Last March I went on a family holiday,
Not with The S.O and kids but with The Original family – Parents, Sister 1 and Sister 2. (The brother was unable to make it which I was fine with as accommodation would have meant sharing a room and this would have been very odd and potentially damaging for his reputation).
My father, a man of the sea, a deep sea diver in his day and general Pirate / Thrill seeker had rented a three bed Luxury Cruiser in Lanzarote in one of the Marinas on the Island. Well we were fucked if we were going to miss out on this little nugget, so the three daughters armed with full permission and promise that the menfolk would hold fort and maintain life source to offspring, booked a SPONTANEOUS holiday. This was huge, especially since I had never been away for this long from the kids and the last spontaneous thing I did was labour.
Ah I could just picture it now; child free, no messy sun cream, five lovely books to read, Spring Summer 2017 fashion opportunities, more selfies than my memory could hold, Zara shopping at a good 15% cheaper, zipping around the Island on the top deck of the Luxury Cruiser, gin in hand, music pumping, sarong blowing in the wind…
I set about wardrobe planning; an entire suitcase to myself, filled with all my best treasures, this would be no ordinary holiday, this would be like being in Ibiza, but with 2 old people. I laid all the fancy summer stuff I own out on the bed, put together the most fabulous of combos that were so darn cool I was making myself jealous. I went and bought a leopard print bikini so I could wave at other boats whizzing by us and then got the call that changed everything…
‘I didn’t actually check any luggage for you’, said Sister 1 (who is much less than 9 but a bit more than 8 years older and a shit load more sensible).
‘Why the fuck not?’
‘Well it’s only six nights and seven days and you don’t need much’, well fuck that I thought as I glanced at the bed and watched all my fabulous outfit combos disappear into thin air.
All was not lost though as Sister2 (who is much less than 7 but a bit more than 6 years older and infinitely less sensible) had sneaked off in the dead of night and booked herself a 20kg.
Excellent I would bribe her to take some of my overflow.
With all my might and all three children and Wilbur sitting on my Carry On, I managed to force as many Combo’s as I could into the bag. I selected a practical yet stylish (except when you need the loo) jumpsuit, Utility Jacket, oversized cashmere scarf and Birks for travel and I was off!
We had booked a small Villa to stay in as we planned to spend all day on the Cruiser and then still have some peace and quiet and relaxation time where we were not all packed into the boat with our faces pressed against each other. The Parents were thrilled that we could come along on their lovely break.
There was only one slightly frightening incident where the Airport security man tried to take my make-up away (Yes I needed Naked Palette 1, 2 and Naked Smokey) and I told the sisters they’d have to go on without me if he wouldn’t let me bring them. But it all worked out as Sister 1 put Naked 1 in her bag and Sister 2 took Naked 2 in her bag and I retained Naked Smokey, phew. The flight was heaven, aside from the constant smell of farts every time someone opened up the packet of a Croque Monsieur from the in-flight service. We all relaxed and awaited our arrival in Lanza where we would be met by good old Dad.
A safe arrival passed and now for the next bit, Dad was of course waiting for us with some strange Royal Blue Twingo like vehicle and I pulled the short straw of sitting in the front for the (Mother of fucking Jesus, we are on the wrong side of the road) journey to the Marina where the Gin Palace and Nana awaited.
Boy it didn’t disappoint. The Marina was beautiful, very private, with a slight smell of wee wee but that’s the sea no? From a distance the boat was stunning and there was Mum waving in the distance. We all ran down the Jetty laughing and frolicking and climbed aboard and…
‘Oh’…we were greeted by a lot of carpet. Rolls and rolls of it.
It seemed everything was carpeted in a cream that had with age become more custardy and blue leather, a lot of blue leather and everything was very ‘LUXURIOUS’ but in a had seen slightly better days way. I was sensing a slight sour milk kind of smell. Poor Mums face said it all. Dad however was not to be swayed and could see none of these things. Yellow is after all his favourite colour so the custardy tones were sheer nectar for the soul.
‘Now this is very important, you cannot put toilet roll down the toilet so I’d advise you if you need to do a dump to go up to the public loo in the marina!’
‘Marvellous, I look forward to that!’
You wouldn’t want to be caught short in the night and try and stumble up the jetty after a glass or two of Tio Pepe and end up off the side of the pier.
The Family holiday had begun!
After we had a good look around the boat and all whispered out of the side of our mouth that thank fuck we had decided to rent the quaint little villa we went off to meet George who would bring us to said villa. He drove in his car and we all wedged into the blue Twingo, followed behind.
We chatted excitedly until we realised we were in the car for bleedin’ ages, had gone through about 24 roundabouts and were on a dirt road near a building site.
We pulled up at the only bit of the development that looked remotely finished and George showed us the Villa. In fairness even poor George looked Morto. We were in fact thrust into Columbia in the middle of a Drug Lords Ghetto.
‘You can sleep on the boat’, Dad said.
‘NO’ we all shouted together.
We were willing to take our chances but George had a solution. There was another villa, ‘Bery Bery Nice, little problem with electric but be ok, you like, come.’
