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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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Family holidays, grown-up style
I'd managed to avoid going to a holiday camp for the entire 30-odd years of my life up to that point, so quite why I agreed to spend a week at one (in Woolacombe, north Devon) with my sister and her family is, in retrospect, something of a mystery. The fact that I voluntarily did so twice is a veritable riddle inside a mystery wrapped in an enigma. I suspect I was drugged.

Okay, the first occasion was only so-so: at that time I and Mrs RWN were pre-kids so my sister decided that we were the de-facto childminders for my nephew...all day, every day, for the entire week. Brother-in-law spent the whole time fishing or golfing, while sis sat behind her copy of the Sun and smoked herself into a coma. I didn't really mind too much, it was actually quite good fun getting to mess about like a kid again. To be honest, the evenings were the worst due to my sister's insistence on watching every single soap opera you could possibly think of, followed by several hours of Big Brother (which I loathe with a passion), and then moaning at me for the discourtesy of ignoring it in favour of reading a book.

The second time was when RWNlet #1 was about 18 months old. Sis had also spawned again so this time we were to be childminders for three kids. And the villa was the same size -- two rooms -- so it was all a bit of a squeeze. RWNlet had been sleeping 7pm-7am every night since the age of three months or so. But stuck in an uncomfortable, too-small travel cot at the foot of our bed in a stuffy little room, she was not a happy bunny. And (it later emerged) she was suffering some some sort of viral infection too. None of us got more than an hour's sleep in a row for the entire week.

By day three, I was desparately trying to convince Mrs RWN that we should pack up and head home. We were both almost hysterical through lack of sleep and further exhausted from having to entertain three youngsters from the crack of dawn onwards. RWNlet was in a shit state and miserable. And, without wishing to sound too snobbish, we were stuck in a clapped-out holiday camp surrounded by obnoxious chavs and their even more obnoxious offspring. But she insisted that we battle on, not wanting to offend my sister (who, despite not having to do fuck all, wore a face like a slapped arse the whole time).

We made it through the week, somehow, but it was the worst holiday -- not far off the worst week, too -- that I've ever had. And to top it off, it took us two months to get RWNlet back to sleeping through the night without screaming her head off for hours at a time.

Never, ever again.
(, Fri 3 Aug 2007, 12:02, Reply)

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