Monday, 24 August 2009

Mid-Summer Murder

It started when my husband suggested I might want a coffee rather than an ice cream. There are no circumstances under which this would be seen as an innocent menu alternative, but when you’re standing in a bikini on a bronzed-French-teenager-filled riverside beach half way through your hard-earned summer holiday, any implication that you should be concerned about your calorie intake is devastating to say the least.

The key words here are ‘half way though’. Had he attempted this suggestion a few days before we were coming home I probably would have rolled my eyes and reluctantly agreed to the coffee, no further discussion needed. But he picked the exact point of Mid-Holiday Melancholy, and he should have known better.

In normal life, feeling a bit tense, irritable, overweight, under appreciated is, well, normal life. But when these emotions appear after a week of holiday frolics, it’s unacceptable and hugely disappointing. And it’s then that I start to notice the cracks.

The wonderful feeling of freedom when the children insist that only normally-at-work Daddy sits next to them at dinner every evening has been replaced with the lonely suspicion that you’re a disliked and overpowering mother. And the expectation of fully replenished sleep banks has been replaced with the reality of aching temples and blood-shot eyes after endless happy nights sitting on the balmy patio drinking wine.

At Mid-Holiday point, I start to become emotionally burdened by the extra half stone that I promised myself last year I’d never bring away again. And I realise that none of the clothes I feel young, floaty and elegant in on holiday will ever make it out of the holiday bag at the bottom of my wardrobe in London.

But worst of all, the excited shouts of ‘That one!’ – which punctuate every car journey as each member of the family chooses their favourite rambling French farmhouse and reveals their master plan for a hermit farming existence or super tricky sunflower maze – make me question every single lifestyle decision I’ve ever made. I start to feel real melancholy about leaving behind all our friends and family to begin the new life that clearly everyone else desires so desperately, and only my love of a supermarket-in-walking-distance is preventing.

I don’t know whether MHM is a global phenomenon or a private world of pain, but luckily after a few hours of staring wistfully out of the car window it passes and I’m thrown, pulse racing, back into the holiday spirit. And I spot the perfect location for my boutique rural hotel. The A-list will love it.

1 comment:

  1. The Nanna Diaries

    Ha! You're lucky. Our MHM is usually with us within 30 minutes of reaching our new life - our hard won life in France with the dearest and bestest of friends. So it must be EhM as in Early Holiday Murder and its usually me that wants to kill myself as I reckon everyone would be much happier without my task driven, morning energetic, problem solving, Pollyanna self and because also something inside of me longs for one of those sleek/slender parcels of land that languish in all villages. So I kind of hope they will throw me out.

    Apparently these slivers of land belong to the much divided inheritance of large families from their parents (watch out my lot) and, amid loads of disagreements they are portioned off leaving only the aforementioned delightful slices of land, not useful for anything apart from growing applies and cabbages. And because they represent so much family discord amongst siblings, they often look untended and unloved and just waiting for me ... With my caravan...

    This year, having lost or rather sold our own portion of land so that we could rest easy for a while in our house, we had to deal with the vexing problem of our (mine mine mine) trailer caravan which in all honesty we do not need and just pretend to each other that we are keeping it for overflow living space.

    It was not going to be allowed to stay. Our friends' caravan has been towed away, apparently to a nearby Bar so really mine was on borrowed time. It languished there all summer trying to look inconspicuous whilst I, also trying to do this inconspicuously, went on begging pilgramages to neighbours hoping they would winter it for me.

    One and all pointed me to Capitaine who would look after it until we all return. It now rests, totally overawed by its magnificent barn surroundings and being looked down on by boats. I have promised the other three that I will pay for it myself next year or pay one of my children to stay in it with their families. I just can't let it go - just in case I do have to push off and live like some of our neighbours do - having purchased their 'slice' they turn up and colonise it with motorhomes and trailers, beer and petanque and appear to have a jolly time. me, I'm going to be there on my jolly own.

    Anyway as AhM leads into MhM, my attention too turns to my stomach which is fondly known as my 'kangaroo pouch' my my nearest and dearest and all are known to ask now whether the "Kangaroo needs feeding" or not. One time on the beach my bf said "oh look there's a woman with a kangaroo like yours". I searched for a fat woman and found only the thinnest of beings wearing a swimsuit with a kangaroo on - I ask you - is that fair? Actually where we live the fat families do as well so we like to visit the beach to feel better about ourselves. Is that mean?

    Anyway our holidays involved, at a later stage, our adult children joining us and a great time was had by all. They outshine us in every area as you would expect:youth, beauty, cooking and drinking.

    So it was obviously time for me and the Kangaroo to go home. I'm there now and d-in-l is still away with her awesome family.

    Loving you all.