DIDSBURY DAD’S THREE-PART HOLIDAY GUIDE
PART ONE – THIS MUCH I KNOW
Flying is no longer any fun. Restrictions mean you can’t take on your own liquid picnic and the heir to the Didsbury dynasty is now too old to get us priority loading. There is also the recession. So this year – with new job waiting for Didsbury Mum we dismissed a trip with the Boden set to Warnersville and I got to relive 70s trips to France squashed into a car with my family.
Eurocamp. A ferry, then four days winding through France to Northern Spain, a couple of weeks split between French and Spanish Basque country and a dash back to the Cherbourg. Me, Didsbury Mum, Didsbury son and a tempremental Citroen.
A week before leaving and 5 minutes into his 9th birthday, Diddbury son fell off new skateboard and broke a metatarsal. The thought of a 2000 drive with a child in a cast is too much to bear, but amen for the NHS. A removable cast, a boy so excited by the appearance of crutches we could have saved a fortune and wrapped them up for his birthday and… Priority loading on the ferry, a caravan near the pool and the shop at both sites and this is even better than flying in the 80s.
So for 2011, for anyone travelling with children and for anyone dipping between Spain and France here is what I have learned.
5 star on a campsite means hot showers and clean floors. 2 star means no toilet paper.
Loopy juice (known locally as jus de loopy or vino kestrelsupero) has consequences. The price of talking in tongues is 2 Euros per litre. Carcassonne jus de loopy is the non brand leader.
A plastercast can help with parking.
Sangria is a breakfast drink.
Sangria is also a chaser.
The French generally rise to their off-hand stereotype and do not laugh in public.
The Spanish tend to laugh more and make children more welcome.
Dutch is not a language so much as German with catarrh.
The French cyber cafes are a con. The sneaky scamps have hidden the@, moved the a and the m and you need to press control to get a number. It took me 15 minutes to log into my fantasy football team.
German spoken over a tannoy evokes an instinctive nervous reaction in me that has been bred through the generations.
The air conditioning may be extra but you need it in a caravan.
Hangovers are much worse without air conditioning.
On campsites, sleeping and going to the toilet have a team element.
Shop in Spain, not France.
Frites and mayonnaise and pizza (pronounced pizza) count towards your five a day
We are all great dancers in the open air, 1000 miles from home.
Martha and the Muffins is only acceptable after a day in 30 degree heat..
You may have a very clever mime inspired, multi instrument act but a family audience prefers to dance to the crew from hi-de-hi miming badly to disco.
You cannot eat a baguette with chorizo everyday without consequence.
You CAN live without TV, 7 coffees and 6 Earl Greys very happily.
The Simpsons and DS are internationally recognised languages.
Didsbury son mastered French in one day. Hand gestures, shouting “Eh Eh” expressively and speaking like an extra from “Allo Allo” .
Meeting another family from Manchester when you’re abroad, even United fans always draws out your inner Manc.
It is possible to sweat without pause for 24 hours..
And then carry on for the next 24 hours.
When you are rested, being woken up by children is lovely.
A family holiday is not a real holiday without a Kevin the teenager moment (no age restriction), and one drunken storming off.
It’s not that I don’t like meeting new people, it’s just my dancecard is full and I am not hiring.
My wife really does know best.
Kids really don’t care where they are so long as there is a pool and they can charge their DS.
You will pack boardgames, cards, jigsaws and games but you can’t compete with DS.
Toilet gags always work on 9 year olds.
We have already managed to eat ourbody weight in soft cheese and drink a merseyful of red wine to bring back that feeling but it’s not quite the same with sound of the Fletcher Moss floating on the early autumn breeze. Aah well, at least the conkers are plentiful
Laughing in Paris with Didsbury Son