Sunday, 29 July 2012
Holidays in the Sun
Our ‘free’ newspaper holidays have been a mixed bag.
The grim. The early days, when we were still token virgins.
And the great. Our later adventures in Devon and Cornwall.
Schoolgirl errors can be avoided if you know what to look for and how to make the deals work for your family.
Collect tokens, select a holiday park and choose a date. Simple.
Beware. The holiday isn’t gratis.
Extras include entertainment passes, bedding and upgrades.
And sometimes luxuries like electricity and water.
Research the locations beforehand.
Reviews are varied. It’s always advisable to avoid parks labelled: ‘Hell on earth’ and ‘Sewerage outlet’.
Check in isn’t normally until late afternoon/dusk, so don’t leave home too early, unless you fancy loitering in the laundrette, ‘Enders style.
If you’ve upgraded to Super Gold’ you can check in 45 minutes earlier and enjoy complimentary towels, sachets of ‘Nescafe’ and an additional foot for that clothes airer.
Making that extra £100 money well spent.
We’re more ‘Minus Bronze‘. We know how to pack our own towels.
Our pitch is not located by the ‘Beach’ sign, but on a slope by the incinerator.
Our new home: ‘The Peonies’. Only somebody has amusingly scribbled out the o and e.
The decor is interesting. Not in a Gypsy Weddings chrome and black ash way.
More of a Timmy Mallet’s ‘wacky’ shirt way.
But the TV boasts four working channels.
The previous occupants have left us a welcome gift of a carton of aromatic milk and half a ‘Calippo’ in the freezer.
Before we can explore, we have to make the beds.
Why do they choose white sheets?
It may have been ketchup, but just to be cautious I now bring my own bedding.
And a sleeping bag cocoon. And a dust mask.
The active family pictured in the brochure are a wholesome bunch.
Likewise, the clan next to us are also dressed for leisure, having enjoyed a shopping spree at ‘Sports Direct’
They also love nature and have brought their puppy Pitt Bull, Dappy‘ along as he nibbles on baby Mackenzie’s earring.
We bring our own essentials, including bleach, hand sanitiser and surgical gloves.
The grocery shop is pricey.
But it does have offers on multipack ‘Frazzles‘, frozen potatoes and ‘Strawberry Pop Tarts‘, to ensure the kids get their five a day.
There’s plenty of time for healthy living in the swimming pool.
A line of scamps are urinating in the water, before jumping in for a bath.
Others are comparing tattoos and sunburn afflictions and wondering if the smoking ban applies next to water.
“Look Mommy, a chocolate starfish,” one of my sons remarks as a half eaten chocolate doughnut floats past.
At least I think it’s a doughnut.
The frothy film on top of the water conjures up the word: ‘Crappuccino’
There’s plenty for the children to do.
A bit of mother and daughter time in ‘Tan-go‘ the on site solarium, followed by bingo.
Or some father and son bonding on the slot machines. And a scratch card treasure hunt.
The ball pool is a popular choice, as little Kai pops up clutching a holiday keepsake -
A ‘Ben 10’ plaster.
The food hall offers a variety of deep fried and supersized options.
No need to dress for dinner. The males prefer to dine topless or sporting a vest and cap.
One enterprising young mother is enjoying a kebab.
And simultaneously changing baby Anastasia’s nappy on the moulded plastic table.
The clubhouse is more Chubby Brown than Mickey Mouse.
The Turquoise Coats and an unidentifiable Mascot (possibly a langoustine) are line dancing with the kids to ‘Cotton Eyed Joe‘.
The boys are not impressed by adults in costumes.
This follows the whole Sebastian the Crab debacle, when the head came off, Scooby style, to reveal a sweaty teen named Graham.
Next it’s cabaret with ‘Magic Mike’ (a magician, not a stripper, unfortunately).
The finale is ‘Steps Club 5’ - ‘Steps’ meets ‘S Club’ - headed up by an Andrew Stone impersonator.
The ‘Tragedy/Don’t Stop Movin’ medley, which showcases the talents of H and Tina, brings tears to my eyes.
It’s a good job the bar has an offer on ‘Jagerbombs‘’.
It’s a jamboree of family fun at the all night disco, which kicks off with Haddaway and Kenny Thomas.
Adults can carry on drinking until 3am, while dancing with kids to a selection of age appropriate hits:
'Poker Face', I'm Sexy and I Know it’ and ‘Smack my Bitch up‘.
Dappy, Crappy Doo.
Back to the caravan.
It's easy to find because of the massive George Cross flag and the inflatable Santa on the crib next door.
It’s a sleepless night.
The rain ricochets off the roof.
The neighbours are having a heated dispute over who will open the door to let Dappy answer the call of nature.
But there’s no need. They remember that the puppy has already crapped in the swimming pool.
Will we return?
Of course. We’ve just booked ‘Camping for £1’.