Monday, 29 June 2009


Here I am then, laptop open, on my balcony, swimming pool shimmering beneath me, my skin kissed by the languorous, soft breeze of the sea. I’d like to feel like a bohemian writer, but with Coca-Cola on tap and two little girls screeching around the pool, dripping over me every so often as they stand there enquiring as to the remote possibility of another ice-cream, reality is ever present.
The day before yesterday, concerned at my level of inactivity, I decided that a walk to another beach along a remote coastal path was what I needed to shift the encroaching pounds. The girls were not impressed. It was more a yomp than a walk; for, no sooner had we scrambled down a rocky outcrop, than our hike took us along a bridle path. Two miles of three inch deep sand in 80 odd degree heat is a sure fine way of losing the love and respect of your youngest daughters and, feeling a little woozy in the head myself, I had to really motivate myself to keep them going along a never ending path with scarcely an olive tree between us and sure death. The odd old song came into play, but we were nary a chord into, ‘Jerusalem’, when we saw our first. Then came another, then another and before you could utter ‘Carry On Camping’, there was a whole beachful of them.
“It isn’t right is it Mummy?” asked the 7 year old, “I mean grannies and granddads just shouldn’t”. I didn’t want her scarred for life, so I tried to be cool about it.
“It’s only normal darling. Some people just like to be as nature intended. There’s nothing wrong with it. It is after all and, very evidently, a nudist beach”. She wasn’t having any of it and hours later, after we’d survived the walk, her father rang my mobile. She snatched it from me.
“Daddy”, she said, innocence personified, and at this point, she could have told him a) I went to the Pony club this morning and groomed a pony or b) Mummy drove around hair-pin bends to the highest peak in Menorca or indeed c) We went to Mahon yesterday and took in a harbour cruise in a glass bottomed boat; the marine life was truly spectacular” or even d) We went to the fiesta Sant Joan and were almost crushed in the stampede as whinnying, Menorcan stallions reared on their hind legs. But no, what she actually said was, “Daddy, I have never seen so many penises in my life”.
Given the expense of mobile telephone calls abroad, I really could have done without it, as it took some elucidating, especially when her little sister took the phone away from me and, in floods of tears told her father, “Elvis loves mummy Daddy, he danced a kissy dance with her and everybody clapped. But mummy is supposed to love you daddy”. This ultimately culminated in the conversation being aborted forthwith and my putting weary and evidently, for personal reasons, emotionally wrought young girls to bed before I was able to call Hubby back and explain myself, or as Hubby said, “This is costing 34p a minute: it better be good”.
Well you see, it’s like this. “Across the road there is a bar, where, every night they hold a mini-disco for the wee ones. And I mean wee. Anyone over the age of four is past it. The seven year old is not at all impressed but by virtue of being younger than the ‘best friend’ she has made who, at eleven, quite rightly thinks that being out with mum and dad after 9.30 and wearing eyeliner is as racy at it gets, has made our own daughter think twice before moaning. Anyway, love, the other night, right after the disco was ‘Elvis’ night and no sooner had he started crooning, ‘I just can’t stop believing’ or whatever it is..”
“Well, I’d better start believing whatever it is you’re going to tell me”. I didn’t like his tone.
“Well actually, all I was going to say is that ‘Elvis’ honed in on me, dragged me onto the stage and made me smooch with him as he sang to me. There were scores of families in the audience. It was a do or die situation. I felt enough of a wally. I was either going to rise to the challenge or stand there blushing and farting, which, as you are well aware, isn’t my style”.
“More’s the pity”, came the curt reply.
“Imagine my shame then when the ‘entertainments courier’ carried the Red-Head on stage, crying because she didn’t like her mummy dancing with Elvis. I had to scarper or the child-protection officer from Essex at the adjacent table would have been on the blower before the tabloids could run a ‘Tot weeps as mum romps with King” story.
Hubby laughed and we reminded each other of our undying love before saying farewell and sending a hundred kisses down the phone.
It made me think though. It’s not so easy being a long parent on holiday. To be flippant: one cannot enjoy a jug of sangria nor a paella because much like a tandem bike they are only made for two. Similarly sod your Builders Breakfast. My shoulders could be the next flavour Walkers are looking for as I have had no-one to apply factor 25 to them and they really are very crispy. More insidious than all those things put together though has been the feeling of being judged. I have been aware of being watched, of slipping up, of marking my card as a ‘single mum’, something I have never thought of when Hubby is with me. As one mother, on holiday not only with her husband but both parents too said to me, “You are very relaxed with your girls. I’m too overprotective”, she smiled just like a crocodile, but we both knew exactly what she meant.


DL said...

In spite of the willies on parade and the amorous crooner, I have a sneaky hunch that a good time was had by all.

A ripping read, as ever.

All the best,

Alice Band said...

We had a lovely time thankyou DL.

Lisa said...

Sounds like fun to me.
If we ever happened onto a beach like that my children would be have strokes, us being 'Puritanical Americans' and all that.