We didn’t go abroad when I was a child. Money was tight and jetting off on cheap Spanish holidays wasn’t really a thing. Most of our family holidays were spent in caravans or cottages in Cornwall or South Wales, often with my Gran and Grandad in tow.
I have been thinking about holidays a lot lately though, and wonder if actually it matters at all that I wasn’t trekking the Sahara or anything, as the memories that stay with you from family holidays are often the most obscure or ridiculous things. Take our family holiday on the Gower – the only thing that I really remember from that is being in the car with my sister, Mum and Dad, and my Mum and Dad talking about all the complaining my Gran was doing. (She did like a moan).
She was particularly annoyed on this holiday as the ad for the cottage had promised ‘views of the sea a quarter of a mile away.’ We had read this as the sea being a quarter of a mile away, but what it actually meant was you had to walk for a quarter of a mile before you could see the view. Sneaky.
The holidays I have had with my own children have been in a similar vein for similar reasons – having your first baby at 17 and doing your degree as a young, single parent makes luxury ski holidays something of a fantasy. Instead you cut coupons from the Sun, look for out-of-season caravan offers and basically take whatever you can get. That doesn’t mean though that we haven’t created some special memories for ourselves. Who could forget for instance the yurt holiday where my ex-partner told me I only went on Facebook because I didn’t have any real friends?* Happy times.
That’s the joy of family holidays though isn’t it? You take yourself out of reality for a week and see yourselves in a different context, trying new things together and (hopefully, although not in the case of the yurt holiday) growing closer because of it. Those odd moments and feelings that stick in your mind are what gives your family a sense of history and I would love the chance as my family gets older to continue to build that history.
I’ve had a look through the holiday photo albums and picked out a few of my favourite memories…
This is possibly mine and Bee’s favourite holiday photo ever. It was taken while we were staying in a yurt near Sidmouth. (Not the same yurt that was the setting for Facebook-gate). It’s the look on Belle’s face that we love. This holiday is also known as ‘the one where Belle presented that documentary about donkeys’.
This next one was taken on holiday in Falmouth. We were staying in a perfectly nice holiday park in what was basically a small, modern house and one of the main things I remember about it was that it has a dishwasher. I had never used a dishwasher before and it was very exciting. This holiday is otherwise known as ‘the one where Bee got sunburnt for one of the only times ever’ or ‘the one where Bee got stung on the bottom by a wasp trapped in her trousers’.
These final two pictures are from a holiday we went on with our friend Lucy and her daughter Ella when Ella and Belle were both babies. Otherwise known as ‘the one with the trunk’, we sacrificed most of the space in the car to a large ottoman full of Belle’s toys that she was rather attached to at the time. She was on the brink of walking and her very favourite thing to do was to stand holding on to the edge of the trunk, taking things out and putting them in again.
This holiday is sometimes known as ‘the one with the sandwich as big as Belle’s head’. Lucy and I also fondly remember it as ‘the one with the open sewer running through the park’.
I love the way that Ella (who is on the left and six weeks the younger of the two) is looking at Belle in this picture. It’s a mix of admiration and anxiety – it’s like she’s thinking ‘Belle is so cool. I want to play with that bunny like she does, but I’m not sure how.’
What are your favourite holiday memories? Is it the little things that stick out for you?
*That one’s for you Nicky – I know you enjoyed my text message updates from that holiday.
This post was written as part of my application to become a #MarkWarnerMum for Mark Warner holidays.