The weekend is upon us folks and sadly the nice spring-like weather has deserted us for a few days with rain forecast on Saturday - oh joy! Never mind - I'm having a few days off over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend and beyond and it's now that my wife begins to plan what I can do with my time - oh joy!
Fortunately, I've never had to decorate during our marriage because my better half is certainly a superb decorator I'm just never around when she's decorating - she's like a bear with a sore head, so decorating isn't a worry. I once told her that she'd done a great job but when I noticed that she had put a piece of wallpaper upside down and gently pointed it out - well needless to say I keep my mouth shut now and keep well out of the way. There'll be handyman jobs in the house and in the garden, the tip to go to and other delightful domestic chores.
I was casting my mind back to childhood holidays which I adored. My earliest memory of a holiday was in a caravan on the East Yorkshire coast near Withernsea somewhere. I took a mate from school and that was fun. Other holidays included a week in Belgium. It was in Ostend by way of a twin prop plane from Luton Airport in an horrendous storm which I enjoyed but apparently my parents didn't. That was in 1966 when England beat West Germany 4 - 2 in the World Cup final and my father didn't have to pay for a drink all week courtesy of grateful Belgians. 'World Cup Willie' was the theme tune to the competition - a tune the local Belgian drinking hall concert pianist didn't know strangely enough.
Many years were spent in Butlin's camps at Skegness in Lincolnshire with free films and plenty of fresh air; Hi-de-hi!. We went to Majorca one year which was my first real taste of hot holidays abroad and that was great, just swimming and sunbathing. I was probably around 16 - my second trip abroad!
There were many years of not having holidays away through lack of cash or general interest in going anywhere. I remember taking the car across the ferry from Harwich to Esbjerg to Denmark for a week in Silkeborg one summer - a flat but beautiful country, sparsely populated. When the kids were small we spent time in Penrith in the most gorgeous countryside of Cumbria in northern England in to-let cottages. We are lucky these days after years of struggle we have some capacity to travel a little and have been to America, Tenerife, Gran Canaria and France My wife managed to get a trip to South Africa with my eldest son and the kids have done European holidays through school.
The video below shows the view from our hotel room on International Drive, Orlando of one of the many almost daily rainstorms with severe thunder and lightening that normally accompanied them. This was the result of the passing tropical storm Ernesto in 2006 which later developed into a category 1 hurricane. Water was pouring off the roofs in torrents and the pools and theme parks closed whenever the afternoon storms appeared.
If I have any ambitions left for holidays, it's to visit Eire where my father went fishing every Whitsuntide for donkey's years, Canada for its scenery, New Zealand for the same thing perhaps and possibly Hong Kong just for the experience.
If I were twenty again, I would like to have experienced the spiritual nature of Vietnam or Thailand, the great railway journey across India or to walk on the Great Wall of China. I can dream and if Mr Camelot obliges, I may still travel with my family to such places.
Mind you, the last flight we took was very cheap. There was no in-flight movie, instead the pilot flew low over a drive-in theatre. The plane was so old, it had Amy Johnson's packing up on the co-pilots seat as well as an outside toilet. I knew it was a disaster when we had a whip-round for fuel over Wigan. I've no idea how we made it to our destination, the plane landed in a kneeling position.
Have a great weekend!