IF all goes to plan, then when you pick up your copy of the EWN for this week we will be off on our first proper family holiday ever: to see my mum get hitched in France. And a nice bit of France at that.
We are beside ourselves with excitement at the prospect of doing absolutely nothing for a few days. What bliss. However the build up to a holiday does seem to have to be exponentially the most stressful few days of your life. Why is that? Why do we have to put our plants in the bath and clean out the fridge before we go away? Why do I feel the need to actually clean the windows and hoover under the sofa? I’m not pregnant, I’m going on holiday.
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We’ve only just got round to getting our green bits of paper together (with able help from the Mallorca Solutions.com angels who fixed it with the minimum of fuss). We apparently should have had these bits of paper for the last year or more… ahem. But it’s never enough to just have the one piece of paper in Spain. We (I) then had to go back to the local council and renew our Empadron certificates in order to qualify for the resident’s travel discount for the ferry. In hindsight, I should have got my angels to do this bit too.
The lady who issues the Empadrons at the council gave me very short shrift when I turned up, ‘if it is for travel then I have to see your passports’. What? A fellow traveller, who had remembered her passport, clever girl, turned to me and said ‘apparently it’s all down to some British bloke who didn’t like the old photo ID cards, said that they were an invasion of privacy’. Well, thanks unnamed British bloke for your wasteful use of my rapidly diminishing time, and back to our house I went to pick up the passports.
This was followed by thirty minutes of Olympic sized panicking when I couldn’t find my passport. It was in the glove box of the car, don’t ask. Off I trekked back to the council. I felt that a drum roll or a small amount of applause would have been in order, but no, no praise from the lady. Little white papers were issued. Job done? Ha! No way. They’d spelt Gidg’s name incorrectly. That involved taking another number and waiting in another office to get another piece of paper to correct their mistake. Guess who came and sat at the desk and took my details? The same lady. ‘You might remember me, I need this to travel with, when will it be ready?’ ‘Manana. A la mejor . . .’
Then as I was leaving the office dishevelled from finding lost things and remembering forgotten ones, I bumped into another parent from Gidg’s school. ‘Hola! What are you doing here?’ ‘Today is the day we register for the summer school.’ ‘… just today?’ ‘Yes, until ’. She showed me the list of new pieces of paper whilst that familiar sinking stomach feeling kicked in . . . ‘Are you okay? You look like you need a holiday’. Never a truer word said.
Family Matters, by Vicki McLeod
P.S. Burglars, the keys under the flowerpot, please clean up before you leave.