Monday, July 28, 2008
So, here I am, back up North after the mini-break. I was actually quite worried about the Isle of Wight by the time we left, early on Wednesday morning; various dubious descriptions of swirly wallpaper, terrible food, the 1980's and early departures in miserable drizzle had made me apprehensive. I had moved beyond irritation with Danny Boy, The Terminator and Lurch and had turned into a raging bull, sick of lost property, letters from the school about underachievement and my own unappreciated slave labour - I've been down that grim road many times before. The boys didn't appear keen to get in the car with me but Lurch was certainly enthusiastic, up early to wave us off with a cheery smile.
We had a great journey - I generally refuse to stop en route as I hate wasting time and money in service stations so the four hours south passed quite quickly with only a few of the usual complaints that I completely ignored. We got the Red Funnel ferry at Southampton and had the tent up and the barbecue on by 7.30pm. School friend and daughters were there to welcome and help us and we all started to relax.
We had a fantastic time, the weather was brilliant the campsite was lovely (Grange Farm in Brighstone) and we are all tanned, relaxed and renewed. The dynamics of a holiday with an old friend are completely different to family holidays. Lurch likes to 'crack on' and move around at high speed but we took the time to sit and chat and drink coffee at leisure. We discussed how stressed we were with the children and School Friend offered me honest appraisals and useful solutions to my family issues. I returned the favour. The Isle of Wight was lovely, we travelled around, had dinner in the pub or fish and chips (abandoned the effort of the barbecue after the first night) and we all went swimming in the sea.
School Friend and I drank wine by candlelight at night, gossiping about fellow campers and I spent some time reading. I only managed 1 book - The Secret Life of a Slummy Mummy by Fiona Neill, which I secretly really enjoyed. I also started Wild Decembers by Edna O'Brien but wasn't in the mood for atavistic knuckle-dragging tales, it reminded me too much of the tedious torture of my Portuguese literature finals.
By the end of the holiday family equilibrium was restored, I was feeling deep maternal love and affection when I handed them over at Pete and Wendy's to El Vel and Sean Sean the Leprechaun. The Terminator had spent every penny of his £10 holiday money on sweets and, in the space of four days, had become a walking Type 2 diabetes time bomb. Danny Boy's mop of hair made peripheral vision impossible and I gladly relinquished all responsibility to The Maestro. El Vel was in the starter's blocks itching to unleash order. Marigolds, Vanish and Sean's home-grown vegetables were primed and ready. I was so grateful but slightly ashamed that she is so much more competent than me.
Got back home and Lurch appeared very pleased to see me, still haven't quite worked out why, maybe he's started taking his malaria tablets for Zambia early and the side effects have already kicked in. Phoned the boys tonight to be told by The Terminator that he's a little bit bored because Grandma has banned all fighting but that he ate runner beans, poached salmon and new potatoes - no sweets. Danny Boy's hair has been cut and he has been lectured about the value of education and focus. They've also been swimming in the sea and played golf. They both want to move back South again as well and I must say I'm having second thoughts myself...