The holiday in Cornwall was really my first experience at family plate spinning. I was really looking forward to the holiday, we'd rented a cottage, it was the school holidays in August, the weather was bound to be great... We all have high hopes about holidays, even in England, but we need to stop relying on the weather. We'd even chosen the specific destination because of the massive beach, thinking about the fun days we could have.
I thought it would be time to relax. Ha!
It started in the car journey, we live in the Midlands, so its a fair old investment in time to travel to Cornwall. I'd planned for all sorts of eventualities, packed games, books, pens, pencils, paper, everything bar a clown and a magician. Just a little further on than Exeter I found myself trying to create new games on the hoof, think of 20 questions relating to Primeval, and draw bingo cards. All jolly good fun.
The cottage itself was beautiful, the weather was mediocre on the whole but we still went out to see loads of sights, and spent time on the beach too. But the most difficult thing was trying to please everyone. I've been a single mother for a long time now, and D and I have been away a few times by ourselves. We've seen museums, parks, playgrounds, cities, swimming pools, dungeons and theatres, but we've only ever had to please ourselves. And mothers of children everywhere know that all children can drum up any amount of enthusiasm for visiting something if there's a gift shop at the end of it.
This time though, S was with us. He's got no children of his own, so they're a strange and occasionally wonderful breed as far as he's concerned. I seemed to spend the whole week asking what each of them wanted to do. Anything, they would say, we don't mind. Right, I would think, let's try the zoo, I think they might both like that. OK, I would ponder, let's try pitch and putt, that should be good for both of them. Some succeeded, some failed (in a spectacular fashion), and I got food poisoning.
Which left me out of action for a whole day.
Which left S, with no previous experience, to look after D for a whole day.
Which was interesting.