Motherhood hasn’t come naturally to Daisy Leverington. Four-and-a-half years in and she remains wide-eyed, terrified and in awe of the little person she’s responsible for. This week she reports back from a frostbitten family holiday.
A three-hour car journey, a child whose favourite hobby is counting slowly to a thousand, the coldest March on record, and a five-day British seaside caravan holiday. Welcome to Our Holiday 2016.
Don’t worry, we all survived, and in a few years we may even laugh about it. For now I just need to write about it and hope that helps. Over the next 600 or so words, you guys are my therapists.
Booked in December and egged on by mulled wine, March sounded much warmer than it turned out to be. Now our kid is in school, we can’t go anywhere in the holidays without a 300 per cent price rise, so we saw a cheap caravan offer and thought we’d hit the jackpot.
Our daughter had been asking ‘how many sleeps’ for three months, and whatever we replied she would say, “Oh, so it’s next week then?” Her grasp of time is shaky at best, usually working on a scale of ‘how many episodes of Tintin is it?’ until someone (usually me) cries.
Then at last it was time to go.
I worked until midnight the day before, and as it was Bank Holiday weekend there were no shops open to buy provisions for the caravan; we arrived with a bag of dried spaghetti and some spring onions. A round of chips later and we were ready for some holiday fun.
“She spent many hours playing hide-and-seek in the caravan. Despite there being only four hiding places, she was still rubbish at finding us, particularly when I nipped out to buy bread.”
Our daughter hadn’t slept well the night before, so she ranged between racing around the bar area of the on-site family club and crying helplessly in between songs on the dance floor. She was like me at university.
I entered a parent dance competition, much to the horror of my husband, and lost. We still haven’t spoken about it.
Our daughter finally fell asleep dancing to Agadoo so we headed back for our first night in the caravan, also known as The Coldest Night Anyone Has Ever Lived Through.
My husband had had quite enough by 2am and ventured out to find somewhere which sold hot water bottles. He whispered, “I may be some time” as he left, leaving me to crack on with the bottle of rum I’d brought with me. He came back empty handed, cursing Bank Holiday opening hours while our daughter slept soundly under ALL of the blankets at our disposal. We slept on the 14-inch-wide sofa that night. The bedroom was just too cold.
Day eventually came, and giddy with survival and the prospect that temperatures might get to a heady four degrees above freezing, we headed out to play on the beach.
It was apparently too cold for the donkeys, so we threw handfuls of pound coins at animal-shaped rides instead, while our oblivious and unshakably warm child ran around in shorts and her winter coat. She loved it.
Corned beef legs and sand everywhere, she didn’t care or even know that other people go to warm places and relax on holiday. This was magic to her, and I’m very thankful she’s too small to realise I would rather have been in the Caribbean.
She doesn’t need to know this is all we can afford at the moment, or how hard we saved for it. We did it, and that’s really all that matters. Our little girl is full of stories and can’t wait to tell her school friends about the trip, so that makes it worth the frostbite.
Our daughter decided to recreate the classic scene from Father Ted, spending many hours playing hide-and-seek in the caravan. Despite there being only four hiding places, she was still rubbish at finding us, particularly when I nipped out to buy bread.
Five days and nine grabber-machine victories later (seriously, I have a gift/problem) we packed the car for our journey home. We hadn’t even buckled her into the car seat when she asked how many sleeps until the next holiday, so I’m guessing the week was a winner with her.
Finally, as we were doing our idiot-check of the caravan we found a lovely big pull-out sofa bed underneath the hard sofa cushion we had been sleeping on all week. My husband used swearwords I’d never heard before, and I glumly nodded in agreement.
And so, our holiday of 2016 finished as it had begun: we were exhausted, mildly incredulous and had a small child in the back seat counting slowly to a thousand. Same time next year?3426 Views
Daisy Leverington - Actor, mother, expert at winging it.