After 5 weeks of being at home we finally set sail on holiday stage one to visit the wrinklies. Lovely time had by all just a slight hiccup the night before with He-man's steadfast refusal to come at all. However once he realised that there was no way he was going to be allowed to stay at home and maybe he had gone too far he set off in good grace and prepared himself for some full on spoiling. She-ra was positively giddy with the thought of riding yet again and when it transpired not only would she be going on a hack but talking the hoss deep into the sea the pleasure was plain to see.
So skip to holiday part 2. South of France here we come. 7 days of sunshine, pool beach beach pool mooching eating reading playing cards and oh playing more cards. This was to be a first holiday as a happy little 3. I prefer to refer to that rather than on our own as we were not on our own per se. So what did we learn from our 3 go abroad jaunt.
- Do not let your teenage go out the night before. Even with a curfew of 10pm they still come back late and are obnoxious. Plus they have not packed their bag.This is a particular problem if you are leaving at 4 in the morning
- Do not take salt and herbs in individual plastic bags in your luggage, particularly your hand luggage. What was I thinking? They didn't look suspiciously like drugs at all.
- Don't leave your swim shorts on the clothes line at night when you are tucked up in bed. They get nicked, particularly if you are the nearest tent to the beach.
- Staying in a tent is not so bad. In fact is was quite good fun. You just have to remember not to leave your last trip to the toilet block to the very last minute.
- Don't believe what the brochures say. I haven't booked a brochure holiday for nearly 20 years but we wanted to try camping easy fashion. So even though I know we could book mobile homes direct with the site for considerable saving we opted for a tent with Canvas. Canvas were lovely people and it all sounded great and indeed the tent was lovely ( but is a tent and an expensive one at that ). I booked our site at Argeles sur mer because it had a club for teenagers. Hurrah I thought I can get some peace and quiet and read a book. It was disappointing to see on the booking confirmation that this was no longer available at the site. Pity they didn't mention it before. And just what is end of season. I'd say 28th August is still a few days away for the end but apparently not. All the on site activities such as scuba diving, horse riding, teenage discos had finished as had the local bus route to the nearest aquapark which brings me on to my next point...
- I will never ever ever go on holiday again without a car. The brochure lied. It was not a short stroll to the nearest village but a jump onto the expensive tourist train at nearly 14euros return for 3. This is addition to getting taxis to aquaparks and the station/airport all added up considerably although we did enjoy the French trains. It did mean a 10mile trip to the next picturesque village took nearly 2 hours on public transport. As the campsite was in complete wind down at one point there was no food to make meal unless you wanted to eat cold meats again & again. When it did arrive on Day 4 it was like wartime rations with a mass dive for last pack of sausages. If only I had a car I could be heard to wail I would have been far more than we could eat/afford.
- The couriers were on wind down too and really couldn't give a flying fook. Oh they were all pleasant enough and we enjoyed seeing them party with their mates. He-man was particularly taken with their lifestyle and befriended Vacant Tommy. Pedestal and all that. Great he has now got an idea of the sort of job he'd like to do. Unfortunately Vacant Tommy was pretty crap as a courier and was about as informative as NHS helpline, not good for someone who had been there all season. He was the only non university student courier and bone fide dosser/nice guy . At least he told He-man to get as many languages under his belt as possible so some element of study will be required. After the 2 years we have just had if he wants to be a courier and skip university I'd just be glad he has a purpose. He-man has certainly come back with the mantra of "I'm gonna knuckle down this year mum " but I'll wait to see the evidence before commenting.
- Single people are frighteningly honest on holiday. Not me but some people we met. Within an hour I knew that one woman had been sectioned against her will by her husband earlier in the year or that single dad had adopted 2 lovely lads and one had ADD and then told me some of his lads problems. You need to develop good exit strategies if they are a bit full on ie sectioned lady and good strategies for staying in touch with single dad George Clooney lookalikees.
- When given a god's gift of a handsome man, good sense of humour and your haven't been in the saddle for, ahem, a while then there is no fairy god mother out there waiting to wave her magic wand. They will not hook up with you back in Blightly if you don't exchange contact details. (Yes I am still saying why oh why on that one )
- After 1 week I did not want to strangle either child and I don't think they were at the point of wanting to hold a pillow over my face either. In fact I was remarkably impressed how we all got on. We had little for entertainment other than the ipod, a pack of cards and our sens of humour. At the last minute I packed the old Sony walkman which kept He-man in some state of contentment.
- For one week I was cool mum due the fact I could speak French like a local and the kids were in awe. It's not often I earn brownie points these days but if it means spending all our holidays in France for the foreseeable future it might just be worth it.
Would we go on holiday in a tent again - probably. South of France - sure. Just the 3 of us - why not but if they can bring a friend can I do too?