I’m going on holiday. Two weeks away, first staying with the grandsons and their mum and dad, then a week with just hubby and me. It’s only our second holiday away without children. The first one was in lockdown, and it was cancelled.
I need to pack.
I hate packing. I never know how much to take. Clean underwear for two weeks – clothes for summer, clothes for winter – it is Scotland after all. Clothes for going out, clothes for staying in. Shoes, trainers, sandals, snow boots? I am trying to conjure a mental list of where we might go and what we might do.
The problem with going on holiday is that you have to save all the clothes you actually wear so that they’re ready to take with you. As the ironing pile grows with items to go, I am left rummaging in the back of the draws for things to wear today. Sometimes a long-forgotten surprise appears – a butter yellow dress with tiny white flowers which even my husband, who would barely notice if I shave my head, says is lovely. Mostly it’s just clothes that no longer fit, or are the wrong season – polo neck and wool trousers in a heat wave?
I look like a demented scarecrow, snarling into a pile of ironing. While I may look fabulous once I get there, for now, too-tight jeans and a washed-out t-shirt with a dodgy stain will have to do. Does anyone else do this?
It’s a relief that I no longer have kids to get ready for holidays. One son only wore the same three pairs of jeans and t-shirts in strict rotation. Trying to peel them off his hot little body was a trial every day. Trying to sneak them into a suitcase while convincing him to wear something else was a bloody nightmare. And every time I’d sorted everyone’s clothes into piles, one of the buggers would raid the pile with a cry of
‘Chill out mum, I just needed it for tonight.’
The best packing ever was the time we forgot we were going on holiday.
In my defence, I had too many bloody kids, a job, an allotment and not enough hours in the day. I knew we were going on holiday, I just forgot when. My plan had been to come home Friday after work, have a very large G & T and then rally the troops to make a start in time for leaving early Sunday morning.
Luckily before my second Gin, I checked the holiday paperwork only to see that the holiday, at some swanky lodges with a giant swimming pool and bike rides in the woods, started at 3 pm. Friday 3 pm. The 3 pm when I was finishing work and dreaming of the G & T. After a little hysterical crying, the kids were called from various screens and each given a bag and a rapidly scribbled list, with instructions to go pack.
Trusting packing to kids under 14s is a risk. Yes one of them wore a tutu and football shorts all week. And yes one of them forgot to pack pants. But we were all in the van within the hour, including bikes and books and mummy’s not-so-little bottle of gin, so sacrifices had to be made.
I wonder now, as I’m sat in my pants and vest, all my clothes neatly packed in the suitcase, if the whole last-minute thing might have its merits. After all, it’s only Tuesday, we’re not going ‘till Sunday and I’ve literally nothing to wear.