Life, kids etc.

A lesson in how not to holiday with children

English: The Passenger Oxygen mask of CA976 fl...

Yay! We get to have a go on the oxygen masks, Daddy!


Away on a family holiday this week for a special celebration.

There are 13 of us. Well it seemed like a good idea at the time…

We had to get special permission to take our older boy out of school for this but it has proven very educational. At least, it has proven very educational for the grown ups on the trip.

For me and Mrs Short, it’s the first time we’ve gone abroad with the kids. So the first thing I learnt was this: get a taxi to the airport. “Let’s take the boys on the train, it will be like an adventure starting for them,” we said. How wrong we were. Trying to force your way onto a packed train with a giant suitcase, pram and baby under one arm is the opposite of fun. But at least it prepares you for the hell of the plane.

If you’ve never flown with a baby in tow, my advice is don’t! I’m surprised there isn’t a book on this to prepare you, or at least a chapter on it in all those parenting guides you can get. But then again I suppose no amount of planning can prepare you for an infant filling his nappy in a confined space at 30,000 feet. Just as the ‘fasten seatbelts’ sign has gone on so that neither you or any passengers nearby can escape the sickening whiff for a good 20 minutes.

Mind you, it was our four year old who worried one of the passengers the most. You could hear the sobbing groan of despair from The Most Terrified Of Flying Woman In The World a row in front of us every time he asked a question that started with “Mummy, if we crash…” You would not believe how many questions can start that way. But he was so looking forward to crashing – you get your own oxygen mask and a life jacket with a light and a whistle on it and everything!

Finally we reach our destination and learn another new thing. Minibus drivers in some countries hate it when the passengers sing! He finally snapped at the 28th chorus of “The back of the bus cannae sing, cannae sing, cannae sing.” What a grouch!

The rest of the holiday so far has seen my learning curve continue to go up. I’ve always thought beaches sucked – what’s the point of going to a place just to get sand everywhere? – but they are even suckier with kids in tow. Did you know it can take upwards of an hour to find mummy’s bag when they have “buried it”. How we laughed. Other lessons have included: don’t let a child order octopus in restaurants, no matter how much they plead; the game of charades has limited appeal when ‘Spiderman’, ‘Cars 2‘ and ‘Batman‘ are the only films one of the other contestants can remember; your dad’s “theory” on the disappearance of Madelaine McCann sbould not be aired in a public bar; and kids are rubbish at poker. There are still a few days to go. Who knows what lessons still await?

Leave a comment »

Who duvet think they are?

English: A photo of a white duvet.

What on earth is a tog?

IS it still Summer? Or maybe Autumn?
The weather has been, as the kids say, minging.
Cold, wet and blustery.
Yet we’re still at the time of year when a roasting hot day could be just around the corner.
At the same time, it wouldn’t be too odd to see the first overnight frosts arriving to dust the car windows.
But, weather-wise, it’s always a funny time of year, this.
Which makes it all the more strange that it’s the time of year when we have to make that big decision: shall we take the summer duvet off and put the winter duvet on?
I’m not sure what a tog is exactly, but I do know they measure duvets in them.
And I’ve whacked a couple of extra togs on the bed of late.
Actually, I’ve whacked a couple of extra togs and a half on the bed – that half a tog makes all the difference you know.
It’s been an even tougher one to call than usual this year because of the relentlessly poor weather we‘ve been having.
The temptation has been to go too early.
Not me though, I’ve stuck to my guns.
Because when it comes to the big duvet swap (or BDS as I call it), I have a rule – go off the harvest.
Ahh, harvest time – when we traditionally “harvest” the old tinned peaches, pilchards in tomato sauce and out of date condensed milk from the back of the cupboard, for the kids to take into school.
It’s also the time, in our house, for the BDS.
Of course, being so rigid about it does throw up some anomalies. That year we had on holiday in Spain for example. The hotel manager couldn’t understand why I wanted a thicker duvet when it was 26 degrees at night. Still, it was harvest time in England and rules are rules.
To be honest, even these past few days haven’t been completely plain sailing for the BDS, despite the rubbish weather.
At the start of the week- as I have for much of this dreadful summer – I was shivering with cold at night.
Over the last couple of nights, with the winter duvet on, I’ve been sweating like a fat mouse in a cat disco.
Sweating so much in fact, I did wake up thinking I’d wet the bed at one point – although I’ve not done that in months!
It made me think though that maybe, just maybe, it was time to ease up on the strict regimen and just change the duvet when it gets too cold.
I could always change it back again if we hit an Indian summer.
After all, it only involves going into the loft and takes about 10 minutes all told.
I still don’t know what I’m going to do about it. Do I abandon tradition for common sense?
It is a question I’ve been boring my wife with for two whole days now. She says I am over analysing something that doesn’t need analysing at all and pointed out her patience is wearing thinner than our useless summer duvet.
Leave a comment »