Sunday, 9 August 2015

And I Guess That’s Why They Call it the (Holiday) Blues

Coming back to the UK after holidaying abroad can be a bit of a downer, and it’s nothing to do with all the suitcases of laundry, an empty fridge or a zillion emails in your inbox.  No, it’s more to do with being transported from golden sunshine and sapphire-blue seas to instant grey skies and a weather report that states the obvious…a chance of showers.  If you peer out of an aeroplane window, you always know when Britain is coming up because there’s an army of clouds over the Channel.  It’s almost as if there is a cosmic climate sentry announcing, ‘Rubbish weather zone coming up.’
          Perversely, at the time of blogging, it’s super sunny again.  But who knows how long it will last?
  The British summer is always a fickle one.  Anyway, I digress.
          My holiday blues took place the following morning when I walked into the kitchen to put the kettle on.  It was an absolute bummer not to encounter worktops displaying umpteen types of cold meats, twenty different cheeses, several cereal options, ten types of bread, and a rainbow of fruit all accompanied by a full English.  Slotting two pieces of bread into the toaster just didn’t do it for me.  Ditto the après-breakfast scene. On holiday the only executive decision to be made is whether to head for the pool or the beach.  Once home, there is only one option and it’s non-negotiable. Get your bottom on your typing chair and try not to sigh too heavily as you log on to your computer.
          Now it might well be that you didn’t go abroad for your vacation, instead taking pot luck with the weather and opting for a British holiday delight…the Cornish coast, a cottage in the Cotswolds, or even a caravan in the Highlands.  But I’ll bet the Holiday Blues still kicked in at some point!
          My daughter’s holiday blues settled the moment her plane landed at Gatwick Airport.
          ‘Oh, Mum,’ she cried as she drooped through the front door.  ‘It was so beautiful.  The sand was white.  The sea was clear! And every day we were hot. Really hot.  Like stinking hot.’  My daughter paused, one finger hovering over the thermostat in the hall.
          ‘What are you doing?’ I asked sharply.
          ‘Switching the heating on.’
          ‘But it’s July.’
          ‘I know, and it’s freezing.’
          ‘Go and put on a pair of jeans and a sweater.  And thermal socks.’
          ‘But nobody will see my tan!’
          Ah, the tan.  That is the other joy of going abroad.  Pale limbs, often the colour of alabaster, are kissed by the sun.  In a few days we’re the colour of a lobster.  By the end of the first week we’re golden brown.  And if we’re really lucky and blessed with the right genes, into the second week we turn the colour of tarmac.  Unfortunately, in the UK, the most we can really hope for is the lobster bit.
          Sometimes we can’t afford a break.  I always remember going away with my first husband to Frensham.  Back then we were skint and the ‘holiday’ was actually a Saturday…just the one Saturday you understand.  I’d flaked out on a dusty bank by the water’s edge and, like meat on a skewer, rotated every few minutes in an effort to achieve a fortnight’s deep tan in six hours.  With the help of a bottle of tan-accelerating lotion I almost achieved it too.
          Recently my son went to Japan on a dental elective.  However, once the study bit was out of the way, he made the most of every spare second in forty degrees of heat visiting exotic places, soaking up the music, the smells, the tastes, the language, until he was giddy with culture.  Did he suffer the holiday blues?  No.  His secret?  Two days after landing at Heathrow, he got on another plane and jetted off to Crete.  This is an example of having a holiday in order to get over another holiday.  Obviously we can’t all do this, but it’s very nice if you can!
          Meanwhile I’m doing everything possible to convince my body it’s still in holiday mode.  The moment work is over, I’m off to the local hair salon which has not one, but two, sunbeds!  Oh yeah, baby – bring it on.  For six whole minutes I can close my eyes and pretend I’ve been transported somewhere in the world that’s jungle-hot.  And then there’s the food.  Shepherd’s pie for tea?  No thanks.  Last night I was in our favourite Indian restaurant where, for an hour or two, my family and I listened to unfamiliar warbly music and overdosed on the sort of spices definitely not found in my kitchen cupboard.  It’s a bit of a compromise, but good enough. So if your holiday is yet to be taken, have a good one.  But if you're back and feeling miserable, start planning the next one! Which reminds me.
          A little boy scared his family one summer by disappearing during their lakeside holiday.  A dozen relatives searched the shoreline and surrounding forest and were very relieved when little Tommy was found playing in the woods.  His mother was so thankful.
          ‘Now listen to me,’ she said as she hugged Tommy tightly.  ‘From now on when you want to go somewhere you tell Mummy first, okay?’
          Tommy thought about if for a moment and then said, ‘Okay, Disney World…’

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