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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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Why I don't holiday in France any more
Between the ages of 13 and 15, more years ago than I care to remember (well OK, the late '80's), my family went on holiday to Eurocamp campsites three years in a row. The first two holidays were pretty bad but the third did the damage required in order to finally prompt my parents long-overdue divorce.

Firstly, my father (who is fortunately a lot better these days) was a total lunatic and insisted on driving all the way from northwest England to halfway down western France, via a ferry. For the third year he had bought a smaller car than previously, meaning I was stuck in the back, in a smaller space than ever before, with my brother and sister doing their best impressions of satan's children. Bear in mind my brother and I were each 6 feet tall even at the ages of 15 and 14, this was less fun than eating pavement while hippopotami jump on the back of your head.

We set off at 5 in the morning to catch a ferry from Dover at 5 the following morning. By the time we got to the town right next to ours my mother had developed cystitis, necessitating a 4 hour delay while we drove round Manchester looking for the duty chemist at 5:30am on a Saturday. Due to the ridiculous amount of time my father had insisted on allowing to ensure we made the ferry, we still got to the terminal 12 hours early. Obviously, to us anyway, there wasn't a hotel booked, so we all had to sleep in the car. Personally I wanted to sleep on the tarmac next to the car but was denied as I would obviously have been mugged, stolen or touched up. Still, I had no choice but to sleep with the windows down and my feet out of them - quite how this protected me from the aforementioned fates I am still to comprehend.

Then halfway through France on the way to the campsite I developed food poisoning from the eggs I had eaten on the ferry and spent the first week shitting water and deliriously lying on a campbed in the shade while a series of hallucinatory demons attempted to take my sanity. All the while my mother was pissing blood, my father was losing it about once every thirty minutes and my sister was bored shitless and sulking for Britain. My brother, meanwhile, was off having a great time discovering the joys of amphetamines courtesy of a Swiss boy he'd befriended. The cnut. Oh, and the French doctor we had been forced to seek assistance from, who was supposed to speak English didn't. Nor did he appear to speak French as my mother, who speaks perfectly good French and was understood by everyone else couldn't make him understand her. Nor did he admit to knowing what we meant by diarhoeaa despite an increasingly graphic series of mimes and the fact that the French word is something like "diarhee" which I managed finally to recall. Thanks for that, you fucking French numpty, and also for charging us about £100 for seeing us and prescribing us medicines which didn't actually work - the better part of our remaining spending money according to the massive rage paying it out induced in Papa.

Though I was better before we went I managed to get pissed up and spill beer all over my bed which prompted not only my fathers rage, but became an incident I've never been allowed to forget, despite the fact it's not actually embarrasing - let's face it, I didn't piss the bed or anything. Plus, I was awoken by the unmistakeable sound of my parents at "it" through a cloth wall. Lovely.

Despite all this, I think the moment the divorce became inevitable was when we got home, and before we had even unpacked my father was trying to book for next year. Unsurprisingly, that was the last family holiday we took.

One other story for you now - I went to Brazil this year with some friends, it was totally awesome except for one experience. I had to get an overnight coach from Rio to Sao Paulo, and the bus was so full we couldn't all sit together. I was therefore condemned to sit between the window and a fat middle-aged woman dressed in white. She sat down, reclined her seat, immediately went to sleep and immediately after that let go one of the most skull-fucking stenches I've ever experienced. Not only did it make me bleed from my eyes and ears, it had a half-life of the entire journey and accordingly assaulted me for the next twelve hours. I still remember the moment at journey's end when she got up, treating me to a view of the distinctive brown spot the aforementioned guff had left on her white trousers...

Length? You should see my c0ck...
(, Tue 7 Aug 2007, 13:59, Reply)

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