En Vacances

We got back from holiday last week and as with all holidays it feels like forever ago.  Now, I don’t know about you, but when I try to speak a different language I take on some weird accent.  When I try and speak French my accent has a cockney twang.  Basically I speak Del Boy French, mange tout mange tout, bonnet da douche and so on.  You know what though?  At least I try, it doesn’t matter if I am not understood I have given it a good shot and as I tell the kids all you can do is try your best.  Two days into the holiday and I got an eye infection argh, no contact lenses therefore no shades therefore lots of wrinkle inducing squinting humph!  Armed with some French medical phrases looked up on t’internet off I went to the Pharmacy.  I needn’t have bothered, the pharmacist thought I was talking English and we ended up doing very many hand gestures before she produced some eye drops.  Well, they were either eye, nose or ear drops, not entirely sure which.  Either way they worked.

We spent time on the beach, in the pool, on the water slides and in the soft play.  Yes, that’s right in the softplay.  Those of you who know me know I am not a fan of soft play I would rather stick pins in my eyes whilst watching Mr Tumble.  This soft play was different, the French know how to do a soft play, there was a bar.  There was a bar that sold ice cold beer in fancy pants glasses.  The weather wasn’t amazing but we are British so we are used to the rain, I kept telling the kids their skin was waterproof and a little rain never hurt anyone, apart from when I nearly went arse over tit outside the shop on the wet tiled floor.

The one thing that really tickled me this holiday was one British family.  The Dad was one of those that took photos upon photos and with every photo he shouted at his kids ‘Say FROMAGE!’.  Right, I get being in a different country and using the language, in my case badly, but to take a photo you want people to smile.  So just try this whilst you read, say cheese………….your mouth is forced into a plastic fake smile (think Wallace and Gromit) but at least it is close to a smile.  Now say Fromage……….you end up looking like you are catching flies, mouth wide open and several double chins.  Their holiday pics are going to be hilarious.

Our journey back from holiday was looooooooong. In short we were up at 0430hrs and got home at 2030hrs.  Before we had even left the campsite I had set off the fire alarm after having a shower with water that was near boiling.  The kids were out of bed like a bullet and it probably woke our neighbours up, I didn’t really care about the neighbours given Mrs Shouty next door had no volume control, right back at ya Mrs!  The first few hours of the journey were done in darkness, sadly not silence.  As Miss Sassy was educating Wee Man about the dark or as she charmingly called it the Chasm of Death!  According to Miss Sassy in the dark everything looks bigger, everything looks enormous, almost giant like, right, that’s it, with my thighs it’s sex with the lights on from now on!

There’s that saying isn’t there, if Carlsberg did, well if Carlsberg did ferries they would have done the Brittany ferry we travelled home on.  There was soft play, a pantomime, a colouring competition, circus skills, dance offs, games and a cinema.  It was 8 hours of pure joy for the kids.  The ferry was full of parents of young children looking like they needed a bucket of coffee, a sh*t load of patience and another holiday.  The entertainment team did their job well, winding the kids up to near bursting then leaving the parents to get their over tired, over excited lovelies back into the car for the onward journey.  Wee Man was asleep before we hit the M27, and as for Miss Sassy, she was awake, in fact she didn’t give up and sleep until we were home and unpacked, she’s a stubborn one. So that’s our holiday for this year, now to get back to normal, whatever that is?  Back to my lists.  I have a list of house stuff to sort which is my priority, followed by a back to school list and then there’s the garden jobs list.  But my first job today is to replace the light bulbs throughout the house, the brighter the better, no big, enormous, giant anything here.

The Holiday Journey

In our wisdom Braai Boy and I decided that we should book a holiday for the week after we moved. Basically we unpacked our clothes only to repack 7 days later, it’s like we can’t get enough of suitcases and cramming the car full to the brim. The bonus with this trip was we were taking his car and the AC works, despite me forgetting to drive his car whilst he was deployed it started no problem.

Travelling with Braai Boy is very military, it’s all about the planning. Bags are packed just so, timings made, driving route set and contingency plans made. If any of the plan is not adhered to then he’s not a happy bunny. So, there was me rushing about like a woman possessed to achieve the house departure time. We had an early lunch, forced Miss Sassy to do a just in case wee, found and packed their favourite toys and charged all electronic devices, I was a whirlwind of organisation. So much so that we left the house 20mins before Braai Boys ETD. I skipped down the front path to the car high fiving myself singing ‘good job mama’, chuffed to bits we were ahead of schedule.

Off we set in high spirits ready for a much needed holiday. The M25 was a bit sticky but the kids were plugged in so we had a lovely quiet journey, until the A3. On joining the A3 Miss Sassy unplugged (nooooooooo!) and talked at us for the rest of journey, her monologue was only interrupted by a video call (on my phone) to one of the Glitter Girls. Any video call between the Glitter Girls is basically two girls talking at each other, so Miss Sassy pretty much continued her monologue, she barely stopped to breathe. No idea where she gets her chatterbox tendencies from, do you?

Before getting on the ferry we needed to feed the Kids, when asked what they wanted to eat the consensus was the Chicken Shop. Whilst we sat waiting for Braai Boy to return with the food I found a table by the window and was meant to be entertaining the Kids. I didn’t do a great job, Wee Man stood licking the window banging the glass at pigeons and Miss Sassy pointed at passers by commenting on their clothes. Her best comment was ‘that’s not a skirt mama, she’s wearing shorts, they don’t make skirts that short’ oh my darling girl I can’t wait until you’re a scream-ager and your Daddy questions the length of your skirt!

