Winter break.

We go on a winter break.

Some time ago, I told the LTLP that I was fed up with not having a holiday. I had found a website that listed all sorts of posh and funky cottages and villas that were nevertheless toddler-friendly. I proceeded to send her away to the computer, and an hour later she returned, having made a booking.

We arrive at Butlins, Skegness.

It appears to be very much the same as the last time we came here, apart from the fact that it is raining harder and it is December. I edge the car towards the bedraggled man in charge of inmates.

“At least the car is all fixed now,” I comment. “It needed a battery to work! Who knew?”

There is no response from the LTLP. She is busy looking at the Toddler to see if he is going to be sick again.

We are directed to our chalet. It is as cold as the storage area of a minor subsidiary of Findus Foods that’s situated on the dark side of one of the few moons of Jupiter which is presided over by Republican congresswomen. I run around switching on heaters and trying to find extra warm layers. I have been a bit disorganised with regards to this trip – at least the LTLP has bought some warm boots.

“Hurrreeeeabbaaarrrrffffffffff,” explodes the Toddler, into the LTLP’s warm boots.

This cheers me up a little. Perhaps the weekend will not be so bad. The front door opens once more behind me.

“Which room shall I put my bags in?” asks my Mother-in-Law.

My spirits sink once more.

We settle down to plan the itinerary for the break. There are all sorts of activities available, including Santa Claus and a Pantomime. I hunch down with a glass of wine, watching the rain alternate with sleet.

“There is a spa here,” the LTLP reminds me. “Why don’t you head off down there now?”

Again, my mood lifts.

I am given a grocery list and sent over to the Spar. Later on, I see an angry-looking woman slip over on some ice. This is terrific entertainment, and something that Butlins should investigate as an extra paid attraction.

The weekend passes quickly, despite my mood. I find that I enjoy hurtling down the water slides, and going on the bumper cars. When we get back, the LTLP discovers that you can catch vomiting disease through your feet.

11 Comments

  1. It is a wonderous life you lead!

  2. OH!
    “Enormous purple cockerel”. I get it now. I think!

  3. A Spar and a Butlins alive and well in close proximity. Is this Skegness or 1962?

    By the way, Jonny, Palin was Governor of Alaska, not a congresswoman, and has long since retired. Also, the good folks of Alaska are friendly and hospitable, to the extent that the warmth of their enthusiastic embrace can become somewhat overpowering. If you must attempt a topical reference or a cheap-shot stereotype, could you at least stick to places you’ve actually been, such as gaols, benefit offices or STD clinics? There’s a good chap…

  4. I see no mention of Child #1 in this sad tale. Have you sold her to pay for the beef?

  5. Sssshhhhh… she IS the beef, really…

  6. Ivan –

    Two small points on the helpful friendliness of Alaskans.

    One, unless you are closely related AND are on each-other’s emergency organ donation list do not ask an Alaskan where the best fishing takes place. You will, without fail, be happily directed to downtown Anchorage where you can stand cheek-by-jowl with the other tourists, up to your waist in glacial mud and in constant danger of being netted by an enthusiastic Floridian accountant.

    Two, if you wish a friendly Kodiak Alaskan to continue to be friendly do not ask it why it came to Kodiak or what its last name is. It’s one of their quaint local customs.

    Also, my Alaskan friends assure me that if they could export Palin to a dark moon of Jupiter they would happily do so. As it is they’re relieved she has finally discovered there is a South to America and are hoping she won’t be handed back any time soon labelled ‘this variety unsuitable for domestication.’

  7. Fishing, Meg? What am I – a bear? No, my quality time in Alaska principally involves quad bikes and a 45-70 lever action.

    The trick is not to *look* like a tourist. Asking people why the hell they moved to Alaska is a dead giveaway there. Like with the French Foreign Legion, the response will be unpleasant or uninformative or both…

  8. You’re always on holiday. What a life!

  9. Ivan, Ivan – you’ll be spotted as a tourist in a moment if you cannot at least talk the fishing talk! For heaven’s sake, when I lived there our local gang was ‘The Pinks’ (type of salmon for the not-in-the-know) who were known for sowing their gang name in fast-growing seed on the grass verges. I have personally witnessed four physical altercations over charcoal/hardwood vs electric smokers (result: draw, contest called due to sudden realization there was still Alaskan Amber to be had inside). I may be closely related to children who were inducted into to the mysteries of reproduction based entirely on the habits of the spawning salmon (result: one dimpled cherub hauling a 20+ lb fish up on the bank and, in front of its rawther fundamentalist grandmother piping in disgust, ‘ew! It SPERMED on me!’)

    Quad bikes are fine in their place, but that place is either hauling large mammalian carcasses around or bush-whacking to a secret fishing hole. I certainly hope that you at least carry a decoy fishing rod with you to sooth the natives.

  10. Thanks for setting me straight, Megan – I suppose the locals must just have been indulging me by not calling me out on my touristyness. I do remember thinking once or twice that one of them was about to say something, but whenever I started loading the 45-70 the conversation always seemed to turn to other topics…

  11. We have one in Minehead. You should try it- bound to be warmer and just on the doorstep of Exmoor.

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