It's that time of the year again and we are trying to find a holiday that will satisfy us all. My poor daughter has been subjected to a lot of rather strange holidays in her 10 years. My attempts to recreate holidays I enjoyed at her age have been dismal. My parents were always perfectly happy to go to Spain or Majorca and do very little for 2 weeks whilst I ran around with other English children getting covered in sand and pine needles, having flotilla battles on lilos and getting stuck in the lift at least once a day when we overloaded its buttons. It was all very fine so far as I was concerned, although my older sister skulked about in dark glasses and tie-dye looking miserable.
My partner R has very different ideas about activity levels however. Having spent every holiday visiting his mother's relatives in North Limburg (a visit we recreate at least once a year) he doesn't really get the great British slob-out package tour. A couple of years ago I persuaded him to try a week in Majorca and he was deeply shocked to the extent of appearing to feel an elaborate joke was being played on him, when, on the first lunchtime in Puerto de Pollensa, our waitress was English, the menu was English and all the other people in the cafe were English Once he had run up all the nearby hills and spent a lot of money hiring first a windsurf then a tiny sailing boat for an hour he didn't really know what to do. My daughter showed signs of enjoying herself as the ice cream was good, but soon got covered in mosquito bites and turned out to be allergic to the cream that was supposed to sooth them, resulting in a spectacular faint and vomit incident in the main street. So it was a bit of a failure all round.
Then there's our carbon footprint. I feel I've emitted enough tonnes to last a lifetime in my pre-child 90s past when I went on holiday to places like China and Chile. M would love to go to Harry Potter World and Hawaii but it doesn't seem to be happening as I wrestle with my environmental guilt, budget and resentment at the short length of school holidays at the best time of year to go.
R is not at all interested in leaving Europe anyway, despite the outdoor potential of various suggested destinations ("fancy the Yukon R?"). He has a strange interest in obscure parts of the Benelux countries, as witnessed by our recent short break to a non-functioning ski resort where stones for sharpening are produced, and our 2010 damp summer sailing break in Fryslan, the northernmost part of the Netherlands. He is passionate about Germany, Central and Eastern Europe none of which interest me in the slightest. That isn't quite true as we all enjoyed a 79p each way short break in Gdansk a few years ago. I got to see the shipyard where it all started and with which we expressed so much solidarity when I was a student. We hunted for amber on the beaches and had coffee in shiny hotels funded by the EU and went on trams. I wouldn't mind going to Warsaw or Budapest. But his latest suggestion that we should borrow a house from his Serbian friends in Novi Sad, a city on the flatlands north of Belgrade, has finally motivated me to ring our friends in Cornwall and get us invited down there poste haste to recreate the holiday we had there 5 years ago!