So another summer bites the dust. Following the two weeks entertaining the outlaws, the fortnight in Spain flew by in a whirl. Think it’s fair to say it wasn’t the holiday I was expecting. There was a rocky old start: Squeezyjet didn’t want to let us on the ‘plane as Gorgeous boy didn’t have a doctor’s note for the new cast on his arm. After an anxious half hour the pilot came to the rescue and agreed to let us fly. The next low-point for me was standing at Valencia airport: He-who-must-be-adored was off in a courtesy bus collecting a car, and the rest of our party was off in different courtesy buses collecting their cars. So there I was, at a foreign airport, with three kids, five suitcases, no money, no passports…longest 15 minutes of my life. Can’t say the next 48 hours were much better.
The website pictures of our villa were taken 48 years ago and I’m being kind by saying the place fell below expected standards. The three babies spent the first 24 hours out-of-sorts – kind-of-like myself, and it felt as if they took it in turns so at least one was constantly crying. It’s fair to say I am now well over the wanting a baby stage. Luckily they calmed down before I found a hotel for He-who-must-be-adored and myself. The internet-ordered cast-cover for Gorgeous boy lasted one day as he got up early on the second day and put it on himself. By lunchtime we were hacking away at a very sodden cast. The promised birthday cake and chef for the ‘Tweenager becoming a Teenager party’ never materialised and the upset must-have rubbed off on the little one as she appeared unable to sleep for more than two hours without having to cry out and touch me. Clearly any romance for He-who-must-be-adored and me was off the cards, so we spent two weeks in different bedrooms. As He said…what do you expect with a party of 17? At least the view was nice…when you could see it through the mist. The thunder and lightning and rain added to the general melee and downcast feel.
But fun was had. The highlight was seeing all the lids having a whale of a time with old friends in a private pool. The second week, luckily, was calmer and more fun, with more sun, and therefore better views. Apart from my near death drowning experience amid the frolics instigated by the sergeant major…but all was in good spirits. Obviously.
Two things you shouldn’t do upon returning from holiday: checking the bank balance and the weighing scales: both numbers generally move in the wrong direction. Then a whole day at home, laundry and tumble drying crazy before returning to work for a couple of rainy days, before packing winter warmers for the camp fest at Supersis’s place in the country.
Barely had space in the car for the lids with all the camping gear, plus tents for half of Enfield that needed erecting before the owners arrived at their own leisurely pace. He-who-must-be-adored emptied the car twice before heading off to pick up a roof box. All that tetris practice hadn’t really paid off. He proceeded to quiz us all on what was essential and what was not. The box of cheap mangos featured fairly low on his list but I managed to hide most of them in the extra-large saucepan Supersis had requested. Luckily He-who-must-be-adored didn’t notice the lids squirreling away extra handluggage. Poor gorgeous boy was finally wedged inbetween a large number of sleeping bags and pillows.
Luckily after erecting tents in the mist, the sun came out and huge fun was had by all 46 of us. And I thought I knew about mass catering! The hog-roast went down well but hearing the lids request bits of pig is enough to turn anyone veggie. Am tempted next year to hire the neighbour’s cottage, as tent life is not for me. The whole thing about having the possessions of five of us scattered between car, tent and cottage just got too much. Is it too much to ask for a woman to know where to find her knickers? The real low point of the whole camp-fest was falling off a gate, in the dark, in sight of 15 teenagers. And not even having the excuse of being pissed. Embarrassed? Moi?
Had half a day at home, laundry-mad, and child-foot-scrubbing (after a long soak in the bath) before returning to work, and then facing the new-term-uniform hell of Brent Cross. Managed to fit in eye-tests for us all and luckily all the lids have near(ish) perfect eyesight. Mine, on the other hand have deteriorated so much that the optician recommends two pairs of glasses, one for general seeing and another for reading. He-who-must-be-adored recommends surgery; on the grounds it’s cheaper. But really? That’s easy for him to say: Lasers? In my eyes?
On top of the thought of the glasses expense, the tumble dryer gave up the head-splitting creak and decided enough was enough. The damp camp stuff was a bridge too far and it konked out. Wish I could come out in sympathy with it. Coming on top of all that holiday expense I am now the proud owner of a brand new tumble dryer. But only after some Oscar-winning pleading with the man at Top Discount about the volume of camping washing I had to do and promising He-who-must-be-adored was right on hand to collect the model in the window. Today. Not tomorrow. Nor the next day. Don’t you understand…I need a tumble dryer and I need it NOW! So, now we are all up to date. Just the ironing mountain and label-sewing marathon before the new term begins on Tuesday.
Tomorrow, Sunday, is a whole day with no major chores, no buying and nowhere special to be, except for the Teenager's first rugby training session. Isn’t that what the summer’s all about?