Exploring Family PR Collaboration

Holidays and Heatwaves

23/04/2015

Last Thursday morning, after much much refreshing of the emails, the website and keeping half an eye out of the kitchen window for the postlady we got the news that we had been expecting. Kitty has a place at our village school. It wasn’t as nerve racking a wait as for some, we knew that if she didn’t get a place someone had to be hiding 30 preschoolers in a basement somewhere between us and the school and thankfully that turned out not to be the case.  But it did drive it home how little pre-schooler time we have left.  We’re already in the summer term here, it ends on 17th July and from then on we’re the parents of schoolchildren until 2032 at the earliest. Yes, you read that right, 2032. Eighteen years in which we can only go on holiday in the school holidays.

It made me wonder whether we ought to have planned some wonderful around the world adventure while we can still take advantage of cheap holidays, there seems to be some sort of accepted wisdom that once your children are in school you can only go away if you also happen to be a multimillionaire lottery winner. I don’t doubt that there are some places where the end of July sees a massive price hike, but if we’re going to load up all three children and their accoutrements to go on one of our dream trips I want them to be old enough to remember where we went.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

And I know from experience that it isn’t impossible.  My Father was a teacher for his entire professional life, he was tied to school holidays before I started primary school and long after I left for university, and yet he and Mum made it work, and we had some amazing adventures.  The summer I was seven they planned out a trip to Greece, to go sailing around the islands and to meet up with the parents of a pupil who had become family friends.  My little sister was four, dainty, cute, and very very blonde. Which turned out to be a huge advantage, because what you may not remember about the summer of 1987 was that there was a huge heatwave in Southern Europe.  Just about everywhere in Greece reached temperatures of 45C or more, and the islands were no different.  So there we were, Mum and Dad, my little sister and me, on a four berth yacht named Illustrious whose awning was an old tablecloth and whose ‘fridge’ as I remember ran off a large block of ice.

Every port we were in my Mum and sister headed off to buy ice with the latter smiling winsomely at the shopkeepers.  Little blonde girls must have been a bit of a rarity because she was generally adored and admired everywhere we went, and we did manage to buy the ice we needed.

Now that I’m only a few years younger than they were when we went I can see how much planning, organising and hoping must have gone into it, and some bits I can look back on with a wry smile; the matching bright turquoise outfits for the two of us to make sure we were instantly spotable for example, or the decisions they had to make the day when it was so hot in port that we set sail, Mum helming us out with her feet in a bucket of water to try to keep cool.

So often I think your childhood memories can be influences by photos, sometimes you’re not sure whether you remember the event or just the photo but I know I really remember Greece, and I’m glad we went when I was old enough that I could.  There are things in my memories that aren’t in any photos; the feeling of the heat, the taste of watermelon in sunshine, watching the little silver fish who would swarm around the melon if you threw it in the sea,  eating cake on the last morning as we sailed back because that’s all that was left, and huge meals of meatballs eaten at the outside tables of little cafes, the four of us and the five of our friends on one huge table with a red checked paper tablecloth, drawing pictures and playing games on the cloth to pass the time while we waited for the food.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

And I suspect it cemented my idea of a good holiday: boat, sunshine, book – sorted.

We’ve taken the girls on holiday, Kitty to Venice and both of them to Southern Spain and I know they both had a wonderful time when they were there, but Kitty has already forgotten Italy and they’d be doing well to remember Spain when they’re grown up.  So for now we shall make our plans for adventures slightly closer to home and one day, school holidays or no school holidays we shall take them all on the kind of adventure that they really remember. Preferably without the heatwave.

 Thanks to First Choice for the inspiration

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  • barnraised (Jen) 23/04/2015 at 7:51 am

    Just recently the topic came up of a wonderful visit to Mexico City and my daughter honestly couldn’t remember it. She is 8 and this was only 2 years ago…so she was 6. It seemed unforgettable to me. But completely gone from her. Thought of that recent conversation when I read your post. Interesting, isn’t it?

    • Carie 24/04/2015 at 10:53 pm

      It really is – Kitty was only 7 months when we went to Venice so I’m not surprised it’s gone, but she does remember Spain which was almost two years ago now – perhaps she’ll remember until the next big adventure!

  • preeta samarasan 23/04/2015 at 7:54 am

    Oh but the 80s *were* kind to you! You and your sister were both completely adorable.

    My older daughter seems to have a ridiculously good memory, and can remember some of the many trips we have gone on since she was tiny (we have grandparents abroad, so we have no choice but to travel), but like you, we are waiting until the children are a bit older to plan proper family holidays.

