Holidays? Bah humbug!
The first time I went on holiday with a baby, I realised it wasn’t going to be a holiday at all. I wouldn’t be able to drift back from the beach, dazed from the sun, for a shower and a gin and tonic. There was now a mouth to be fed, a bum to be wiped, and an indefinite period of back-patting and lullaby-singing to go through before reaching the G & T. In fact, I had to do all the things I usually had to do at home, but under more difficult circumstances, improvising in the absence of the usual amenities. What’s more, I had had to make a supreme organisational and logistical effort to put myself in this situation. Madness!
So instead of going away and making life difficult for yourself, why not stay at home and make it easier for yourself?
For a start, there’s no need to pack. You are freed from the stress of knowing that you have forgotten something. And you will have forgotten something; it’s the law. You will realise that you forgot to pack another pair of shoes when your sandals break and you have to team your floaty dress with muddy walking boots. When I realised I had failed to pack for September heat, there was no alternative but to wear a pair of Mr Verity’s snazzier underpants as a shorts.
What’s more, every morning you will wake up and be able to put on the most suitable clothes, no matter the occasion and what the weather is doing. And you will have the wherewithal to iron them if they are slightly crumpled. If they’d been in your suitcase, they’d all be looking like failed attempts at cheesecloth.
You are freed from the anxiety of missing your train, boat or plane, and from the tedium of the long wait when you get there on time, only to find cancellations, delays and plagues of Icelandic ash/absent drivers/whirling snowflakes.
You are freed from the explosive levels of acrimony that arise in a household in the 24 hours before a departure on holiday as accusations and recriminations fly around about missing print-outs, holey swimwear, inadequate luggage and lotions past their sell-by date. (It’s my belief that there would be far fewer break-ups if people simply didn’t go away on holiday.)
Then, with the money you have saved on fares and accommodation, you can hire staff for a week or two, so you don’t have to lift a finger. Now you can finally start doing all the things you love doing, but never find enough time for: going to the cinema or theatre, boating in the park, seeing exhibitions, meeting up with friends, walking in the countryside, or just daydreaming on a mossy bank. And when you get home, your house will be clean (yes, even the oven!), your clothes will be laundered (some of it might even be starched!), and a delicious meal that you have had absolutely no hand in shopping for or preparing will be on the table. Bliss!
I am sad to report that I’ve never yet managed to interest anyone else in my family in this type of holiday. Yet I’m prepared to bet you’d return to work far more refreshed from my ‘Staycation Plus™’ than from an ordinary holiday.