We’ve just finished our annual summer holiday and, can I say, Portchester is lovely at this time of year!
After much deliberation and a quick glimpse at the bank statement, we holidayed from home this summer and it has been good fun, although a little challenging.
With a five-year-old and a one-year-old, you need to have your wits about you plus a holiday strategy, or it will end in tears. Yours.
My strategy was simple: have a loose but reasonably solid plan each day, something that will burn off gigawatts of youthful energy, whilst not costing the Earth.
Living on the coast, we’re pretty fortunate as there are a stack of things you can get up to, like throwing stones in the sea.
Molly was happy to stand there for hours throwing pebbles into the breaking surf, whilst the dog stupidly thought she was throwing something for him.
Everyone was a winner. She had fun, the dog got his exercise and I got peace.
On the subject of beaches, we had a typical British summer’s day in Bournemouth. There are seven miles of fine, golden sand, all of which is now either in the back of my car, or in an orifice of mine.
Being stoically British about going to the beach (if we say we’re going, we’re going…sandstorm or not,) we sat cowering behind the wind break, towels wrapped around our heads, eating food that looked like it had been crumb-coated, even the fruit.
The tears rolling down my wife’s face may have been because of the inordinate amount of pain she was suffering as she was exfoliated from head to toe by the sand-blast. But I like to think she was wincing because she was having too much fun for words.
But this is what sets us apart from other nations.
Could you imagine a Frenchman sat on a beach with his face being whipped-off by the wind and making his family stay there for a full six hours, just because he paid £10 to park? Me neither.
There are loads of positives to holidaying from home too.
You don’t have to unlock the mystery of paying for flights with low-cost airlines: £1 on the website, £236.66 from your bank account.
You don’t get patronised by a waiter who laughs at your attempts to try the lingo and then expects a decent tip.
You don’t have to dance at kids’ clubs until 11.15pm each evening with a Dutchman brain-washing your children while dressed as a squirrel.
All in all we’ve had a great week holidaying around the area and we finish it all off tomorrow with a nice family trip to the newly refurbished household waste recycling plant at Port Solent.