What’s that? You say the one thing you crave is more time with your family? Are you sure? Be careful what you wish for. They might find out what a dick you really are.
Our family just got back from two weeks in rural Germany where hardly anyone speaks English. Meaning the only people we could talk to for any length of time was each other.
They say hell is spending all eternity with your friends. Now while I’m not suggesting for a moment we had the holiday from hell, quite the opposite in fact, living together in a two bedroom flat and driving a powerful car on bendy mountain roads teaches you a few things about the family you thought you knew.
It’s like being on Big Brother but with the cameras turned off. It might be easier if you read the next bit in a Geordie accent.
‘Day 2 of the Who’s the Daddy holiday. Michael can’t work out where the ‘Go’ button is on his hired fancy dan Volvo V60 in the car park at Hohegeiss outdoor swimming pool, while daughter #1 is starting with a migraine and has left her medication back at the flat seven miles away. Watch a grown man almost reduced to tears in sheer frustration at his own inadequacies as he asks bemused passers-by in pidgin German how to start his car.’
Thank God my wife isn’t an idiot. She pressed the ‘Go’ button while putting her foot to the floor and £30,000 worth of Swedish engineering magically roared into life.
While Braunlage in the Harz mountains is a fine ski resort and has loads of outdoorsy things to do during the day (and we did them all with big grins on our faces) by night it is, let’s say, not the liveliest place we’ve ever stayed.
Once you’ve eaten in every restaurant in town twice, the evenings can drag a little.
So we did what all families do when time ticks slowly on holiday. We got the cards out and played Blackjack for loose change.
Luckily the flat we stayed in had a beautiful 1970s Telefunken amplifier that made a lovely ‘Whumpf’ noise when you switched it on, and a tape deck, so we spent long evenings playing cards to the sound of a Dr Feelgood album that we found in a drawer.
It got played so many times that by the end of the holiday our daughters could sing along to it. That fills me with much more pride than it ought to.