The 7 stages of preparing to holiday in the UK
Every year we go away for a little long weekend break with Haven, this year is our fourth year returning to the same park and always find we do the same few things in our preparations. You would like to think that holidaying in the UK would be less stressful and argument inducing than a foreign holiday but I beg to differ. Here you will find our 7 things that we do every year and will probably continue to do so despite admitting to it here in all it's glory!
1. In our house it is the (self appointed) job of my husband to plan our route and decide on a time to leave, that we will never achieve! So he sits there year on year with his glasses and the iPad attempting to look 'proper'. Once he has sat talking to the iPad saying 'Right, ok' 'OK' he will show me the lovely map on AA route planner, always his preference, and announce our planned stops for wee breaks and the stretching of legs. I might add that these stops are generally the same every year but he doesn't approve of my attitude to life of 'Sod it let's see how we get on'. I am more than happy to wing it and take it easy, he on the other hand likes to have a plan and then be upset when we run late on his agenda. The funniest thing is, we always pay a little extra to upgrade our caravan and take advantage of the early check in, we just never arrive on time to make use of it!
2. Next on the agenda is packing the suitcases, which should be as simple to start as taking your bags or cases out of the cupboard and open them to pack. Except for the fact that to utilise your storage all year, you have filled the suitcases with random crap so that it all takes up less room in the cupboard. So what the real job entails is taking the cases out of said cupboard and stuffing all the crap from them, back into the cupboard!
3. Choosing clothes to take on a holiday in the UK brings it's own struggles, as is typical of Britain, the weather is so unreliable and of course us Mums like to take a whole load of stuff with us, just in case! Checking the weather forecast and seeing that there is at least one day where there is sun and little chance of rain means you must pack shorts and t-shirts, hats and other garments that you may wear on a caribbean island. But you must also take a jumper, in case it gets chilly, and a coat, in case it rains and spares of both in case something happens to them. Spare pants for the kids and far too many socks. If like us, you have more than one child, this amounts to ten ton of extra bits on a just in case basis.
4. With staying in a caravan, we always do our best to be a bit organised and pack some bits from home, which usually consists of some tinned food, toilet rolls, towels, squash, some dried foods and some washing up liquid. This is all well and good until we unpack in the caravan to find out that we didn't think to pack either a sponge, or a tea towel. So we still have to make our way down to the shop on site which is more expensive than harrods, yet still a spar, to purchase all of the items we have forgotten! Here's hoping that writing this now will remind me to pack a sponge when I am packing this year!
5. The funniest one that we do repeatedly, is save up all of our 2ps for the most part of the year for the kids to use in the arcades, count them into little bags and then realise half way down the m1 that we have left them on the table at home! We do this every ruddy year. Que grumpy 10 year old who was looking forward to pumping a tenner into the 2p machines guilt free..
6. Packing the car - now this again is another job that absolutely HAS to be carried out by my husband, under no circumstances am I to place a bag or any other object into the car during the allocated car packing time. My job is to make bags available for his removal from the house and he remains responsible for packing the car. I am not even allowed to supervise or offer any guidance or advice - that is forbidden. Inevitably, every time he packs the car and there are essential items that absolutely cannot be forgotten, they will be right at the back of the boot so he has to pull all the bags out to check he has the essential items. Such items include but are not limited to - faded beat up little grey (once was cream) monkey that the toddler has had from birth and cannot sleep without, charger for the eldest's tablet (clearly a life changing thing to forget!) and swimming nappies for the toddler, because that is a scenario where it is never great to wing it!
7. Lastly and probably most stress inducing is the verbal checklist between husband and wife when on way to the car, which usually provokes enough doubt in his mind as to what he has packed into the car that he has to go in the boot and rifle through the bags or worse still, pull it all out and check. Our normal checklist usually includes the following -
- have you packed towels?
- do we have washing up liquid?
- did you remember the toilet roll?
- did you put the pushchair in the car?
and ends with "If we have forgotten anything I'm not going back for it now so we will have to do without"
I guess it is a good job we have a 4 hour drive (probably 5 and a half with stops!) ahead of us as that is just enough time to get over the stress of getting ready to leave in time to enjoy our holiday!
Wish me luck, all this fun starts this week!