Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Summer Diary Delights

It seems to be crunch time with summer holiday arrangements. All those ‘Yes, let’s get together in the summer....’ procrastinations are coming back to haunt me. I have blurred memories of several occasions this year, when, full of bonhomie (and red wine) I cheerily waved a warm, smudged glass in the air, and signed up verbally to various tin pot ideas. Now the net is closing around me, and I am being pinned down for dates. Each entry into the diary feels like a nail in the coffin of our summer freedom.

I really envy people who just clear off somewhere for the summer. ‘Sorry, we’re away for the holidays’ they say breezily, with an unconvincing attempt at disappointment. As a way of fending off the diary-toting hordes, this really is a trump card. How I would love to wave goodbye to everything back home, and just head for the hills, dragging the kids and a trolley full of wine behind me. Come to think of it, if the hilly terrain got too arduous, the kids could just return home and fend for themselves.

We are going away for a couple of weeks here and there this summer, but we seem to be the only family not taking a holiday based on topics from the National Curriculum. If I was able to go on holiday to Rome, I would want to cavort in the Trevi Fountain in a strapless evening gown, like Anita Ekberg, not haul three moaning brats around the Coliseum. If I went to France, it would be in order to drink good, cheap wine and eat smelly cheese, not to kid myself that the children are learning to speak French just because they can now order ‘un sandwich au jambon.’

I am firmly of the opinion that children don’t need holidays – their parents do. I have heard people say that it’s important to provide holiday memories for your children, but since none of mine can even remember what they had for breakfast, I have serious doubts.

My own form of escapism tonight comes in the form of a particularly luscious Diemersfontein Pinotage (Ocado £7.99). This South African beauty was recommended to me by Peter at The Pinotage Club, who describes it as ‘coffee and chocolate in a glass.’ I can’t add anything to that, it is such a good description, and makes you wonder why you would ever need to eat or drink anything else in your lifetime. There is a little quote on the label at the back of the bottle saying

‘It befriends – It converts – It seduces’

which makes it sound like a particularly sinister but racy church group (one way of expanding the congregation, I suppose).

Peter is also the author of a wonderful book, about unusual wine labels which has the extremely memorable title of ‘Marilyn Merlot and the Naked Grape.’ It will definitely be on my letter to Santa this Christmas.

As I am sipping this pinotage, I am hatching an escape plan for next year that will enable us to say that we are ‘away in the country’ for the whole summer, on an educational trip for the children, which encompasses their maths work, language skills, geography projects and plenty of exercise. It will also guarantee some indelible memories for them. The shortage of fruit-picking migrant workers in the South East could be my salvation. I haven’t decided yet whether or not I will let the kids keep any of their wages.

17 comments:

beta mum said...

We're going to France for a lot of the summer - where we've been before and where the children refuse to countenance speaking French to anyone, especially other children in playgrounds.

The Good Woman said...

I'm not good at holidays - far too stressful. I prefer to live in interesting places - haven't found a dull one yet. And moving is an education all of its own...

dulwichmum said...

We are off to Bedruthan in Cornwall - avoiding long haul in the name of the planet - hmph... How old do the children have to be before you can send the fruit picking?

DM

Mya said...

I wouldn't give them any wages - invest it all in wine and say they can have some when they're eighteen - if there's any left...which of course, there won't be!

mutterings and meanderings said...

I went potato picking when I was a nipper ... and got to keep all the money plus a bucket of potatoes a day!

Pig in the Kitchen said...

I am away to the country for the summer, and busy persuading people to come and visit me...i feel a bit scared being away for weeks and weeks with no other adult in sight. I will probably end up wishing I'd kept my big mouth shut. I have asked people to bring sleeping bags though, i feel that was a master plan!
pigx

Stay at home dad said...

I checked out the Pinotage Club - it would seem you have to be a large man with a small wineglass to join!

lady macleod said...

good plan!

DJ Kirkby said...

I agree, why let them have a hol when they can't remember simple things like how to wash dishes correctly from one session to the next or, as you said, what they had for breakfast? I am still trying to convince ours that they have to earn their hols just as we have to...it's not working...

Peter May - The Pinotage Club said...

stay-at-home-dad --

It is not size that matters -- its how often you can refill it :)

Vanessa said...

We're off to France at the end of next week for a fortnight and making a point of travelling light so that we will have more room for wine on the way home... Priorities and all that.

He hasn't been abroad before as I couldn't contemplate the idea of foreign hols with a little one but the now-seven Magnus is looking forward to learning some French and I'm amazed how much I can dredge up from my Grade C 'O' level of 1986....

Stay at home dad said...

Cheers to that Peter!

I am a boring Bordeaux drinker, but I will buy a bottle of the Pinotage you recommend next time I am in the supermarket. You and the large men are doing a great job...

DevonLife said...

Very funny, of course you should really all go grape picking in France. It's time the children invested in your, I mean their, future.

Akelamalu said...

'cavorting in the Trevi Fountain in an evening gown' sounds like my sort of holiday too. I get a bit reckless on holiday thinking no-one there will ever see me again!

Peter May - The Pinotage Club said...

Stay-at-home-dad - The Diemersfontein Pinotage is exclusive to Waitrose supermarkets(& Ocado).

Let me know what you think of it.

Stay at home dad said...

Will do. Thanks!

Drunk Mummy said...

beta mum - I'm sure they will have a good snigger at 'Oui' though.

the good woman - and you really are heading for the wide open spaces (if not the hills) You lucky thing!

Dulwich Mum - I reckon a trip to Cornwall in the car is seriously long haul, judging by the traffic.
I intend to introduce the children to the fruit farm managers as 'rather sensitive midgets.'

mya - it's a great idea on all counts!

M&M - that sounds like something Baldrick would say in Blackadder!

Pig - I envy you, and wouldn't want any visitors. H thinks I am turning into a recluse (chance would be a fine thing!)

SAHD - they are serious Pinotage enthusiasts!

lady macleod - I haven't told the kids yet. I need a bit of 'spin' to sell the idea to them.

dj kirkby - you are right, the pesky little blighters are spoilt rotten!

peter - I'll drink to that!

vanessa - I agree heartily with your luggage priorities. I wrap my knickers around the wine bottles to stop them clinking (not while I am still wearing them, you understand - although there was that one occasion...)

devonlife - indeed - then I really could enjoy the fruits of their labour.

akelamalu - absolutely - not only will they never see you again, but if you are drunk enough, you won't care either way!

Peter and SAHD - you are making me thirsty just thinking about it....