For those of you unfamiliar with Peter and Jane ( definitely not the Peter and Jane of our childhood!) then you are really missing out. Gill, the long suffering say at as it is, no holds barred, swear like a sailor is somewhat of a hero of mine. I think that what is most appealing to me-and perhaps her other 340,000+other followers on her facebook page Peter and Jane is that she could be any of us. She says what we all think and probably say to our nearest and dearest. The market is somewhat saturated with ‘honest mum’ blogs but there is something slightly different about Gill, a read of one of her posts at the end of a terrible day can put it all into perspective, make you realise that in fact you are part of a huge and very special world wide club- or at least make you laugh so much that your children think you are deranged and stay away so you can finish your wine in peace..
As I am preparing to go on my own summer holidays later next week this piece, as with so many of Gill’s could have been written about me ( except you need to add in a few more children!) I hope that you enjoy it as much as I have. I bit of warning, there is some **adult** language. I assure you that it is not in the slightest bit gratuitous and very much necessary!
Mummy and Daddy and their darling children are finally off on holiday! What fun and larks they will have, frolicking in the Corfu sun!
At the airport, Daddy immediately becomes Very Busy And Important. Only Daddy can be in charge of the Important Things, like passports and boarding cards, because he has a special pocket in his trousers for such things. When checking in for the flight, it is Daddy’s job to hold the passports and nothing else, because he is doing Checking In. It is Mummy’s job to hold every other bastarding thing and also to attempt to exert some form of control over her precious moppets, who are crazed with excitement about going on holiday, and also mildly delirious from lack of sleep due to having to get up at 3am to go to the airport.
Once upon a time, Mummy had the really, really good idea of buying the children those accursed travel items known as Trunkis. You know the ones- those very useful looking, incredibly clever little wheely suitcases for children, that are just the right size for hand luggage , and also for them to tow along themselves, AND that conveniently double as a ride on seat for the cherubs, so that you can pull them along if they are tired, say, or if you are hurrying for your flight. How clever Mummy felt, for how convenient and handy the Trunkis would be! Sadly, it turned out that Trunkis are the invention of Beelzebub himself, and are the very opposite of convenient or handy, as the children like to sit on them and race around like demons, smashing into the ankles of anyone foolish enough to get in their way, before Mummy forbids riding on them, and so instead the children attempt to tow them along, scattering innocent pensioners in their wake. Mummy hates the fucking Trunkis now, but the children adore them, and refuse to travel without them. Mummy suspects that it is not coincidence that the little handles on the front for the poppets to hold onto when riding them look like the horns of the devil, especially on the ‘fire engine’ Trunki.
Once the children have smacked into and alienated everyone else on the flight, while Mummy attempts to contain them and Daddy does Checking In, it is time for security. Daddy does not like security, as security involves queues, and queues involve People and Daddy does not care for People. Mummy once suggested that perhaps they should pay for the Priority Security lane, but Daddy reacted with horror to such profligacy. Mummy also suspects that a slightly masochistic part of Daddy quite enjoys standing in the queue, sighing loudly, and judging his fellow travellers.
After security is when the fun really starts. At the Duty Free shop, Mummy demands her boarding pass. Daddy twitches. Mummy is thirty nine years old, and has successfully travelled the world, both alone and with only a toddler for company; she has kept the children alive for many years, and to all intents and purposes is a grown up and competent member of society, but Daddy is not sure she can be trusted with her own boarding card.
“Why do you need your boarding card?” stalls Daddy “What do you want from the shop?”
“Gin,” snarls Mummy “Lots and lots of fucking gin. Now give me the card.”
Daddy considers. He is going on holiday with his beloved wife and beautiful children. He gives Mummy the boarding card and says “Get lots.”
Now Daddy must find the gate. Only a Manly Man can find the gate. His gate finding can in no way be encumbered by such petty trivialities as taking responsibility for either of his children or helping Mummy with the eleventy billion bags she is now juggling, having confiscated the fucking Trunkis from the rampaging hell fiends in a fit of rage.
Daddy strides ahead, and Mummy scurries behind, two Trunkis slung around her neck, a moppet clutched in a vice like grip in each hand, her own hand luggage over one shoulder and the duty free gin (that is not actually duty free) clanking in the hand that is clinging to the less recalcitrant of her darling offspring. This is still not as bad as the time Daddy got cheap Aer Lingus flights to Florida that involved changing planes in Dublin and he walked off in pursuit of the gate and left Mummy dragging the Girl Child with the Boy Child in a buggy, and marched up a flight of stairs leaving Mummy at the bottom, weeping in gratitude at the NICE MAN who actually stopped and HELPED her carry the buggy up. This was several years ago, and Mummy has not yet forgotten nor forgiven him.
The flight finally boarded, OBVIOUSLY there are three seats in one row, and one seat across the aisle. The children, who usually don’t give a shit about Mummy, immediately insist they MUST sit next to her, while Daddy sits in solitary splendour across the aisle and smirks. Mummy tries to stop the children kicking the seats in front, while they elbow her repeatedly in the ribs and ask to go to the toilet and wonders if it would be wrong to make the nice lady with the trolley give her all the tiny gins, even though it is only 6am?
Upon arrival in Corfu, after a baggage claim from hell where Daddy was VERY HOT and shouted at Mummy to STAND ASIDE because only he can possibly identify the suitcases, the drive to the holiday house involves Daddy swearing a lot at the Greek people driving on the wrong side of the road. Mummy gently points out that it is actually Daddy who is driving on the wrong side of the road and Daddy tells Mummy to fuck off. Mummy tells Daddy she is not speaking to him now, because he is a bastard, while from the back of the hire car the children shriek “LOOK, WHAT IS THAT SHOP SELLING? ARE WE NEARLY THERE? HOW MUCH LONGER? OOOOOH, LOOK, WHY IS THAT HOUSE PINK? WILL OUR HOLIDAY HOUSE BE PINK? WHAT’S THAT? ARE WE NEARLY THERE?” and Daddy bellows that they must shut up, because HE IS DOING FOREIGN DRIVING, and Google Maps intones “Make a U-turn when possible.”
Mummy and Daddy and the precious moppets arrive at the holiday villa. Daddy is exhausted by all his important checking in and gate finding and suitcase locating and half an hour of foreign driving. Mummy mentions she is quite tired too, after hustling his moppets round airports and Trunki wrangling and the three and a half hours of being kicked and breaking up fights on the plane while Daddy snored peacefully across the aisle. Daddy looks surprised. “But I did all the work today! You should be nice and relaxed!” he says.
Later, the duty free shop gin seems to be going down at an alarming rate. Perhaps it is evaporating in the heat? Mummy mumbles “Isn’t the sunset lovely?”
Daddy looks hopeful “Is it making you feel romantic, darling?” he hints.
Mummy laughs sardonically at Daddy’s eternal optimism and demands another gin. She does feel quite relaxed now actually. Or does she mean pissed?