Monday, 24 May 2010

If you can walk with kings nor lose the common touch...

Hubby has washed his hands of me. It would seem a Haven holiday is not his cup of tea.
“It’s not just that Alice”, to which he then added with extra hoity-toitiness, “but some of us have to work”.
“I understand that”, I replied loftily, “It’s just that I diligently saved up my tokens in the evening paper to take them on a cheap holiday”.
“And so you’re going to take them out of school as well?” His tone was such that I wanted to punch him on the nose. Of course I didn’t. I’m too much of a lady to do that. Instead I called him a terrible name and walked out of the room shouting behind me,
“I had a tan done as well. Especially”. I’m not quite sure what the significance of ‘especially’ was. Perhaps I wanted to emphasise that my golden skin was in some way to be viewed as a trophy, for him to admire and fondle, much like the world cup, as though the elusiveness of such prizes were almost too much to bear.
“Alice love”. Full stop. Here it comes. “Your skin, I am sure agree you would agree is not exactly a Halle Berry brown is it but more of a Jordan orange.”
I flounced off. The cheek of it. I was delighted with my Fake Bake. Never before had I experienced such an instant feeling of well being. Loads of people had come up to me in Sainsbury’s and said, “Alice, I’ve never seen you look so well. You look marvellous. Have you been away?”
I wish I could carry off a little white lie with panache. But I’m hopeless. I did tell one woman I’d been to the Maldives but she looked at me wryly and I immediately blurted out, “No, It’s just a spray. I had it done down the town”. I might have got away with it had I said Lanzarote instead.
So, once more I saw myself packing a case to go on a single parent family, holiday. The older children are in the middle of exams so there was no way they were going to accompany me.
“I wouldn’t really want to go anyway”, they both said at different junctures.
“Why-ever not?”, I asked, “It’ll be great fun.”
“We are just not holiday park people”.
“Don’t be such insufferable snobs!” I exclaimed.
“Mum. Really, you’ve tried this before. We left Butlins early because you fell out with the security guard.”
“He was being absurd”.
“And the place in Wales?”
“I’ve told you never to mention that incident ever again”
They had a point. But hope springs eternal and all that, so, I heaved the last of the clean laundry and toiletries into my case.
“Where do these go?” asked the eight year old, brandishing a box of Tampax at me. I sighed. She picks her moments. Nevertheless, strike while the iron’s hot as they say. So, lifting her onto my knee I very gently explained, as far as was appropriate for a young girl, the biological manifestations of puberty. When I’d finished she took a deep breath.
Oh God. Had it been too much? Had I scarred her for life?
“I knew all that mummy”, she finally said, “Duh. I just wanted to know where do they go as in, which bag do they go” and she walked away slapping her forehead as if I were the biggest idiot. Like ever.
The following morning having kissed the big kids, the dog and Hubby a fond farewell, the eight year old, the Red-Head and I drove to Perranporth. I think the girls were just as excited that we didn’t have to queue to get on the Torpoint Ferry as much as going on holiday.
“You mean we are going the other way?” asked the Red-Head. She was still marvelling at this prospect when we turned off after the Windfarm roundabout.
We parked up.
“I can’t wait to see our caravan” said the eight year old, “Will we have bunks?”
I went into reception. The girl behind the desk was polite but firm.
“You can’t get into your accommodation until four pm”, she said. I looked at my watch. It was ten past eleven.
“There is no chance of an earlier check-in?”
“That’ll be fifteen pounds then”.
“Don’t worry, we’ll find something to do”. Thank the good Lord the sun was shining otherwise we would have been very miserable indeed. As it was we walked the coastal path over hill and dune to the beach in Perranporth. Consumed some delicious paninis, the walked back along the beach and up the cliff.
I looked at my watch. 2.30. Now what? I was a bit popped to say the truth; a lie down would have been lovely.
“Let’s go swimming”, two young girls squealed. So, heaving the suitcase out of the car, I rummaged for cosies, towels and goggles. Finally, eventually, it was four o’clock.
The process I had to go through to pick up the key I don’t want to be reminded of, but after another forty minutes we were in.
Five minutes later the family in the mobile home ten foot away from ours made themselves known.
“Have a glass of wine”, he said, “Life is tough on you single mums. I’ve got my partner and step daughter with me. She knows all about it”. I smiled at the partner. He opened the tap on the wine box.
“Only three ninety eight, this was for the box. From Merthyr’s ASDA and I don’t normally drink wine. It’s normally Jack Daniels”.
“Lush” said the partner, chinking my glass.
Later on they knocked on the door.
“Coming to the slots?”
The abiding memory of this holiday? The Red-Head’s big blue eyes, wide as saucers when, on putting a pound into the change machine, she ‘won’ 50, two pence pieces. Her delight was infectious. We should all embrace our inner Nessa Jenkins. It’s a lot of fun actually.


jinksy said...

Fun is a state of mind...

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DL said...

We had a few days with Haven last August. Knowing nothing about these things, we found ourselves in the biggest holiday park in Europe, on the busiest weekend of the year. We prevailed on our elder offspring to join us - all thrilled, needless to say!

An interesting time had by all!