Frightened of my own cyber shadow, I go to great pains not to reveal publicly when I’m away, just in case the ‘dark side’ visits my home when we’re not there. I know, I know, chance would be a fine thing that my missives had gone viral but, well, with the need to tell stories comes a slightly warped imagination and you wouldn’t believe the control room of villains I see plotting to pounce.
|my new writing buddies from Swanwick|
But, now I’m back so it’s safe to safe to admit that the silence is due to an inspirational week at the Swanwick Writers’ Conference where stimulus, loveliness and laughter were rife, where I wrote 10,000 words and where I found myself an agent who’d like to see the rest of Glass Houses. So yes, thank you Swanwick, it was wonderful. Click here for more information Swanwick Writers' School. This was followed by a fabulous family holiday in Croatia where we all fell in love with the country and its people. If I ever truly go missing, please look for me there first.
The great news is that none of my party broke anything other than a glass, although, in reality, it was actually three.
We’ve had some momentous holidays where we’ve become acquainted with the workings of a few European hospitals. When other people equip themselves with their foreign abode’s word for ‘thank you’, first on my list is ‘hospital’. It’s ‘bolnica’, in Croatian, if you’re wondering. There was the dislocated-elbow-screaming on the French camp site, not to mention the infamous arm smashing incident, already well-documented in this blog. But I say, if you’re going to break too many bones to count, do it on the final night of an amazing action packed two week holiday in the Swiss Alps and bag yourself the best room in the hospital at the foot of the Eiger, dosed up with morphine, contemplating the blue sky and snowy peaks through the almost picture window of your own ward.
I only remember one holiday being so bad that we almost came home early. It was 2006 and, somewhat unbelievably, a heat-wave of a summer. We’d taken ourselves off to North Wales in a borrowed six man tent, a luxurious upgrade to our usual 3-berth.
The weather broke. When I say ‘broke’, imagine trying to keep a hot air balloon anchored in a typhoon and you get an idea of how much the wind had picked up; tip a bucket of cold water over your head every time you exit the house and you are some way to understanding the inundation we were confronted with if we ever dared to leave the canvas. One by one, all the tents disappeared from the site. It was us and the caravans. At least the tents left of their own accord, I was so convinced ours would up and leave us in the night, despite guy ropes tied to the car, and I would be found next morning snoring in my sleeping bag, the rest of my possessions and family strewn across the field, that I slept in my clothes to protect my modesty. Worse! As it was my friend’s tent, I was petrified about returning empty-handed so any sleep was fitful at best. My friend laughed when I told her. ‘You’re joking,’ she said, ‘I’d have been so happy to be shot of the thing.’
That particular camping trip is probably the closest I’ve come to not enjoying a holiday. Cold feet, a punctured mattress held together with the contents of the first-aid kit, wet clothes slapping you in the face as you walk through the doorway, mud in the showers and soggy boxes of cereal aren’t top of my list of prerequisites for a great getaway. But I do have pleasant memories of being forced to do different things - such as going to the pictures three times in one week, learning card tricks from our equally marooned neighbours and eating two cream teas in one day. Suffice it to say, our youngest has lusted after camping ever since so it can’t have been that bad.
How was your summer? Dare I ask, did you stay dry?
Ps If you like watersports and fancy Croatia, I can't recommend these people highly enough (and no, I'm not on commission ;)) Raftrek Travel, Croatia