We booked on to the ferry and all was going so smoothly until we got to security. Of course we were stopped, questioned and made to get out of the car. We were then ‘invited’ to walk through the security scanner. Guess who the bloody thing beeped at, yup, me! Confused as to why I was setting off the alarm, the female security officer used her magic wand. Every time it passed over my chest the alarm went off much to the Kids amusement, ‘look mama has beeping boobies’, thanks kids! It’s was the underwire of my bra. With the mystery solved me and my beeping boobies got back in the car ready to get on the over night ferry.

Once we got in the cabin it was the usual faff trying to get the kids to sleep. To save our sanity Braai Boy got us some wine from the bar. The bathroom was too small to sit in and the corridor too narrow to sit in. With the kids thrashing about over excited and over tired we ended up standing between the bunks in the semi dark silently sipping wine, that’s right people, we know how to party. It wasn’t the greatest nights sleep but a bucket of coffee soon sorted us out.

So, you’ll be pleased to hear we made it to the campsite and found the soft play and it has a bar in it, oh my days I think I have a new found love for soft play. Then with the car unloaded and the kids suncreamed up, I got my beeping boobies into my swimmers and we hit the pool. Happy holidays!

The Move Part 3: Execution

That’s us in our new Quarter.  We were ‘homeless’ for a week.  It’s good to be surrounded by our stuff again, albeit mostly in boxes, so now the unpacking begins, it’s time to make this house our home.

So how did we actually get here? The easy bit was the removals, the big yellow truck turned up and packed up our house in less than 48hours. For the family Braai Boy and I decided we would divide and conquer the beast that is The Move. Braai Boy was left the Clean and Fix list, he had to get the Quarter up to March Out standard or we risked being charged, you know for things like more than 4 nail holes in one room. Whilst he mopped, hoovered, holed filled, wheelie bin cleaned, gardened, swept, bleached and generally sweated a lot I took the kids on a road trip. Now, let’s be clear, Northern Ireland is not the arse end of nowhere, it is a 2 hour ferry trip to Scotland, so why it takes a whole week for the Removals to get from there to here is beyond me. I know there is probably some perfectly reasonable logistical reason, but then again maybe not, who knows?

Please do not think that the Army kick us out of one Quarter and expect us to be homeless for a week, we are offered a hotel. Ah, yes a hotel for a few days what total and utter bliss, no washing, no cleaning, no cooking, just total and utter relaxation. Wait a minute, have you met Miss Sassy and Wee Man? Getting the kids to bed and to sleep is a mission, they’re like bloody jack in the boxes with verbal diarrhoea. When they finally give up Braai Boy and I end up sitting on the floor in the bathroom or hotel corridor watching movies on our phones with a glass of wine. This is not ideal for two reasons, first the acoustics in bathrooms aren’t great (no we don’t use headphones as I like to talk through most movies much to the annoyance of Braai Boy) and secondly sitting on the floor in the hotel corridor clutching a glass of wine you do get some odd looks from other guests.

The road trip was great fun, to get from Scotland to the South we broke up the journey by visiting family.  We stopped by my Wee Bro and his family and their lovely pet Lola the Wonderdog.  The Kids and I added the Wonderdog bit, she’s not actually a superhero pet although pretty close given what she puts up with from the Kids.  I haven’t dared tell me Wee Bro that we have been looking for a superhero cape to fit her, nothing too offensive but something to make her standout, you know pink with yellow edging and a great bit L on it.    After a few days of general chaos we headed South to see my Mum on the HOTTEST day on record.  I didn’t think that through did I?  There was also the teeny tiny issue of no AC in my car.  Late one Friday afternoon, a mechanic had reliably told me that to fix the AC would cost more than my car is worth, so I didn’t get it fixed why would I? it was never that hot in Northern Ireland.

Not going to lie it was the longest, noisiest, hottest road trip I’ve ever done.  Made even longer because I went one junction the wrong way on the M1.  I had been distracted by Wee Man talking about Paw Patrol and before I knew it we were heading to Sheffield and not London (I didn’t tell Braai Boy).  We weren’t actually talking more shouting as all the windows were open, I’d like to point out that this was not cooling at all, it was like having a hairdryer blasted in your face, for 7 hours, 7 very hot, noisy, sweaty hours.

As we made the sweaty journey South I had time to reflect on the last 2 years.  I thought about what we were leaving behind, apart from a dirty house, a stressed out Braai Boy and some tea swilling packers.  I’ll miss the people most, I’ll miss the chats in the school playground and Kids clubs, I’ll miss bumping into people in the supermarket and blocking the aisles much to the annoyance of the Home delivery pickers.  I’ll miss the camaraderie of the Deployment Divas, the knowing nods and smiles when the kids are playing up and you look like utter sh*t as you are done solo parenting, because they get you, they know and most importantly they do not judge.  You know what though?  The Army is such a small place that I know we will see some familiar faces in years to come.

Any other thoughts I had were cut short with the usual ‘are we nearly there yet?’, ‘mama I need a weeeeeeeee’, ‘mama shes looking at me, tell her to stop looking at me’, ‘mama the tablets not working’ or ‘mama can I have a snack?’. 

On that note I’d best be off, Miss Sassy wants a snack, Wee Man wants some juice and there’s stuff to put away.  Oh, and there’s also the Contractor to call to get sh*t fixed around the house, that’s a whole different blog right there.