I CAN’T wait for our summer holidays next year.
I know parents are supposed to look forward to Christmas, but let’s face it, the most wonderful time of the year is that fortnight in the sun when you can have a bottle of wine with lunch because your offspring are in the Kids Club. (AKA, supervised colouring-in.)
I’ve had the campsite picked out since September, 10 months in advance.
I’ve already priced flights and car-hire, emailed a few campsite operators, planned my route from the airport, clicked down into the satellite view of the place on Google Maps to see which mobile home I’d like to book, checked the night-time temperature to see if we need air-conditioning, read over 200 reviews, many of them translated from Dutch, and contacted a few reviewers on TripAdvisor to ask them more specific questions.
(They all reply too. TripAdvisor is basically a reminder that other people are better than me.)
I do this advance holiday planning every year as part of my annual campaign against seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
It’s hard right now, with eight minutes of daylight a day, if the sun even bothers to rise. You’d need something bright and shiny to look forward to.
My wife, a one-thing-at-a-time kind of person, is against it.
She doesn’t have a lawyer because we don’t live in America, but if she did, I’d be at the receiving end of a ‘cease and desist’ order, banning any mention of campsites until the Christmas decorations are back in the attic. So a lot of my work is undercover.
I’m trying to rally the kids against her. Like all children, they are suckers for a waterslide.
Obviously I can’t be seen to show them videos of the waterslides in the place I’d like to go next year because that would be leading the witness.
But if I can get them to ask me to show them where we are going, then all bets are off. And we’re on the couch 10 seconds later looking at promotional videos for the campsite.
These are some of the dodgiest videos in the history of misleading advertising. They come in two parts.
The first is one minute of kids on a waterslide, followed by 30 seconds of someone eating pizza and ice-cream. This is accurate and hooks in the kids.
The second part shows a ridiculously good-looking French couple in their 20s who have clearly never been near a child in their lives.
These are ‘the parents’.
They frolic suggestively in a near-empty pool, eat an amazing lunch, go for a really flat cycle, eat an amazing dinner and then frolic suggestively at the campsite night club.
The message is clear, you will have lots of sex in this campsite, and never once see your kids.
My wife and I laugh our heads off at these works of fictions every year, at which point she goes feck it, let’s book ourselves a holiday. This is where I go quiet.
You see, I don’t really want to book a holiday. For me, the thrill is all in the chase.
If we book this place now, that’s the end of drilling down on Google Maps and emailing Tommy_1978 on TripAdvisor to ask him if he used the air-conditioning much when he was there.
It’s also the start of my buyer’s regret, where I immediately start to feel like I could have done better. This must be what it’s like to be on Tinder.
I’m glad I’m past that stage of my life, and looking forward to summer holidays with my kids.
All I have to do now is put off booking it for a couple of months. And work out three nights a week in case we end up next to the hot French couple in the video.
Seriously, the abs on your man would put me to shame.