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This is a question Family Holidays

Back in the 80s when my Dad got made redundant (hello Dad!), he spent all the redundancy money on one of those big motor caravans.

Us kids loved it, apart from when my sister threw up on my sleeping bag, but looking back I'm not so sure my mum did. There was a certain tension every time the big van was even mentioned, let alone driven around France for weeks on end with her still having to cook and do all the washing.

What went wrong, what went right, and how did you survive the shame of having your family with you as a teenager?

(, Thu 2 Aug 2007, 14:33)
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Wait a sec, I think I'm going to be sick
Our family holidays were little short of idyllic, to be honest: staying in a friend's cottage in what was then a remote and un-touristy part of South-West Ireland. The cottage fronted onto a beach and a quiet bay where we'd muck about in boats and have Famous Five-type adventures.


What was not idyllic was the travel. My lifelong hatred of ferries can be traced back directly to the hours we spent aboard the collection of clapped-out tubs that B&I had the gall to refer to as its 'fleet'. I've never been blessed with good sea-legs and my abiding memories of those voyages tend to involve being stuck in a small, windowless cabin, reeking of engine oil, trying desperately not to be sick (again).

Then there was the several hours of driving required to get to our final destination, on the crumbling dirt tracks that passed (and in many cases still do) for roads in rural Ireland. Being prone to carsickness (not much of traveller, me) it was little better than being on the ferry, although I could at least ask to stop and get out once in a while. Many and widespread are the roadside verges that have been nourished by the contents of my stomach.

As it happens, the worst trip was one that I was too young to remember. I was just a babe in arms when my mother took the boat, accompanied by a friend and all the kids (five in all) but minus Dads, who were flying out later. The weather was gale-force all the way, and by all accounts everyone (including many of the crew), spent the entire voyage face-down in a pool of vomit, praying for death. My mother recalls little beyond her early decision to hand me over to a pair of apparently oblivious nuns, managing to slur "Hold this!" at them as she struggled off towards the nearest toilet, where she spent the rest of the journey.

I believe that the latter incident also goes some way to explaining my lifelong aversion to nuns.
(, Thu 2 Aug 2007, 15:15, Reply)

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