The first night of our holidays is always the worst.
Apparently expecting kids to actually sleep in unfamiliar rooms, in strange beds and with siblings, who usually sleep in different rooms, is completely unreasonable and unrealistic.
The first night of one of our holidays usually involves tantrums, arguments, tears and protests against unfair bedtimes and lack of screen time.
Friday night was no exception. On Friday morning, we headed off on our summer holidays and spent the evening in a very nice hotel in Bruges. We weren’t exactly slumming it, but we had two rooms; and herein lies one of the problems of holidaying with a ‘larger’ family.
When you are a family of 6, it is very rare to be able to find a hotel room that can sleep everyone together. Even interconnecting rooms are quite hard to guarantee. So mostly we end up with 1 room with 2 beds and one with 4, or two bedrooms of 3.
Of course the big question becomes ‘Who is going to sleep with who?’
Someone much cleverer than me must be able to come up with an equation that can answer this question, taking into account who last fell out with who, and how long ago, who shared a room/bed ‘last time’ and what is ‘fair’ .
Btw ‘last time’ appears to be one of those things that kids remember
effortlessly even though your last family holiday was 12 months ago and you can barely remember where you went.
On Friday we decided on a girls’ room and a boys’ room. Simples. The 4 beds came in the form of two doubles, which proved to be only mildly traumatic for everyone and ended up with 3 of us in one bed for part of the night.
Then on Saturday night we had two rooms of 3; a state of affairs requiring negotiation skills and patience far beyond what I could muster after an 8 hour tour of German motorway roadworks.
So it was with great relief that on Sunday, we arrived in Copenhagen for a 4 night stay on a house boat. Here we have 4 bedrooms, so two of the kids have to share, but the other two can have some space. Surely this is a good thing?
But no, apparently not. The two little ones were happy to sleep in a double room as the beds are built into little houses.
This meant the older two could have their own rooms if they wanted. Of course, they didn’t. They have spent the entire time here sharing a double bed and fighting bitterly about who is on whose side.
And tomorrow, we move somewhere else and the whole thing starts again.
Wish me patience. I’m going to need it.
If you find yourself having to remove a dead animal from the road before you can drive off on your holiday, you can probably take it as a bad omen.
In our case it was a young fox, hit by a car in the night. As we drove down our street at 6am, ready to turn off towards the M25, I spotted an ominous shape lying in the tarmac. My heart sank; if it turned out to be someone’s cat and I had to go door knocking, then we would be in danger of missing our Euro tunnel train.
In the end it turned out to be a wild fox, but I had to get out and drag her off the road so she wouldn’t be get squashed.
This was the highlight of the kids’ holiday so far but for Dh and I , the experience was soon forgotten wgen we realised the part of the M25 that was completely closed was a bit we had planned in using.
The subsequent detour took us past Chessington where we were treated to the sight of a couple of clueless council workers trying to catch a stray horse.
Amusing as this was, it didn’t quite make up for the fact we were 10 minutes later for our train and had catch a later one. We got all lined up for the next one but were pulled off at the last minute, along with about 5 other cars, and were put in another one instead.
We’ve used the channel tunnel often enough that the kids now get a bit bored. DH and I used the time go over our route, and I had a much needed quick doze, but the kids went a bit crazy. They put the car stereo on and danced and mucked around with doors, windows and lights.
Stupidly DH and I didn’t pay enough attention to this and of course, when the train stopped and we went to drive off, our battery was quite flat.
The staff were very nice about it and the quick arrival of a branded tow truck was proof that broken down cars were all in a day’s work for them, but we did feel stupid and very sorry for the people in the vehicles behind us.
Once in France, things went smoothly enough and we were soon having lunch at a restaurant/ petrol station in Belgium.
The food wasnt bad but we learnt a couple of valuable lessons there.
1/ You need Euro 50c to use the toilets and will get told off if you try and squeeze a couple of kids together through the turnstyle.
2/Keep an eye in what the kids are looking at in the shops in Belgium. Porn is kept right at kid level, and just to the everyday magazines.
3/ Never miss a cheesy photo opportunity, even if you have explain to your children exactly what is so funny…