In a few days, I will be on a plane, sipping cheap champagne costing a small fortune. No, I won’t be celebrating the beginning of the holiday, but the ending of the weeks of preparation I’ve had to put into it.
Seriously, it’s not fun to be me when you’re talking about a holiday.
First there’s finding the holiday. There’s the easy way, of just looking at a brochure and booking something that looks nice, like normal folk. Then there’s my way. The way of pain, the way of stringing it out, feeling the frustration of spending entire evenings researching suitable places, and meticulously reading reviews.
Then there’s the pre-holiday getting in shape rush. Really, I’m an intelligent woman. Why does it never click, that within the space of eight weeks I am not going to get the killer abs and shapely bottom I’ve never had?
And while I’m talking about appearance, let me also add, I have no idea why I’m always so obsessed with looking perfectly “maintained”. I go away to relax, to totally abuse my body with food and alcohol and sand and sun. Why is it so important for my nails to be manicured, the soles of my feet to be smooth and my hair to be freshly cut?
Just a week before the holiday, panic sets in. Shock horror, the house-sitters are arriving. I scurry around cleaning corners of the house that only get cleaned when we go on holiday. The fridge has to be sanitised, the oven has to sparkle and any sign of cobwebs obliterated. And I wash the sheets for the sitters bed because sheets folded in the cupboard can never be as fresh as I like them. They have to be washed and ironed, to regain that lovely crisp feeling. The freezer, cupboards and fridge are stocked up accordingly, you know, just in case a war breaks out while we are away and if I have time, I polish any streaks off the windows.
Then there’s the packing of our “bits”. For weeks, I’ll think of lists; clearing the camera of old photos and charging it, phone chargers, mosquito repellants, first aid kit, antiseptic wipes, sting relief sticks, hats, toys and books and DVD’s for Trainboy.
The three nights before the holiday are always laced with fragile nerves and inexplicable anxiety. Even when the cases are packed, I’ve ticked all my lists and go to bed, I worry about what I’ve forgotten, is there enough milk for the sitters and have I enough Euros? I get up and out of bed, repeatedly checking that the passports and tickets are in my bag (at least ten times the night before and several times before we set off) and I nearly always see the mocking grins on the sitters faces when I remind them how to set the security system if they’re out.
I mean, seriously, sometimes I think staying home for a holiday sounds so much more relaxing. Just pottering around the house and garden. Not worrying about going without something important. Sleeping in my own bed. Wearing what I want to wear, rather than what I’ve packed and not having people have to stay to watch the house and tend to the garden.
Of course, a couple of glasses of champers on the plane and all the purgatory will disappear instantly.