THE NEED FOR A BREAK

Have I mentioned that I haven’t been on holiday for ages? It’s been eight months. Way too long! Because of the way I run my life, I spend almost all my time at home. This is my choice ( most of the time ) and I try not to complain. Don’t laugh – I do try. But because of my role within the home, in order for me to get a break we have to leave otherwise I just spend my time doing all the stuff I usually do. And more if they are all here. So I like to get away.

However, if you read last week’s posting you will know that the sun generally has to factor somewhere in my plans. A holiday with no sun is not really a holiday for me. The prospect of being stuck in a cottage somewhere in the rain fills me with horror. Occupying four children of various ages can be challenging enough but trying to do so in the middle of nowhere in poor weather is both unappealing and incredibly expensive.

Many of my friends head off each year to Boden by Sea in Cornwall or Northumbria. I’m not sure what they do but it seems to involve the beach and wind breaks. And flasks. As far as I am concerned, beaches are best either in winter with big hats and plenty of hot chocolate shortly afterwards or when the temperature in the shade is about 26 Celsius. Anything in between and I’d rather be somewhere else. I know that holidays aren’t all about my needs but to be honest the children will play happily just about anywhere so I see no point in getting sand in my knickers unnecessarily.

The exception to my stringent holiday requirement for warm sunshine has been Centreparcs. Many people of my aquaintance turn their noses up at Centreparcs – posh Butlins. Indeed it may be but we have been around half a dozen times and have always had a fantastic time, generally assisted by unseasonably warm weather. Until now we have always been in the first week of June which is a school holiday for our primary school but not for many other people giving it the double benefit of being both quiet and cheap. However, unhelpfully the grammar school doesn’t have two weeks holiday at Spring Bank so we would have to go in the half term week with everyone else or not at all.

Uncoordinated school holidays are not our only hurdle this year. Whilst my eldest’s ear is on the way to recovery, she has a fair way to go and swimming is still forbidden. For us, swimming and water always play a major part of any holiday and Centreparcs is no exception. How can we resist the lure of the fake sub tropical paradise? It suits the swimming abilities of all the children, keeps them entertained for hours and has the added benefit of warmth so I don’t get chilled to the marrow in the first ten minutes. Take that out of the equation and suddenly Centreparcs no longer looks like a viable option. I couldn’t possibly countenance swimming without my eldest. It would break her heart.

And for us, the swimming and the woods are the main attraction of Centreparcs. Spending £20 per child for an hour of some activity that they will enjoy just as much as charging round the site on their bikes seems unrealistically extravagant.It has been suggested that given that we live a couple of hundred yards from both a beautiful lido which is free for the children and wild woods where they can run about to their heart’s content might negate the need for a Centreparc holiday. What would be the point of paying to stay in a villa and just use the pool and the woods when we have a beautiful home with comparable facilities?

But if we stay at home where is my break? Even if we go away to do all the things we can do at home, I am away. I am out of the house. I can relax.

Either way it is immaterial. We will be at home for half term and I will just have to wait until the summer and hope I do not lose my mind in the intervening period!

What do you think? I'd love to know...