Saturday 20 June 2015

An adventure.

A boat trip
Here we all are aboard the Condor.

Before we went on this trip, we asked if it was suitable for the disabled and so on, as we were not particularly mobile with Sam being a bit weak and easily tired, Clara being so young and Grandpa being diabetic and needing to eat at the right time.
We were told it was the best trip for disabled people as it was a lovely beach we were going to with nice food and pretty scenery.  I expect it was usually, but things did not go quite to plan.

We are not happy on the boat, despite the cheerful smiles and jolly sunshine in the photo,  because it was ridiculously hot and there was no shade at all.

Isn't it a funny thing, when a photographer tells you to smile for the camera, you do, no matter what you were doing just before? I have seen funeral photos that give the impression that everyone was at a really good party.  Mind you the only Irish funeral I have ever been to was a really good party.  Dancing and everything.

Shortly after this a young man struck up a charming if somewhat LOUD ditty with an electric guitar, and we began to realise that, what with the rather risque words and all, families and grandparents were not the target audience for the trip.

A little while later an unexpectedly heavy swell made it very difficult for the older part of our party to disembark onto the beach.  Nobody drowned or fell in the sea, so that was just exciting.  We had to jump just at the right moment when the little dinghy came up level with the deck, or wait until it had dropped 15ft or so and come back up.  It reminded me of those skipping games we girls used to play, following eachother into the skipping rope kept constantly twirling whilst we sang "Granny in the kitchen, doing a bit of knitting in comes "Susan"  or "Janet" or whatever the next person's name was and chases granny OUT!" Alternatively it could be compared to joining the *Hangar Lane Gyratory System in rush hour.

When we got to the beach there was no shade, which for us Brits un-used to any temperature above 20 degrees Centigrade was very challenging, and the food was inexplicably and hour and a half late which made Grandpa rather vague and difficult .

The beach was indeed lovely and we enjoyed a little
swim before the barbecue, but  the weather was interesting and the sea was not as calm as we (or the crew of the boat) had hoped...

It became clear that re-embarking (if that is the correct nautical term) was going to be a big challenge even for young agile sailors.  Luckily a bus was laid on, and we all began to climb the interminable cliff, the older ones carrying the children and occasionally Grandpa, with the even older ones trudging doggedly thinking of drinks and clouds with gentle rain and possibly even air conditioning, who can say?  At he top of the cliff we saw the bus laden with our more agile fellows disappearing round a bend in the road.  No one was there to ask if there would be another one, as the tour guide had legged it with the first group, so we waited and hoped.  It was about 40 degrees on the cliff top and the countryside was barren of the smallest bush or vegetation which might give shade.  We passed round the sun cream.  It said on the label "not to be taken internally" so we assumed we couldn't drink it.  We really wanted to.  Much later back at the house, Aunty Carol summed it up.  

Adventures are always really uncomfortable.

We were never in any real danger and this story is funny in retrospect.

My heart goes out to those people who are so desperate that they take their lives in their hands and travel in small boats across big dangerous oceans hoping they will survive with their children to enjoy a life free of fear.

*huge roundabout with no traffic lights and 8 lanes of fast moving traffic.  It is commonly known as malfunction junction and is britain's scariest junction.

Saturday 4 April 2015

We go somewhere exotic! The Algarve!

Holidays always begin with the mundane.  This one was no different.  It rained and I ran about doing the usual last minute chores - spring cleaning the house so we didn't come home and wish we were back on holiday because it was cleaner, delivering keys to various people so they could feed the cat or water the garden and stopping the milk, that sort of thing.

I remember this moment so well!  My trainers were full of water, I had 101 other things to do and when I delivered the keys to my next door neighbour he knew I was going on holiday already - not sure how - and he had stopped our milk delivery for the duration of our holiday.  "These young housekeepers" he probably thought, "they never remember the little things, it would be a kindness to stop her milk for her".  Well I took it as a kindness, but I must admit to being at a bit of a loss for words.  It didn't matter because Mr Jezzard never was.

The Jezzards had a lovely garden with a very old apple tree from when the area was a market garden in the 1920s.  He was a keen gardener and used to give us surplus plants as the garden when we moved in was just grass and rubble.  His wife gave me a lily of the valley and I now have a large and spreading colony.  Very fragrant.  Anyway the milk.  Milkmen are a dying breed now.  I give it another few years and I reckon there won't be any left.  When we moved here in 1996 there was a choice between three who would deliver milk (and orange juice) to the door each day.  Now there is one, and very few people use him, even though he delivers all sorts of other things besides milk - even growbags,  but it will all stop soon. No longer will the policeman in the detective thriller be able to say "the milk has not been taken in for 3 days,  so the victim  has been dead since Sunday".   Sad.  Supermarkets have taken over.

The whole family went on this holiday, Mum, Dad, Carol (my sister) and the five of us.  We hired a large rickety van to get around in and a huge house with a swimming pool (!)

The children were beside themselves with excitement.  We didn't let on we were going until the last few days to prevent the endless questions  - "How many more big sleeps until we go?" " Will there be seaside?"  "Are we really going on an aeroplane?"

We did go on an aeroplane which was very exciting.  To give the children a portable and lightweight amusement, we bought them each a Tamagotchi - a sort of hand held digital pet - very new and exciting at the time.  They loved them, although the amount of Tamagotchi babysitting we did as parents was a bit of a disappointing side effect.

Clara had not quite grasped the complexities of electronics and water. She probably actually believed her pet was alive...

The novelty wore off when the children found the swimming pool and neglect had its natural consequence with pets.  George was terribly upset when his pet died but you can re-set these things and it soon passed.

Clara goes in swimming "by herself".  George's cyber pet dies.
Clara was desperate to be independent although she was only 3 and loved to do everything the boys did.  I let her go swimming by herself, but Aunty Carol surreptitiously floated close by and I pretended not to be looking, from two feet away.   We kept the pool door locked tight unless we were outside using it. Even so I was very nervous which was something I didn't want to communicate to the children and put them off swimming.  Jim has never been able to swim, and I was determined to train up some watersport company for myself on later holidays.  It worked!  They are all avid swimmers and surfers which is great when we go to Cornwall!