Sunday, 9 June 2013

We're All Going on a Summer Holiday


The summer holiday is FINALLY booked.  Talk about lastminute.com, but at least we can now rest assured that ten days will be ours within the beautiful island of Crete.
          The last time I visited Rethymnon was 24 years ago with my first husband.  I still have a clear memory of walking the Samaria Gorge, a little under ten miles of stones, stones, and more stones, hopping across the river several times over as it threaded its way through a breathtaking landscape.
          ‘How marvellous,’ I gushed to Mr V, ‘we can walk the Samaria Gorge.  We mustn’t forget to pack our hiking boots.’
          My husband looked horrified.  ‘You can do what you like,’ he put his hands up in a backing off gesture, ‘but I’m doing nothing other than lying horizontal on the beach.’
          Well perhaps I’ll persuade him to go for a walk along the beach instead.  It is, after all, the longest in Crete and stretches a distance of some three miles.  There is something blissfully peaceful about leaving footprints in sand and listening to the ocean whooshing backwards and forwards.
          And hopefully the holiday will be drama free.  Unlike one previous holiday where my son went back to the apartment to use the loo, left the keys inside and slammed the door shut as he strolled back to the pool.
          ‘Did you remember the keys?’ asked my husband.
          Cue hysterics of the unfunny kind as Robbie paled at the implications of us being locked out.  One hour later my husband was dangling from a neighbour’s knotted sheets while a Spanish lady and I grimly hung on from the balcony above.  There was a horrible crash and the knotted sheets suddenly went slack.  I stared in horror at the Spanish lady and said, ‘I’m a bit squeamish, would you mind terribly looking over the balcony for me?’  ‘No, no,’ she protested, ‘or I vomit.  We do together.’  My husband was star-fished out on a demolished plastic table.  But he did live to see another day.
          Or the time our children took it upon themselves to rescue a frog that a group of Spanish children were tormenting.  This resulted in an almighty ding-dong between me and the children’s mother, even though neither of us could understand a word the other was saying.
          Or the time my daughter had a ten foot wave crash down on her and I ran into the sea to save her – doing the breaststroke.
          Or the time we drove to a Spanish village for a meal but spent hours trying to leave the place, driving over and over down the same street until I was convinced we’d stumbled upon the set of The Prisoner.  We got home at four in the morning.
          Meanwhile I’m embracing what appears to be the start of British summertime and will later wheel out the barbecue from the garage and cremate a few bangers and burgers.  The fact that we will still be wearing jeans and sweaters is neither here nor there.  The main thing is we won’t also be wearing coats, scarves and gloves.
          Which reminds me.  What is the definition of an English summer?  Three hot days and a thunderstorm...

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