I need to be honest:I'm still adjusting to U.K holidays. How spoilt does that sound? I know.
I mean, pass me the sourdough and smashed avocado and let me recline here while you dangle grapes for me, why not. I am aware of this. My mind is in conflict with itself. Half of it wants to be honest and accept I don't like them much (= sometimes hate them) and the other half tells the honest sphere to stop being such a spoiled brat. I mean, I have three little kids, all under the age of 7, so what was I expecting? To lie on a soft-sand white beach with a Malibu and coke in hand? Gosh, what a very, very distant memory. My honeymoon springs to mind. Yes, there's a reason they call it the 'honeymoon period.' It doesn't last!
I've been there, done that, had that kind of fun, so you'd think it'd be easier for me to relinquish it. And it wasn't always all it was cracked up to be, anyway. Sometimes it was a bit of a let down. Sometimes I was bored. Sometimes I felt a bit empty and self-indulgent. But oh.. that warm evening sunshine next to the pool at Dad's in Galicia... who could not miss that? And the tapas, cheap as chips – pardon the pun – which was always satisfyingly garlicky and was exotic because you were eating it in the sunshine, with people around you speaking Spanish.
This is an adjustment. I land here and feel like I'm in an alien land. There's nothing about it that resonates with something in my memory bank, because we didn't holiday in the U.K when I was a kid. We did Eurocamp and stayed at a friend's in Spain and did caravans, but they were in France. I remember the ferry journey and the little yellow pouch Eurocamp provided, with the activity books. They were so exciting! I remember the car journey feeling like it was 3 days' long and longing, all the way, for the swimming pool. All I wanted was that swimming pool. It was a little rectangle of heaven for me.
Here, the arcades and the little playgrounds, with the very British entertainment (a DJ speaking too much, overbearing music and bright lights) has nothing comfortingly familiar about it. Maybe that would offset the hideousness, I wonder. Instead, it feels weird to me. English seaside resorts have always made me feel a bit... intimidated. Is that the word? Sad, sometimes. When I see the weathered facades of places, and their faded glory, which once brought in money and tourism and hope. Certainly no longer the case in Rhyl, where we had our first family holiday and I was so, so relieved to come home (but also had a good cry when we got back, realising that had been our family holiday for the year). If I'd done my research better, I'd have known it wouldn't have been quite up my street, I need to improve in... research. I was lured in by the excitement of the caravan and the thought of nostalgia.
I'm not sure what to do with myself here. I've heard there's a mini zoo and a climbing wall. I'm getting into the swing of the little playground and grassy bits, where the kids can run free and have a whale of a time. I'm adjusting to the pirate-themed swimming pool. I must admit, I even had fun whooshing down the slide, next to Grace. Building memories, right?
But I'm going to admit something a little embarrassing. This is for all you readers who sometimes get shocked by your own disappointment, too...
I had a mini-meltdown in the Holiday Park pub. Yes, I did. Hungry, I looked at the menu and scanned it for a reasonable option and could not decide between sausages and mash, a lamb kofta or a vegan option involving beans. All were quite pricey. Then I added in a child's meal and a coke, and suddenly I was £24 lighter and I .... first, bit my husband's head off as I sat down. Second, cried at the table. It was not my finest moment! We had no food at the 'cottage' and the thought of doing an Asda shop was too much to bear...
I say this as kind of encouragement to you if you, too, get those moments. When you think 'how has my life become so unrecognisable and different to what it was?'. If, like me, you sometimes get unreasonably angry at an unsatisfying menu or a bit of soulless decor and a loud D.J. You are not alone, my friend. You are not alone.
My time has improved since arrival. The sun came out on Sunday morning and a power walk helped me to see things in a more cheerful state. It is not all darkness. There are shafts of light, between the trees.