Posted on January 20, 2011
Because this week is the most depressing week of the year according to fuck knows who, I decided that I would spend a bit of time on the Internet looking at potential holidays with my two lads this summer as a way of cheering me up. I didn’t actually need cheering up to be honest, but I felt a bit left out that everyone else was supposed to be so miserable, so I put on my “The Queen is Dead” CD by The Smiths and I looked out of the window at the rain for a while, but I soon got the hang of it and I replicated the supposed mood of the rest of nation. I enhanced this feeling by watching a programme on BBC iPlayer about Britain’s biggest banks which raised my misery stakes another notch or two.
I have not had a foreign holiday since my trip to Biarritz because in layman’s terms, I am pretty poor these days, but as I had picked up a bit of work lately I thought that I might at least have a look to see what was on offer. Am I looking in the wrong places or is a holiday for an adult and two kids two grand plus? Please email me on email@example.com if you have any good ideas, as from where I have been sitting it is two grand for a camping trip to the French Med and up to six to seven grand if you want to mix with the smug upper middle classes on a Mark Warner holiday in Portugal or Greece (“So what car are you driving these days Sebastian?”). I suppose if you are a city banker raking in huge bonuses for pissing tax payers money up the wall seven grand is like having a piss in the centre of Brisbane.
Of course, in recent years our expectations have risen, as when I was a child a holiday for me meant getting lobbed on an overnight bus to Edinburgh where my Grandma would pick me up and take me to the grey shores of Kirkcaldy to stay in her pebble dashed council house for six weeks with day trips to Crail, Anstruther, Glenrothes, Leven and Burntisland. I used to arrive home whiter than I left as the average temperature in July was about 16c and by August, Autumn had arrived bringing a cold mist off the North Sea. It was quite striking that so many people were not only very small, but also pretty unhappy and heavily reliant on alcohol consumption to get through the day.
To me though it was still very exciting as I quickly made friends on my Grandma’s estate which was called Blackcraigs. As is still the case, the Scottish kids were shit at football and because I was quite good I would run rings them and I made myself even more popular with teenage lies about all the different English league teams that wanted to sign me up, these kids couldn’t get enough of me. My best pal was a ginger kid called Paul Innes who lived opposite me. He took me everywhere, including a trip with his parents to the natural swimming baths which sounded exotic but they were categorically the opposite. These things were concrete basins on the beach that filled up when the tide came in, giving some fucker the excuse to call them swimming baths. Going in one of these things was the equivalent of a North Sea oil worker falling off his rig with no clothes on, it was ice cold to a point that you couldn’t even here your own screams of mercy. That taught the cocky little fucker who was off to play for Arsenal next year.
Other childhood holidays included Bracklesham Bay, The Forest of Dean, The Norfolk Broads, Ringwood and Tenby. I also went to Butlins with my Nan and my cousin at Minehead which I hated every minute of. Because I was the youngest of five my childhood was based around freedom and survival and it was much the same for all my mates, our parents didn’t have a clue where we were, but it was normally playing football, fishing or just messing about at Wasing woods. Being caged up in a holiday camp with townie looking people dressed in dubious nylon clothes and being forced to enjoy myself was something that sat really uncomfortably with me, I felt completely trapped. I can remember a bloke in the ‘chalet’ next to us who had really tight trousers that gave graphic detail of his penis and testicle outline. He always seemed to be looking at me in an odd way and in hindsight I think he might have fancied my pert thirteen year old bottom on his lap. The irony isn’t lost on me that I could run free across the North Hampshire countryside all summer yet be under more threat from sex offenders in a holiday camp/prison for people who needed to be shown how to have a good time.
Anyway, my eldest son will be sixteen in early 2012 so I need to do something this Summer as it may be my last with him for some time, perhaps ever, so please someone help me find something. Anything will do just as long as you don’t mention the East cost of Scotland or Butlins in Minehead……………………or come to that, Butlins anywhere!!!