I'm off on me hols in a couple of weeks. We're going to Croatia again which is just lovely, although I'm not going to recommend it in case you go there. I did once blog about it, and put some nice piccies in if you're interested. If you're not, I advise not following the link.
What with the world spiralling into an economic abyss where we will have to eat caterpillars and drink gutter water until climate change, terrorists or swine flu finally finish us off because Princess Diana isn't around to save us all*, holidays to far off climes where they speak different languages and eat the parts of animals you previously thought were only used for glue-making may become a thing of the past. We shall all be restrained to our own shores, unable to pay six-months salary for a plane-ticket to Tenerife.
Showing some of the true insular spirit of the island race that I have grown up with, by questionable virtue of being born here, I am going to make the most of such a situation.
I've bought a tent.
Now, I've had a tent before. It was a three-human nylon thing I got as a reward for selling pest control contracts to dirty restaurants about fifteen years ago, so it's looking past its best. The bits where the poles are threaded through are ripped, so it takes about twenty minutes to erect without causing damage to the fabric.
Like a penis.
It's also a pre-child tent, where you get dressed in a crouched position and have to go outside to pull your trousers up, letting everyone see your wearing the same faded undercrackers as yesterday because you forgot to pack anymore.
Note to self. Remember pants.
So, a new one was required, one which you can stand up in, where you don't mind spending all day if necessary, and where you can clean up children to see if they're yours under all that dirt. I saved up and researched the current models available.
Unfortunately, I've recently been made aware of a different type of tent. It's made of canvas and harks back to days of yore, when Mongolian hordes, Siberian steppes-folk and boy scouts felt the need for a spot of rampaging, reindeer herding or rampaging. It's called a Bell tent, and looks ace.
I had to have one. Cue a few bids on a well known internet auctioning website where I procured a second hand jobbie, used only once and in great nick although, judging by the hair content shed onto the ground sheet, the previous owners must have had either a large dog or a yak undergoing extensive chemotherapy.
Now we're all set up for some camping hols in this country. This might become very popular in the near future perhaps. We took it for a test earlier this week, and all was well. The campsite sold decent home-made scrumpy for two-quid a litre (and I'm still not blind), there was a boating lake where you could row for free, and acres of cundryside to explore. Here's our set up:
But will staying in this country, a tourist attraction in itself but not the most reliable when it comes to weather, be a problem for modern generations who are used to travelling abroad? A million Brits a year go to Florida, apparently. Will they be satisfied with anything less than 100% humidity, a temperature usually found on Mercury, and a police force who stop you to ask why you're walking along the road.
They honestly did this to me. I was out for an hour in a suburban area and didn't see anyone else, and the coppers thought it odd. I explained I was English and they seemed to accept that, shaking their sunglasses and driving off in air-conditioned splendour, all the better to keep their guns cool I suppose.
Before my son's second birthday, he had already been to France and Barbados. I remember the seven-hour Barbados flight because, hilariously, he had a bout of diarrhoea and was sick. How everyone on the plane laughed and laughed and laughed. Good times.
And yet, foreign holidays were not all that common when I was a nipper. When you thought of the word 'holiday', you thought of the sea side, and ice cream, and donkeys, and ice cream, and caravans, and ice cream, and sand castles, and ice creap, and sunburn.
Also, the occasional ice cream.
When I think back to my childhood, through the beer-laden mists of rosy reminiscence, the most perfect, most memorable holidays were not about where you went, but who you were with and what you did with them. I remember faces from when I was seven, of other kids I played with, yet I can't recall where it was. There was sand involved, and dunes, but other than that I can't say. I just remember a hell of a lot of fun. Even when that kid stood on a broken bottle and had that clotty mix of blood, sand and tears from an impressive cut on his foot, it was still fun in a strange way, running to get help, watching as it was washed and he poked it for our entertainment making it all bleed again and getting told off by his mum. Still fun. More for us than him, perhaps but . . .
The strongest memories are of being with my brothers, with my Nan and late Grandad, with my Mum and Dad, and making new friends. The extra expense spent on relocating to another part of the world doesn't guarantee those things that make a memorable holiday, and that's what I want to give my son.
I'm hoping this tent will be the making of some new memories for all of us.
* I wish people would stop leaving the Daily Mail out.