Wednesday 24 March 2010

When holidays go wrong?

Planning this years holiday has made me think about some of the things have happened to us as a family on our travels.

France 2000

Hubby and I had been together for 6 weeks and we decided to take his son and my 3 boys to Brittany for a week, see how we all got on away from the traumas of divorce.

They were aged 10, 7, 5 and 13 months. We had bought a people carrier the week before but it wasn't ready for collection. I had sold my car so here was the dilemma. 6 people and 5 seats. We amended the ferry booking but they wouldn't let us on the boat with 4 kids in the back seat, we told them the baby wasn't coming and turned up at the port. They let us on it was a bit nerve racking but we had a lovely time.

Brittany 2001

Me, hubby, and 5 kids, this time we took my step daughter. We needed to book a hotel for a stop over on the way back. We stayed in a Formule 1. A double bed with a bunk above. We booked two rooms. You do the math. We checked in. Hubby went in with 2 kids, brought 1 back out, I went in with 2, brought 1 back out. Hubby went in with 1 and I went back in with the last one. Sorted. I think the man on reception knew something was up but not what.

Bordeaux 2002

Me, Hubby and the 4 boys. Now how this was quite my fault I'll never know.

I book the holidays in our house. Ferry plus roof box and bike rack complete with 4 bikes. Arrived at Portsmouth an hour before boarding, checked in and informed there was no booking for the bikes or the roof box. OMG. Informed Hubby who went ballistic, shouted at me so I walked off.

It was then I noticed other families having the same arguments, spoke to a couple who informed me they had been told the same despite the paperwork saying other wise. What to do? Some people who lived near by returned their bikes home to board the ferry, as we were 150 miles from home we didn't have that option. Spoke to the check in staff, devised a plan and put it to Hubby. He was not happy.

By now we had the 7 seater and this was the plan. We fold the seats down put the roof box and 4 bikes inside the car and while Hubby drives the car onto the ferry the kids and I go on as foot passengers. Well I don't know about you but in these situations I get the giggles. Hubby yelled at me again, so I walked off with the kids for a cuppa while he sorted the car. After a nice relaxing crossing, we had 2 cabins, we arrived in France at 6am and again after another fit of giggles, I took the kids for breakfast while he swore at the bikes and the roof box and we completed our journey looking like The Clampitts on tour, minus granny with her shotgun.

America 2003

Just me and hubby. Baggage handlers strikes at Heathrow, people camped out for days. Media everywhere.

We drove down the night before and stayed at an airport hotel. We walked to terminal 4 two hours before we were due to fly. On a flip chart there was our flight number ready for check in. There were thousands of people. GMTV were broadcasting live. We argued. Hubby said it wasn't that simple and we'd be waiting for days to fly out.

I ignored him, walked into the building with case and passport. It was deserted. Hubby was shouting at me again (do you get the theme here?)I strolled up to check in and that was that. I was frazzled from arguing with hubby, the check in staff apologised for our 'long' delay and upgraded us to business class for being so patient with them. We didn't confess we'd only been there 5 mins.

France 2007

Me, hubby and my eldest. We spent a long weekend in Paris via the ferry. Sat in the car waiting to disembark, the lorry next to us revved up his engine and before being told to move off, drove down the side of our car and two others. French Police were not too impressed with either him or us. So with a dented car we drove onto Paris, yep hubby shouted at me, as if that was my fault either.

On the Monday son and I left hubby at the hotel, he was flying back at the end of the week, so Jamie and I headed off to Calais. We had been shopping and had filled the car with booze. I don't speak a lot of French but can get by.

At check in I was asked where the other passenger was, all in French. I explained Peter was flying back on Friday. 'Who is the child in the car' 'It's my son I replied' 'do you have proof?' 'yes, I have his passport' 'but you have different surnames' 'yes, I have remarried' this went round in circles for 10 minutes before they let us through.

We got stopped at customs, again, all spoken in French
'Get out the car, not the child. How many people are in the car?'
'many people are travelling?'
'How many people are there altogether?'
'Open the boot, Take it all out, Bring it in here'
Son wasn't allowed to help me, neither did customs. Every bag was xrayed.
'You may go now'
They walked off leaving me to make several trips from the building to the car with all the beer and wine.

There are numerous other little disasters but the absolute best was:

America 2007
Me, Hubby and the 4 boys. There was a power cut at Manchester airport we were delayed for 12 hrs, with 4 kids how we argued. At this point hubby realised he didn't have his lap top bag and mass panic followed. I calmly rang my friend who dragged her 6 week old baby to our house to retrieve said lap top from the front door step. It was 6am.

We flew to Chicago, had missed our connecting flight but there was one in 10 mins we were escorted at speed to the plane. Captain made an announcement. We had a flat tyre and wouldn't be flying for another hour, back off the plane and more rows. We arrived in Las Vegas at 4am minus two bags, checked into our hotel and slept. By this time we'd been up for nearly 30 hrs.

We drove nearly 4000 miles in 3 weeks visiting the sights and family. Our flight home couldn't be any worse could it? We took off from Vegas had been in the air an hour when an hysterical woman stood up and yelled 'is there a Doctor on board?' silence till we made an unscheduled stop in Denver before flying on to Chicago where they had held the plane for an hour and back home.


  1. You certainly seem to make a habit of travel calamities - please let me know next time you're flying, taking a ferry etc, so I can make sure I'm nowhere near!!

    1. it's got a lot better since the kids left home and i mainly travel on my own now

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  3. Blimey, it all sounds like something out of a Carry On movie! lol Daftest thigns I ever did was fly to Atlanta for a 3 month stay in the USA and I left my passport and travellers cheques in immigration. Didn't realise until I was stood outside the airport having a smoke. Needless to say I ran back inside at speed in a bit of a panic as I wasn't entirely certain where I'd left them. Luckily the guy in immigration had come to find me and we bumped into each other en-route. I said "thank you" quite a lot!

    1. that was fortunate that you were allowed back in and he found you

  4. I have a husband like that!Its usually my fault when things go wrong but HE has no idea how to organise anything in the first place!

  5. why do men seem to think that yelling improves things? or helps in any way what so ever?and of course if you reply it turns into an argument and if you dont they just yell louder!! really annoys me when hubby does it in public, so embarrassing and totally unhelpful.

    1. i think they believe that the louder they shout, the quicker the problem will resolve itself