Monday, August 27, 2012

Away with ye!

Two years ago we holidayed in a caravan in Devon.

We came home a day early because the incessant rain was driving us madder than a sock full of sparrows. The children were getting cabin fever, staring at the walls and having grown wearisome of the few feeble indoor toys we'd brought along, and there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. And the children were upset as well.  All three barbecues we managed to have were hasty, opportunistic races against incoming squalls before they efficiently doused the flames, forcing us inside to light the tiny oven if we didn't fancy playing listeria or salmonella roulette. In a futile attempt to defy nature, we went to the beach to build sandcastles, but they dissolved like my willpower before a cold beer making us retreat, shivering and gritty, back to the thin-shelled shelter of our temporary home. There, we quickly grew tired of using our fingers to draw shiny suns in the condensation on the windows and made the decision for a tactical withdrawal.

I grumpily packed up our gear and we drove the three and a half hours home, vowing that the following year we would go abroad.

Which we did.

Unfortunately, the return plane trip involved over two hours of our youngest screaming at the absolute top of her lungs, which made us very popular with the other passengers. We decided then that we wouldn't travel by magical air machine until she was older and less voluble.

This year, after finding out just how expensive a blinking trip to France is just to stay in a caravan for a family of four, we thought we'd risk another holiday in the UK, only this time we would hire a posh cottage so, if we did end up having to shelter from a torrential English summer, we would do so in relative luxury and not go too mentalist on one another.

Things looked promising, weather wise. The temperature rose enough before we went for us to repeatedly have to peel Bonobo from the freezer where she'd been licking the icy drawers in an attempt to cool down:

"Ooh, Bosche flavour, yum."

This boded well for our hols.

Not believing the weather, though, is a typical Englishman's prerogative and so I packed jumpers, wellies and DVDs for the inevitable downpours I knew we would get. Waterproof clothing took up about eighty per cent of the car boot, but I was be-damned if we were going to get caught out again.

And we were off. 

As it turned out we had the sunniest week of the summer, with only one day of rain. I even got sunburn. Luxury!

Anyway, the traffic all the way there ensured we got to appreciate the scenery, parking up on the motorway for long periods before mooching along at a speed that meant we could just about keep ahead of plate tectonics. It did allow me to think about possible diversions we might avail ourselves of whilst on holiday, such as visits to the Eden Project or the Lost Gardens of Heligan, various boat trips and towns, crab fishing and beach days. Helpfully, we passed a truck towing a tableau advertising the delights of Wookey Hole, which sounds like a pornographic version of Star Wars but is actually a popular cave system in Somerset:

Show me your hole, Wookey.

A wooden cage with a dinosaur, pirate and witch in it being towed at 40 mph would make anyone think seriously about stopping off for a visit, especially with the added advertised activities of a fairy garden, cave museum and hand made paper! In the end, I was concerned my heart might not be able to take too much hand made paper so we carried on to our destination, reaching it within an estimated journey time of one hundred years.

The cottage was posh, no doubt about it, and one of a set that were more commonly used by hoitier and indeed toitier sorts than what we am. The private car park had plants in it!  I parked the stained Parentmobile next to a brand new Jaguar and across from a four wheel drive Lexus so large you could hold religious services in it, opening the doors so all could hear the glorious tones of Burl Ives singing Big Rock Candy Mountain because, if I'd had to listen to it eleven times on the way down, then shouldn't everybody else?

Yes they should.

As soon as we entered, we knew we were somewhere special, that we had paid that bit extra for the VIP treatment, because when we opened the fridge the company had left us not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven, but eight, count 'em eight!, cartons of almost-milk and nearly-cream for our tea:

Behold! No need to go to the shops!

Arranged just so in order to accentuate their generosity.

We unpacked and proceeded to have a bloody good week, mind.


  1. holidays! good for all y'all, sugar! xoxoxo

  2. Jules, I love each and every post you write, but this one had me dying from crying tears of laughter!

  3. So the posh cottage lived up to its billing? Perhaps you might leave a link for your posher readers.

  4. Savvy - Darn tootin'! Actually feel relaxed, despite having kids with me.

    Mr Mischief - Thank you kindly! Glad you liked it.

    GB - ALL my readers are posh, you know.

  5. Not sure I like to live in England mate...When we get on the highway we seldom have to slow below the national speed limit of 100kmhr. (70mph to you)occasionally we slow to 85 or 90 to get around a caravan or truck but generally for only a few minutes.
    Rain.. whats that? We have 275mm rainfall a year with average 41 days a year with rain (yeah, I checked) All the other days there is the potential of sunburn...
    Glad you enjoyed your holidays though, they get better and better as the bratlings get older. Disclaimer: until puberty hits, then it's every man for themselves.

  6. I found a small piece of paradise in a rather beautiful cottage in Oxfordshire a year ago. Regardless of weather it is always a delight to come back to when I have been away. I must admit that the watery milk is below par though. Lucky wee fella that you are.

  7. Sounds like quite the highfaluting place you stayed at! But only 8 cartons? It's like they didn't even try.

  8. Tempo - I'm clinging hopefully to your words of experience mate. Oz sounds ace. I really do like living in the UK though, even if the weather is about as reliable as a hessian condom. The big downside is the sheer number of people here.

    Chef Files - Not too much of an imposition, was it. And I had bought my own milk as well! Lovely bit of the world you were in, although the beaches aren't up to much.

    SkylersDad - The faluting was quite vertiginous. And you're right. Should I complain?


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