Apparently January is the month for booking your Summer holidays so, far be it from me to buck the trend, I’ve been thinking long and hard about ours. However the whole process takes ages as we constantly dither . Far from being a boon, the internet actually makes the whole business so drawn out. Gone are the days when we’d get handfuls of brochures from the travel agent and pick the hotel which was less than 500m from the beach and had a nice pool. Now we compare prices, look at reviews and photos on Tripadvisor, look at endless sites for cheap flights and then forget to take note of them so start all over again the next evening.
I always like thumbing through brochures and, in fact, appeared in one once. In the 1980s and early 90s the brochures frequently showed holiday-makers topless by the pool. This must have been a fantastic way for teenage boys to get their thrills: pick up free brochures from Thomas Cook and share them with your mates. Unsurprisingly the brochures don’t do this anymore. But they did when Dougie and I went away together to Ibiza in 1991: the next year there I was in the Thomson brochure, perched on a man-made rock in the middle of the pool with my bosom on show. The family were most amused but I was mortified and have kept my bikini top on ever since. Though I like to pretend that I was a topless model in my youth: there’s a certain kudos in it now.
So where are we going in Summer 2010? In an effort to find a good holiday for our teenage son we are eschewing the fly-drives to Iceland or Canada and going back to the type of holiday we had when he was six…….CAMPING! Big deep breath…it will be fine….just fine.
When I say camping, I don’t mean the proper tent lark: I mean the mobile home with all mod-cons which purists will say isn’t the same thing at all. We’ve done this twice, both times in France. The first time we chose a little caravan as we only have one child. Big mistake: we were cheek by jowl in this poky home for a fortnight and only the evening karaoke gave me some respite. The second year we chose the larger three-bedroomed home (one bedroom for us, one for the child, one for my shoes) and it all turned out lovely. Have fond memories of Dougie whittling sticks with his trusty Swiss army knife and son playing Bayblades with the boy next door. The only spanner in the works came towards the end of the second week when a hurricane tore through the campsite. We woke up the next morning and the Kids’ Club tents had literally blown away. No idea where they went; probably in a wood with all the plastic loungers that disappeared too.
So, barring any hurricanes, I’m starting to look forward to our trip. We’re driving (despite Bergerac airport being spitting distance from our campsite in the Dordogne) but Dougie says it will be an adventure. I shall remind him of this when we’re having the mother of all domestics around the Peripherique.