you reach the hire car collection point. The vehicle they want to provide you with looks nothing like the photo on the web page, has two less seats, no air-con and is five years older than described. You then have to carry out the very thorough walk around check, because the bastards will try and charge you through the nose for even the slightest grain of grit in the bodywork.
All of this is before you even arrive at your accommodation. I’m lucky as my in-laws have a place out in Spain and so the stress related to wondering where you will be staying is removed. I know what the room will be like and I know the fridge will be stocked with beer. There is still of course the chore of unpacking. I’m lucky here too as The Boss takes care of most of this. I’m just used as a donkey to ferry the various items into the correct bedrooms situated over the three floors. Of course I usually get this wrong and am chastised for ‘never listening properly’, but the process isn’t usually too bad.
So it’s time to hit the pool. Looking back on holidays gone by, I could lay out on my sun lounger, earphones in ears and read the latest Jeremy Clarkson book in the sun until it was beer o’clock. My four year old daughter frowns upon daddy doing this for some reason. If I even consider exiting the pool for a fraction of a second she turns on the waterworks, combined with a full on meltdown. It’s the same with the sea at the beach. So for fourteen days daddy spends every daylight hour in the water, and when he gets in the shower of an evening, his skin falls off like an overly poached pear due to over hydration.
Eating out in the evening has its challenges as well. Kids don’t like sitting still and waiting for their meals. You have to choose what you want and order quickly. While it’s being cooked you spend the time not by enjoying the scenery and warm evening sun, but by walking the pushchair up and down some dodgy backroad, trying to calm the little bugger sitting inside down.
It’s a case of rinse and repeat from here really, until the day comes when it’s time to return home. All of the same things happen, only in reverse order.
When you next overhear a couple on the beach telling one another that they’re ready to come home. Odds on them having kids.
More in a couple of weeks