The term “family holiday” – that’s an oxymoron, right? ‘Cos it’s actually a contradiction in terms, like “agreeable ten-year-old” or “enjoyable meal in Sizzler”. A holiday is, by definition, a restful break, but once you throw a family into the mix – especially MY family –it’s anything but. Seriously, we’re two days into our current family holiday and I’m already thinking SHIT, I need a holiday.
Paul and I were talking about this in the car, as Frankie and Ben tried to kill each other in the backseat. “YOU’LL ONLY START CARING WHEN FRANKIE MAKES BLOOD!” Ben shouted, to which I responded: “WRONG! I’ll start caring when one of you are rendered unconscious! May the best man win!” Ignoring the howls, Paul said – quite rightly – that the term “family holiday” should be renamed “family change of scenery” and I was, like, yeah, you can travel to the other side of the country – even the WORLD – but those little fuckers still want their bottoms wiping. Same shit, different scenery.
For fuck’s sake, I’ve already hoovered our chalet twice today, done two loads of washing and three lots of dishes, while Paul’s put the front door back on its hinges, made five beds and held an ice-pack to Ben’s head after he fell from the top bunk. THIS IS NOT MY IDEA OF A HOLIDAY. Holidays involve maid service, happy hour, and small men delivering brightly coloured cocktails to comfortable daybeds.
We’re staying on a farm five hours south of home – six if you count the pit-stop at a Halloween-themed café swarming with mosquitoes. It’s a fucking lovely cottage, in possibly the prettiest, most picturesque location in the whole WORLD, close to wineries, beaches and bushland (I met an emu while out for a run yesterday), but it’s not a HOLIDAY. The farmer is the most wonderful, generous and kind human being, taking the kids on pony rides, and helping them milk the cow, collect the eggs and feed the rabbits, but he’s not a small man serving colourful cocktails to comfortable daybeds, is he?
I mean, take the car journey down here. Forty-eight hours’ later, I’m ready to talk about the car journey down here. Frankie bit Ben constantly and relentlessly for six hours, in between beatboxing. Beatbox beatbox beatbox BITE beatbox beatbox beatbox BITE. Which would’ve been FINE, but Ben didn’t like being constantly and relentlessly bitten and spent five hours screaming – fucking screaming – MUMMMMMYYYYYYYYY and OWWWWWWWWWWWW. That shit wears you down. At the five-hour-30-minute mark I flipped my banana, and told them to FUCKING SORT THEIR FUCKING SHIT OUT AND TO STOP FUCKING SCREAMING AND CRYING AND WIPE AWAY THEIR FUCKING TEARS ‘COS WE’RE ABOUT TO MEET THE FUCKING FARMER AND LET’S JUST PRETEND WE’RE A NORMAL FUCKING FAMILY FOR FIVE FUCKING MINUTES, EH, EH? And then Ben – because he really, really doesn’t know when to stop talking – said: “Why do you love them more than meeeeeee,” and I responded, “NO. I DISLIKE YOU ALL EQUALLY.”
Oh, and I got locked in a shitty toilet in a shitty roadhouse called The Threeway Tavern (for real) and spent 20 minutes standing on a cistern screaming for various members of my family who were more interested in gobbling through nanny’s sausage rolls than noticing that the matriarch was MIA. Motherfuckers.
Ah man, I don’t mean to sound ungrateful. We’re honestly having the loveliest of lovely weeks (just take a look at my #smuglife Instagram account), and laughing a LOT, which is what it’s all about, really. A snotty little girl came up to Alice in a playground today and said, “I have a leaky eye and I have a cold and my name is Rachel and will you be my friend?” and Alice was frightened and we laughed for about a week. We’re playing Scrabble and toasting marshmallows and falling out of trees and spotting kookaburras. This is the good shit, and it’s worth its weight in gold.
But! As much fun as we’re having, this isn’t a holiday. A week in a low-security prison would be more of holiday than this. At least I wouldn’t have to break up a fight over who gets to carry the bucket of food-scraps to the chickens. And I don’t think you have to do the washing up in prison. That’d be cool.
Paul says he’s catching the bus back to Perth on Monday, and he’ll meet us there. I said I’d rather catch a slow-moving hot-air balloon than travel in a car for five to six hours with those little fuckers. Can we put them on a bus, alone, and drive behind? Would that work? However we get home, god, I’m looking forward to work on Wednesday. That’ll be my holiday.