    • Carie 24/04/2015 at 10:52 pm

      thank you – you’re very kind! I was in the stage of growing out my pixie cut that had followed a bowl cut and goodness me it took a long time!

  • sally 23/04/2015 at 9:00 am

    That holiday must have been amazing. My parents were both teachers so we always had school holiday holidays, and I have many wonderful memories of those – going off caravanning around France for 5 weeks. But I think it has got a lot harder since those days, especially if you have a husband allergic to a cheap caravan option! I’m sure the price difference between in and out of school hols has hiked drastically, even very recently since the clamp down on school time hols. And obviously having 4 children (rather than the 2 my parents had) doesn’t help. But we’re so lucky where we live, and I’m so lucky to be at home with them, that I feel it’s easy to give them amazing holidays right here. One day we might actually go away for a different kind of holiday, but not looking possible in the near future. I think the other big thing with approaching school time is making the most of being able to be spontaneous on weekdays and just go off for an adventure when the sun is shining.

    • Carie 24/04/2015 at 10:51 pm

      I think that’s a really good point and hopefully something we can try to take advantage of in our last pre-school term. It wouldn’t surprise me if there has been a price hike in recent years and even with only three children it’s going to be expensive to plan a big expedition unless we get creative – though my husband is also caravan-allergic so I’ll have to do some serious thinking!

  • Jemma 23/04/2015 at 8:16 pm

    That holiday sounds amazing! I am so looking forward to and hoping to do things like this with our little ones when they’re older! As a teacher myself, I am already planning a 6 week European adventure when they are older!! Xx

    • Carie 24/04/2015 at 10:48 pm

      Oh that sounds like it’s going to be incredible – what an adventure for all of you!

  • LauraCYMFT 23/04/2015 at 9:15 pm

    Some lovely memories there. I’m going to graduate as a nursery teacher soon which will mean school holidays for us too! Mind you, I haven’t taken them out of school before but this year we are by one week before end of term in October. I feel pretty naughty but it’s for my birthday LOL! But sometimes the best memories are made close to home.

    • Carie 24/04/2015 at 10:47 pm

      Oh that’s wonderful – I knew you were studying for something but I’d forgotten what!! Hopefully the nice long holidays will make up for the lack of flexibility!

  • Kim 23/04/2015 at 9:46 pm

    Those are some lovely memories you have there. As homeschoolers we can travel whenever we like, one of the bonuses of homeschooling, and we do take advantage of it all the time. Hitting the camp ground while school is still in, traveling south before spring break, and so on. I do have plans of traveling more with my little man once he hits about 10, I feel like that is a good age to not only really sink into a grand adventure, but also in which to remember it.

    • Carie 24/04/2015 at 10:45 pm

      That’s definitely a serious plus to homeschooling and you’ll be able to go on an amazing really in depth adventure when the time is right. I think you’re right about 10 being a good age – I was seven for Greece but 9 or 10 when we went on a big adventure to Canada and I remember lots and lots about that trip

  • Claire @ Clarina's Contemplations 23/04/2015 at 11:38 pm

    Awww… Don’t you just love reminiscing? It looks like a wonderful adventure! And I totally know what you mean about muddling memories with photographs… I was just thinking how much harder that will be for our children – we who have photographs of them doing EVERYTHING!!

    • Carie 24/04/2015 at 10:37 pm

      That’s so true – there are a few things that don’t make it to the blog, and as their stories part from mine, that part of their lives (e.g. school) won’t feature because it isn’t my story to tell so perhaps the photos will fill in where it was too early for memory to record long term and then at the age of memories there will be fewer photos – it will be interesting to look back in 10 years and see won’t it!

  • sustainablemum 24/04/2015 at 9:25 pm

    That sounds like an amazing holiday. Like Kim we are not bound by school holidays either for the same reason. However I can’t say I have any desire to go jetting off anywhere at the moment. I love the holidays we take in the UK and can see those being a theme for many years to come. Like Kim I would like to go on a big adventure with them at some point but not for a few years yet.

    • Carie 24/04/2015 at 10:28 pm

      It’s lovely that you’re not bound by holidays – lucky you and lucky Kim! And I agree there are so many wonderful places to explore in the UK it’s more than enough to fulfil all adventuring needs for a while to come. I’ve been really lucky to take some amazing trips abroad too though and that is something that I want to share with the children so a big adventure is on the cards one day – just not now!!