Considering I travel badly, going on a holiday that involves extensive driving and a ferry ride fills me with a sense of trepidation. I have no idea why I agreed to this vacation but everyone else seems ok with it. I'll just have to take motion sickness tablets and abandon parenting for a considerable amount of the journey.We are going as a large family group with 3 cars in convoy. There will be 6 adults and 3 children on a holiday for 2 weeks. We are being joined by my husbands parents, his sister and her husband and their 7 month old son. Between us we'll have two large caravans on a small site with a shop, swimming pool, children's play area and a 20 minute walk to the beach. Sounds Idyllic. As we board the ferry all I can think of is the scene in titanic where the Irish woman is sitting on her bed reading a story to her 2 very small children, knowing any second she is about to drown in freezing cold water. I am definitely nervous and try to talk myself around and not infect everyone else with my projection of a catastrophe. Its like that film "Final destination" trying to cheat death. I need to get a grip quite frankly.
Finally we all gather on deck to wave goodbye to blighty and then everyone decides it's time to eat. I try hard not to gag and think of burning vomit coming out of my throat. I'm not enjoying myself yet. Everybody keeps banging on about brioche and crepes, and all I want to do is pass out and hopefully either wake up when we're there, or, die of drowning in my sleep so I never know of the catastrophe I've been so dreading. I look like a grey, ashen faced rabbit in head lights against everyone else's glowing excitement. Saying that though, my gorgeous sister-in-law is struggling with her baby who has decided he no longer needs sleep and is playing up a treat. First holidays with children are a traumatic affair. Its like normal parenting nightmares in a different country and climate. Its not a holiday - its hell on earth.
In the morning I wake up, obviously not dead, and gratefully make it up to the cafe to eat pastry. The kids are very excited and when we finally depart from the belly of the beast, we all trundle along nicely following our pre-prepared map to our destination. 20km from the site, our car packs up. Totally dead. Something has gone wrong with the wiring and the whole thing is locked. No power, no nothing. As we are in convoy, we deploy children to other cars and wait for international rescue. I try to reframe the situation into a positive theme, like, "Oh, 30 minutes of free time in the sunshine." Before international rescue arrive we are visited by an old French man shouting and urinating on the hard shoulder, then a English speaking French man offering help, and then the Gendarme. They try and move the car but can't, and then to my relief the tow truck turns up. They literally drag our car off the road and deliver us to a very shoddy garage with a fat lady and a smelly dog. However, things turn out well. We leave our car there, get a hire car and arrive 3 hours later than planned to our new caravan home.
The next 24 hours will be a test of my serenity and CBT techniques. I'd forgotten that change, stress and dealing with other people can send me a bit doo-lally! It isn't their fault, I'm just wired up like our car.