I’m gutted Summer is coming to an end because this year has been absolutely gorgeous – mainly because it’s the first time in years we’ve actually had more than three days over 18 degrees and it hasn’t rained the entire time.
As bad as it sounds though, it never quite feels like Summer for me unless I manage to get away on holiday. But despite having a week off with my fella next week and spending the whole of last night browsing the Purple Travel website for some last minute sun, it looks like I’m destined to spend this summer ghastly white, (under the obligatory layer of fake tan of course.)
So today, as I’ve been reminiscing about holidays all morning, I thought I’d take you on a journey way, way back to the time I went to France as a kid, and my Dad ran over my Mum when she had no pants on…
(If this was a 90’s TV show there would absolutely be some wavy ‘back in time’ lines now.)
It was 1995; children around the world were enjoying the release of both Casper and Jumanji, adults were puzzling over the release of OJ Simpson and we were getting the ferry across to France for a holiday at a EuroCamp caravan park. To this day, my Dad still claims that the following 12 hours were the most soul destroying of his entire life.
We’d been sent to our cars to prepare to drive off into France, so – squished between 6 huge suitcases and enough toilet roll to keep a small country going for a week – there we were; my parents, my Granddad, my cousin Claire, (who was actually more like a sister back then, in the sense that she lived in our house and would put my school shoes in the freezer most nights in the hope I would catch my death) and myself.
Just as my Dad turned on the engine my Granddad shrieked, “good GOD, I’m in trouble”, leapt out of the car and disappeared for nearly fifteen minutes – much to the fury of my Dad and the other 70 motorists waiting behind us. But as I’m sure we all know, diarrhea waits for no man.
Now, the caravan park was meant to be an hours drive away from the ferry terminal, so when we were still driving 3 hours later there was obviously something wrong. Not that my Dad would admit it of course, never mind ask for directions so, naturally, my parents weren’t speaking. In fact, if my memory serves me I think my Mum had insisted, in a blind rage, that she was getting into the back seat – which was more the fool her when she found herself wedged in between Claire and myself – neither of who were known for our excellent bladder control on long journeys.
Anyway, after another three hours of driving, complaining about the heat and general unhappiness, we arrived at our caravan site in Dompierre….
Now this is probably the point where I should tell you that there are no less than three Dompierres in France – can you see where I’m going with this?
When you’ve been driving for six hours with no stops, only to find out you have to turn back and do it all over again, there are many ways of dealing with it.
I cried. Claire probably gave me the thump on the arm because I was crying. My Dad was beyond fuming and my Mum was trying desperately to calm everyone down.
And then there was my Granddad; the man who survived all 6 years of the Second World War flying fighter pilots for the RAF. The man who worked as a chef, a teacher, a zookeeper, (where he was once pinned to a fence by a camel, which then spat at him for 45 minutes) and who lived in Africa where he came face to face with a Lioness in the wild. That very same man, my lovely Granddad, decided he’d had enough and couldn’t cope any longer – so he threw his head back, let his jaw hang down and started making a gurgling noise.
This is the conversation that followed:
“Dad what the hell are you doing”
“I’m trying to die.”
“I said stop it!”
“I’m your father, you don’t tell me what to do. If I want to die I’ll bloody die, you mind your own business.”
…and with that my Mum stormed out of the car and went looking for a toilet.
(This was taken on the same holiday, about ten minutes before my Mum nearly drowned. But that’s a whole different story for another day.)
Twenty minutes later my Dad came back holding a set of real directions, (finally) and started to back the car up ready to meet my Mum at the front desk.
That’s when we heard her scream.
Hearing the screams, nearby campers poked their head over the separating hedges like beady little meerkats, their torches bearing down like floodlights on my Mum… who was lying in a crumpled mess on the floor, legs akimbo, with her knickers around her ankles.
It turns out she couldn’t find a toilet so was having a quiet wee behind the car, until my Dad backed the car up and knocked her over mid-flow.
So off we went on another six hour drive; Claire and I fighting, my Granddad trying to die and my Mum covered in her own urine.
So, the moral of the story is, always take bathroom breaks when driving long distances.
And ask for directions.
Until next time… x