Who said that going on holiday was more stressful than it’s worth? Me! Me, me, me. And yesterday was proving me right all day. From the minute I got up to get our packing done in a frenzy, until the minute we fell into our mini mobile home beds here in France we didn’t know what the next minute was going to throw at us.
We hadn’t managed to do any packing in advance because of lots of stressful happenings at Joth’s work and on our last night, when I was determined I would sort out lots of last minute things, I fell asleep with Anton and slept for 10 1/2 hrs (puncuated by a 5.30 feed for Dante. He is doing so well on the sleeping front these days.) So on the morning when we had to leave the house at 1pm I was alternating between throwing random things at the suitcases and stalling in agonies of indecision over important details like whether the grey socks were too small for Anton or whether I should just let Oscar go with the vests he had packed instead of boxer shorts. We left the house at 1 as planned but I knew that at the back of my mind I wouldn’t feel relaxed until I was sure I hadn’t forgotten that vital piece of equipement that was going to ruin the holiday for someone (and hence for us all). In other words, I can’t be sure until the end of the holiday that we can enjoy the holiday if you see what I mean.
It’s one of the criticisms that I usually throw at Joth that he doesn’t think ahead to cover all eventualities when planning things with the children but this time it hadn’t crossed either of our minds that the 6 hour ferry crossing from Plymouth to Roscoff would be anything other than fun and games all the way. We pictured ourselves enjoying Anton’s first cinematic experience on board together and then having a lovely meal and playing cards, laughing all the way. We started off fine and did go in to the cinema as planned, with me telling Oscar not to think about the rocking of the boat as otherwise he would feel worse. He did and it was catching. In fact the whole boat caught it with people lying in the aisles and lurching around the deck clutching sick bags. Dignity was thrown to the wind or rather to the gales and inhibitions were dropped as people gave woeful green-gilled smiles on catching each other’s eye as they came up out of their bags for fresh air.
Lucas was the first to be sick which was a surprise as he was the last one of us left watching the film in the cinema. The rest of us had come out to see if finding daylight would make us feel better. It didn’t. Lucas was sick all over the cinema seats, in the corridor and in the loo. Oscar was just rocking in a corner and Anton was dancing. He danced for quite a while actually while I sat comotose with Dante hanging off me and then he suddenly came up and said “Cuddle me,” and was violently sick all over me. Twice. Luckily I couldn’t have felt any more sick anyway and even more luckily, Joth wasn’t feeling sick. In fact, he didn’t feel sick the whole way. Not even when Anton threw up all over him a few minutes later while I was washing my clothes under the shower with me in them. So Joth still had to pace the corridors, covered in vomit, trying to avoid the people and the slippery patches, holding Anton and then Dante, or whoever was screaming loudest. Ugh! I had changes of clothes for Anton and Dante but call me an unorganised mother but I never do pack changes of clothes for us grown ups. Still, it meant we were given a bit more room in the lift going down to the car deck again.
At 9pm., on arrival in Roscoff – that haven of dry land, we congratulated ourselves that we had decided to fork out £40 for the Sat Nav France map at the last minutes, and we set off in the right direction with spirits restored only to find that the petrol stations where we had thought to fill ourselves up with food (having not eaten now since breakfast) were all unmanned. Panic set in for a few miles until we found an French/American diner/restuarant by the name of Buffalo Bill. They didn’t do takeaways so we graced them with our reeking presence (preparing ourselves to give them a huge tip) and ordered everything we could think of but the kids ended up being too tired to eat lots.
Still, spirits were high again and we set off optimistically again even though it was past 11pm and we still had 1 1/2 hrs to go. The Sat Nav was brilliant right up until the last 5 miles. Which is quite a long way in the dark and the rain. In the end we picked on some unlikely heros – a group of local youth hanging on a street corner who jabbered away in French, pointed at maps and stabbed at our Sat Nav and eventually after we’d done a lot of smiling at each other one lad leapt on to his moped and gestured to us to follow him and took us all the rest of the way. I could have hugged him, but I gave him some Euros instead which I’m sure he preferred.
They had threatened that the campsite barrier would be down by midnight but luckily it wasn’t, so we didn’t have to trapse around in the dark with the bedding and four sleepy children. We just collapsed into bed and dreamt strange dreams to the accompaniment of the gales outside.
And I’ll write about today tomorrow is you see what I mean. Reliving all that has made me sleepy, or it might be the Bretton cider.