Every year we have a summer holiday to Southern Spain. We’re spoilt really. My parents have an apartment in the hills, overlooking a picturesque little fishing town.
And every year without fail, we pack up, jump on a plane, and spend the first 2 or 3 weeks of the summer holidays there. It’s heaven. Last year though, I accidentally mixed things up a bit.
It all started when, for the first time in the year, the sun came out and in my head, summer had arrived. I always have grand plans for sunny weekends. I look ahead for the weekend weather forecast, and from about Wednesday onwards my inner earth mother starts surfacing…”ooh, we could pack a picnic and go to the park” “let’s go on a bluebell walk” (I did actually manage to do this but I’ll talk about that in another post) “shall we have a day at the beach?” In my head I’m seeing checked picnic blankets, hampers, beautifully behaved blonde children (I always imagine blonde ones are better behaved than my brown haired menaces) sat eating their couscous and bulgar wheat salad without a moan or a whine, while I lounge drinking ice cold gin, and their father takes them for a rousing game of cricket…
By Thursday I’m starting to realise I don’t own a checked picnic blanket or a hamper, and whilst my children will eat couscous and bulgar wheat, a large proportion of it will be slung haphazardly around my imaginary picnic blanket along with half eaten sausages. Oh, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen my husband play cricket. I don’t think he even knows how to.
Come Friday, earth mother has almost disappeared, to be replaced by my more natural personality of “I’ll do anything that requires minimal effort and keeps other humans away from me”
Inevitably we traipse off to my parents house. The reasons for this are twofold. 1) I am incredibly lucky and blessed to have parents with a swimming pool in their back garden 2) it means I can drink my prosecco/gin/beer in peace as the children are now outnumbered by adults and therefore have a much better chance of survival. (Oh and also I really enjoy their company but that goes without saying!)
It was a Sunday that disaster struck. I was happily supping away, lounging by the pool, pretending I was somewhere more glamorous that a back garden in a Buckinghamshire village, and that the sounds I could hear weren’t lorries thundering past on the perilously close A-road, but waves crashing on a tropical beach, when out of nowhere, and I can only imagine fuelled by the 2 bottles of prosecco I had consumed by this point, I heard myself saying “I’ve got a good idea, why don’t we drive to spain this year instead of flying” ……
For a couple of seconds I thought I was safe, I thought no one had heard me, then I heard both my children exclaiming what a great idea, and how we could go on a proper adventure! Crap. There was no getting out of it now. Of course, I could say, no, we actually can’t, they’ve stopped everyone crossing into France. Or they don’t allow English cars over there anymore. Or anything really. They’re pretty gullible kids. But for a brief second I’d seen the excitement of the unknown flash across their faces. Again, we’re lucky enough that plane travel isn’t out of the ordinary to them. They’ve been travelling that way since they were a few weeks old. But suddenly, a long car journey through 2 other countries held such wonder for them, that even I, as mean as I sometimes am, couldn’t bear to take that away from them.
So we did it. We drove to spain, with both the little sods. And do you know what? It was one of the best holidays we’ve ever had. We didn’t have to take the screaming kraken on a plane, and I didn’t fear the return journey for the entire holiday. They could sleep, play games, watch iPads, we even had little sing along sessions. It was very family Von Trapp at times…We stopped in some beautiful places in France and Spain, with amazing food and tonnes of things to do. I honestly loved every minute of it.
In fact, I loved it so much that I’m now sat planning this years trip. Only this time I think we’ll head East to Italy. Now to get my driver to agree…