This time George and the Twingo delivered us to a wonderful location and we settled in. Of course I got the shite room, being the youngest, but we were away, we were free, we were bloody knackered.
Next morning Twingo and Dad arrived to transport his three bikini clad girls, all browner than we would be by the end of the week to the Luxury-ish Cruiser. Dad dressed in Brown Bubble shoes, white sport socks and shorter than necessary shorts was not exactly the height of glamour but Captain Birdseye would have to do.
‘Right Skipper’, I said, ‘let’s see what she’s got’.
‘HA’, he laughed ‘Sure the cost of the diesel to get her even to the mouth of the harbour would be about €2k, we don’t move the boat we just sleep on it and sunbathe’.
(With the slight smell of wee wee and the Lanzarote wind trying to remove your face).
What the Fuck???????
We did manage to figure out an exact position to take photos from that made us look like we were out at sea and driving the boat. We could also get sloshed and drive the boat. Win Win.
We settled into Island Life lazing on the beach instead, me beside Dad, who doesn’t like sand and kept the brown bubble shoes on while sitting on the sun lounger. We were quite a pair; Leopard bikini, denim cut offs, Ray bans and Dad in bubble shoes and socks.
‘Anyone want to go for a walk’, Dad suggested every few minutes.
We took it in shifts to head off with him to keep him entertained and to ensure the shoes didn’t melt into the sun lounger like Michael Flatley Feet of Flames.
At night we went out and laughed, ah we laughed so much that all of us at one stage must have wet our pants. What a group we were. We looked like any other family, just really really old. Mum, Dad and the three daughters who still lived at home and never found that special someone!!!
For anyone who has been to Lanzarote you will also know how Jaysus cold it is at night so all style went out the window in the end as we ate our dinner in our coats and scarves. I’ve never seen Sister 1 so smug as when she whipped out a lovely little quilted Down jacket to keep her snug over her white jeans and Halter!
But it could only keep going for a few days until Dad said he had a day trip planned. He played the ‘I’m not going to be around forever card’, and he had us by the girl balls.
So on the morning in question armed with towels, sun cream, bikinis, bottles of water and books, as hopefully the trip would involve somewhere one could sit for five minutes to further encourage all our freckles to join together and that from a distance would make us appear very sallow, we set off all mushed inside the Royal Blue Twingo.
Well mother of God he drove us down the bumpiest feckin’ dirt road as long as the M50.
‘Abort…Abort’, we all shouted.
But he would not listen, apparently what was at the end of this never ending track was worth having all your internal organs dislodged from their homes.
Maybe it was a Zara outlet, so I clung on to the handle of Twingo, closed my eyes and tried to go with the violent shaking until praise Jesus the car stopped in a big dusty car park on a mountain cliff.
‘This place is beautiful’, Dad said.
I opened the car door, was nearly knocked sideways from the wind and ingested a large portion of the carpark. We set off to look at the spectacular view and I have to hand it to the old Man, aside from our eyes burning with the dust flicking in and out at high speeds, our hair nearly blown off our heads and having to hold tight to one another it was bloody beautiful and breath taking.
We took a few pictures and perched Mum at the top of a sharp cliff.
‘Hold Tight Mum it’ll be worth it’.
We managed to get the money shot, you know the one where you go really far away from the Mother and hold your hand up and it looks like she is perched on the palm of your hand. Brilliant, well worth the risk.
We continued on down to the most stunning beach and set up our towels. The beach was full of total weirdos, great people watching and it was bloody hot.
It may actually have been the only sheltered place on the island. Sister 1 took off her quilted jacket and all was well. What a day!
All in all a great holiday.
It must be odd for parents watching their kids grow up and set off and make new families and new memories. I’m sure it’s hard and I’m sure as we sat at the dinner table every night in Lanzarote that Mum and Dad didn’t see three grown women (mothers) looking back at them, but their three little girls; the sensible one, the wild one and the crazy one. I’m sure they looked across and saw three giggling little girls with pigtails just as I looked across and saw my Mum and Dad from back then. Mum glam as can be and so beautiful and Dad in short shorts laughing like a school boy and grinning with that proud look that he gets with a glass of shite wine inside him.
To also spend time with my sisters under the same roof again was so funny and we hadn’t really changed. Watching the funny little habits that we retain from childhood…
On one of the nights we got locked out of the villa but locked inside the complex in our Pj’s, double fail. Middle aged boobies swinging without bras under our Jammies, we had no phones, no water other than the pool and it was freezing out. We would surely perish.
Sister 1 went into hysterical giggles, like snorting laughing.
Sister 2 sprang into action asking us to hoist her up so she could climb in the 2 inch crack in the window. We would have needed to liquidise and pour her to get her inside that window.
Sister 3, well I simply froze, like froze, and didn’t do anything, after all that’s what you have big sisters for! They will fix it.
It was good old George who rescued us in the end after many futile attempts of climbing the wall but if he hadn’t of I’m sure Sister 1 or Sister 2 would have figured something out and saved me.
Just 6 nights and 7 days…to remember where you came from and to remind you what you are returning to.