On holidays

Soilman on holidayThe Planning Dept (aka Mrs Soilman) is slowly turning its attention towards the summer holidays, and I’m worried.

I used to look forward to holidays. That was before I’d taken many.

From a 42-year-old perspective, the 20-year-old’s optimism seems deranged. After climbing into your car, going on holiday is the biggest risk you ever take with your health and sanity.

I’m not even going to mention air travel (the folly of volunteering to cramp yourself into Stephen Hawking’s chair while a small, puce-faced child vomits and screams blue murder into your left ear – for 14 hours – defies rational explanation).

No, my principal beef is that places I can afford to visit (I definitely include my own nation’s offerings in this general judgement) are a bit shit.

Brief diarrhoea

Only in the lives of the super rich are the cabs plentiful and empty, the prices reasonable, the hotel rooms clean and well appointed, the dividing walls soundproofed, the satellite pornography peopled by cheerful and attractive actors, the sunblock effective, the lavatories pristine and unblocked, the maps accurate, the peace of night time uninterrupted by yelling drunks from Morecambe, the wi-fi dependable, the sewers invisible and odourless, the beaches unpolluted by dog shit and engine oil, the flash floods insufficiently violent to wash you off a mountain into the Dead Sea, the transgender prostitutes discreet and inoffensive, the pickpockets clumsy, the child beggars winsome and grateful, the waiters loquacious and amusing, the foreigners unexcitable and anglophone, the tourists indistinguishable from the natives, the local pack animals well fed and kindly treated, the swimming pools uncontaminated by Giardia, the food delicious and hygienically prepared by people who wash their fucking hands, the food poisoning confined to one lavish vomit followed by miraculous recovery, the diarrhoea brief and barely noticeable, the sandflies hypoallergenic, the mosquitoes vegetarian, the sea urchins and lethally poisonous Stonefish confined to the bay used by the other hotel, the hire cars well maintained with working brakes, the roads clearly signposted by somebody who actually wants to help you orientate, the service polite and attentive, the ‘attractions’ cheap and uncrowded, the lie-ins uninterrupted, the only-on-holiday marital sex agreeable to both parties.

In my world, at least half of the above will never be true – wherever we opt to go.

I realise, of course, that I should count myself fortunate to be able to take any kind of holiday. And – with reservations – I do.

But that doesn’t stop the gnawing tension creeping into my consciousness about this time of year.

Having Fun can be so fucking ghastly.

12 Responses to “On holidays”

  1. Freelance Unbound Says:


  2. Chuck Mollica Says:

    Key phrase: “Only in the lives of the super rich are…” suggests that you may be viewing it all from a bedeviled context. After all, for most of us, the world is what it is; crowded, boisterous, possibly dangerous, etc., and vacations, at their best, surprise us and change our perspectives.
    Consider the macro lens picture of the tiny, tiny, tiny beetroot. Then expand outward to a sight you’ve never witnessed. Don the suit, leave your spaceship, and get on with adventure!

  3. JerryC Says:


    You don’t need to be super-rich to enjoy a locale characterized by your list of cosmopolitan virtues!

    Come and spend your hard-earned dough here, in Portland, Oregon, US of A!

    Happy trails, Pardner,


    P.S. Who have you entrusted to water your allotment during your “holiday adventure?”

  4. Soilman Says:

    My long-suffering sister usually does it, Jerry. And I’m VERY lucky to have her.

  5. IT Farmer Says:

    I agree with JerryC, perhaps a vacation in the States would be agreeable to you… This time of year we have excellent weather, 90F just yesterday.

  6. Soilman Says:

    We had a terrific holiday in California, IT Farmer. Maybe Stateside next year!

  7. shiny_newallotmentholder Says:

    Yeah, but jeez, just stop a minute and look again at your picture. Just look at it. Sun. Sand. Palm trees. And that beautiful caribbean blue sea.. I recommend a trip to Mexico (as long as you avoid the narco-infested behead-ey parts) – i’ve been there 3 times and only once suffered brief and barely noticable diarroea. Brilliant. Eat bucket-loads of marmite before you go and the mosquitoes (and everyone else) will give you a very wide berth indeed. Happy holidays.

  8. Soilman Says:

    Marmite???! What???????

  9. Matron Says:

    Hey Soilman! I have an idea! why don’t you turn the phone off and just veg out in your back garden for 2 weeks. Proper English tea when you want it! No poisonous snakes, no foreigners, takeaway of your choice delivered every evening!

  10. Soilman Says:

    Seriously good idea, Matron. As it happens, am considering precisely that.

  11. Zoe Says:

    I had to laugh at your latest rant as you sound just like my OH. In sympathy with Mrs Soilman here – when you’ve gone to the trouble of thinking about, deciding, booking, planning and organising a holiday, and probably done the lions share of packing and cleaning the house prior to leaving, there’s nothing worse than having a miserable travelling companion who frankly wishes you hadn’t bothered as he’d rather sleep in his own bed and shit in his own toilet. One thing I will give him though, he’s always in very good mood on the way home!

  12. George Online Cat Says:

    I don’t let my human go anywhere. She is needed for personal care (litter box), grooming, housekeeping, and tin opening. I am now training her to fetch a ball – easily done. George Online Cat at http://george-online.blogspot.com