So here we are. On holiday again. Our second this year, the first being an exotic summer sojourn in Mexico, this one a not so glamorous end of season visit to sunny Norfolk. Oh, that could be contentious…
So here I am. 6.30 a.m., the sun is streaming through the woefully thin bedroom curtains of our deceivingly small chalet just outside Mundersley, and I’m staring out at a perfect cerulean blue sky, spattered with titanium white cirrocumulus clouds (I’m not an expert on cloud formations, I googled it on the very poor wifi). Half a packet of custard creams and a Cafe Noire decaf in hand. Quiet. For the next 30 minutes anyway, I hear people stirring. And the topic for my next blog has come to mind. It’s a tad contentious. But stick with it.
I’ve got both wife and mother staying with me. By no coincidence, daughter, son in law and grand children are just down the road in Walcott. Grandchildren very excited to be on holiday and to have nana and grandad in tow. To be honest, I’m not sure we are fit enough to keep up and not hold them back having fun as a young family should.
It would be very tempting to slip into yet another chronological list, this time of holidays – in fact I feel it forming in the back of my mind. But no, I’ve got another idea. A literary ‘triptych’ of divergent themes. What?
Theme 1) Contentious children and singular views.
I’m getting old, and noticeably less argumentative as I get older. I just can’t be bothered. I’ve been shown first hand that life is too short, and I don’t want to waste it bickering. Or listening to bickering. When my children and wife bicker, they are wasting my valuable time. When I bicker of course, that’s different. That’s entertainment.
My children are very opinionated, and not always in a good way. They at times assume that their lifestyle is the only way, and everyone else should conform to their model. I must say that I have probably been guilty of that at times, but to preserve the peace I have relented and allow people to choose their own path, even though occasionally I will try to show them some alternatives to the life styles they have chosen. It doesn’t hurt to be aware of alternatives, even if you choose not to follow them.
My eldest grandchild is coming to that age where she would enjoy a trip to Disney. I know this as I took my own children at the age of 6 and 2, which coincidentally is nearly the difference between my eldest grandchild and her little sister. So past experience and my granddaughter’s obvious love of all things Disney tells me she would love it.
My younger twin daughters have flown to Disneyworld Florida today with their boyfriends. Originally they had a vision that the whole family would go including the grandkids, but a variety of circumstances arose that prevented this happening.
There are many personal, work and financial reasons why my eldest isn’t dashing to the travel agent to book their seats on the next plane to Orlando. Those reasons are all valid – and shouldn’t be questioned. Well maybe the odd one is questionable. But of course, the opinionated outspoken twins have completely different views and have no problem expressing them in their normal tactless manner. The friction and frustration is apparent, and I sense my valuable time clock ticking once more in the background.
So the day before they leave I give one of the twins a subtle lecture, unbeknown to the eldest (until now). We can politely discuss, encourage, debate, but have some respect and realise your view is neither the only one or necessarily the right one.
Ironically a day later the eldest vents her frustration, similar topic, with reasonable cause, although not realising that her own reasoning is sometimes equally frustrating and questionable at times. But I refrain from joining the debate. Respect first, encouragement next, impose – never.
Theme 2) Maslow’s theory and self actualisation.
Oops. Nearly gave a presentation from my BA course then. But the point was going to be that Maslow in a roundabout fashion shows you that as you progress through life, your needs, desires, tastes and financial and personal circumstances change. And our own family development is a prime example. Let me demonstrate:
Do your childhood holiday experiences affect your own choices in later life? I don’t know. My holidays consisted of Skegness, occasionally being adventurous and venturing further afield like Bournemouth, Scarborough, Wales, Cornwall, even… Clacton. I sound sarcastic but that’s all we knew. Actually in those days it was probably a good spread. For many mining families Skegness was the norm, Ingoldmells was a trek and Mablethorpe was considered as going abroad. We wouldn’t have even done Clacton except my friend and his mum and dad were going to Butlins (they regularly stayed at Butlins Skegness but want to try going abroad) and I wanted to go too with my best friend, so mum and dad tagged along in order that I had a good time. Not sure if they really wanted too, my friend’s parents were hard to get on with.
The point is, all I knew was holidays in the UK. But I also recall my mum’s and dad’s friends, often without children or in better paid jobs, would get the slide projector out when we visited, to show us their holidays in Marbella, Majorca and Sorrento.
Ironically I found out later that mum had been to Majorca with her friend before meeting dad. Maybe he was the restraining influence, but more likely we didn’t have the money to afford holidays abroad once me and my brother arrived. the budget package market was still along way off.
My wife’s mum and dad on the other hand had moved on to continental holidays with their sister and brother in law, albeit with Redfern Travel – somehow a 3 day bus journey was preferable to a two hour flight, which my wife’s uncle wouldn’t contemplate.
But they had never taken their children much further than Skegness; it seemed that the attraction of foreign climes was not for their children to experience.
As I grew older, I had been enthralled by the Hoseasons’ and Blakes’ regular TV adverts for boating holidays on the Norfolk Broads, but I wasn’t successful in tempting my parents on to the water.
I then I met my wife to be, and my own story began. (Contentiously, to be continued…)