Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Holiday Maker From Hell

We were booked on an early flight to Nice, so having washed, ironed, selected capsule wardrobe*, packed, unpacked, repacked, burst into tears, decided I couldn't be arsed to go, had a row with my husband whilst simultaneously clearing out the fridge - I lay awake all night worrying about, well, just about everything. I may have told you before that I have managed over the years to turn worrying into a transcendental art form akin to tantric sex - the build up takes hours and hours culminating in one almighty explosion, not of ecstacy but of angst. Don't know why, but going on holiday, dinner parties and Christmas have roughly the same effect on me. Total panic. I am obviously a raving nutter.

Anyway, having worked myself into a frenzy and my husband into a fury, ("Bloody Hell, I'm taking you to the South of France, not the frigging guillotine") I finally flopped, exhausted, into bed at around 9 p.m. so that we would be awake and ready for 5.30 a.m., when our airport taxi was booked. Whose bloody stupid idea was it to get such an early flight? Not mine, obviously. We used two alarms, just to make sure we'd be up, but needn't have bothered with either one of them as I proceeded to lie awake all night long, wide-eyed with terror re the awful prospect of going away. Poor me.

But, with the true stoicism of a man who has lived with a very strange and infuriating woman for over thirty years, my husband just quietly carried on regardless, getting me a cup of tea and a piece of toast at some ungodly hour, reminding me how lovely it was going to be, that everything would be alright, there was no need to worry etc., etc., in a similar way to someone reassuring a loved one about to undergo a major operation. Without an anaesthetic.

That man deserves a medal.

But why do I do it? The only reason I can think of (apart from the fact that I am a bit mad) is that I am a Taurean, a person who is worried about change and not very adventurous at all, who given the chance would probably choose "home" over any other destination. Boring, but true. Plus, I am shit-scared of flying. I'm not particularly concerned about the prospect of crashing (though I would prefer not to, obviously), it's the whole claustrophobic airport experience I hate, from the anxiety of having my suitcase weighed right through to the clanging shut of the aircraft doors. Shudder. I have to be going somewhere really good to make it worth the effort. But the problem is, you don't know how good it's going to be until you've been, do you? What we need is more hindsight, sooner.

Anyhow, we got there in one piece, it was hot, it was wonderful, it was La Belle France. Having left the wet and chilly UK so early, by 1 p.m. we were sitting in the sun, eating lunch in the town square of the medieval perched village of Tourrettes, (yes I know about the syndrome, but for fear of causing offence I am not going to make any wisecracks about it being the ideal holiday location for someone who calls herself Swearing Mother).

"Ah, this is just SO lovely" says I to my long-suffering husband as we clink glasses. Breakfast in the UK and lunch in the South of France. What a good idea that early flight had been. Hadn't I said so all along?

He looks at me for a long moment. I am sure he is fighting the urge to push me face first into my salad Nicoise, and who can blame him?

But he just smiles and says "I am saying absolutely nothing."

Good man.

* for anyone not familiar with the phrase "capsule wardrobe" it's a term used to describe the clever selection of the minimal amount of co-ordinating clothes required to provide the largest number of different outfits possible - in reality it means that by day three of your holiday, everything smells or is covered in bits of food or wine stains, and you're bored with wearing navy blue and white anyway. Especially if you've accidentally packed brown shoes.


knifepainter said...

......Although having "nothing to wear" on holiday can only mean one thing....SHOPPING !

Cunning stuff SM, I have a wife AND a teenage daughter who pull this stunt.

Swearing Mother said...

Aha, Knifepainter, you see through me! It's funny how I can't really speak French very well, but can shop in any language?


Mopsa said...

Yes, yes, the travelling angst. What's that all about? Why do we get it when we could obviously do with a break?

Self employed mum said...

OMG us taureans must all be the same, this was like reading my story even down to the fear of flying, although I am afraid the plane will fall out of the sky!

"fighting the urge to push me face first into my salad Nicoise," hilarious!!

belle said...

Oh SM I have missed you! Glad you're back and seriously glad I'm not the lone nutter in the airport ... can you imagine if we ever travelled anywhere on the same flight ...!

The Grocer said...

I believe there was once some research that suggested that 98% of the things you worry about don't happen therefore worrying is a waste of 98% of the time spent doing it.

dgibbs said...

Reminds me of taking my in laws and 2 girls to the Bahamas one year. Father-in-law had never been on a flight without being drunk and couldn't do the same this time because of diabetes and my oldest daughter was chanting "Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God!" From the start till the end of the flight.

Of course that was some years back before all the security measures, else we probably would have found ourselves thrown off the plane somewhere in Georgia. :D

Amy said...

As a fellow Taurean, I relate to the pre-travel BS. What is that? It's supposed to be fun! Unlike you, though, I love to travel. Anywhere. Home is nice to come back to (if it's clean), but I'm always plotting where I'm going next.

Mean Mom said...

I'm OK once I get there, but, like you, hate the holiday preparation experience. I also hate the airport experience(getting there, queuing, waiting etc), and I'm not keen on the 'picking up the hire car, and getting lost on the way to the holiday apartment' experience either!

The worst problem, now that I am older, though, is the baggage weight restriction, as I tend to need an extra plane for all of my lotions and potions!

Swearing Mother said...

Hiya Mopsa, it's weird how the more stressed and tired we are, the more stressed and tired we get? Now I'm home, I could easily repack my bags and go off again. Contrary. Moi?

SEM: Taureans are a law unto themselves, but the upside is apparently worth suffering the downside for, or so I am told. Allegedly we're good at food, friendship, loyalty, singing, home making and sex. You can go a long way with a list like that!

Hi Belle, you've given me a great idea for a T-shirt "Nutters on Tour" on one side and "I Might Have a Panic Attack" on the other -at least we'd get a seat on the airport bus, no one would want to sit next to us!

Hi Grocer, I love it when you talk statistics to me.

Dgibbs: Oh how I wish I'd been on that flight with you, it would have distracted the rest of the passengers from the grinding sound of my clenched teeth on take-off and landing.

Hi Amy, I love to actually be somewhere different, it's the getting there that gives me hives. If only I had a Tardis, or a transporter room as in Star Trek, everything would be alright really.

Hello Mean Mom: I know just what you mean about the baggage restrictions. Being parted from my makeup bag for two whole hours, and the ensuing anxiety that it might get lost along with my suitcase, was nearly enough to send me over the edge. What is the world coming to when it parts a woman from her unguents?

The Rotten Correspondent said...

"What we need is more hindsight, sooner."

Oh.My.God. You've just described my life.

That was hysterical.I am so glad you're back.

Norman said...

I'm a Piscean married to an Aries. I know jus' wot you mean. We both have different concepts of travelling light. I take what I'm standing in and a duplicate. My other half does the same but multiplied by four or so.
She gets pre-trip stress, I don't.
But Pisceans are like that aren't they?

Mike said...

Glad you're back, I missed you too. I'm a Sagittarian,love travel, but am exactly the same as you the night before-things that have lingered on lists for literally months have to be done- I suppose a psychologist would say I have a fear of not returning! Once the morning of travel dawns, though, having stayed up practically all night cleaning, writing letters to people I haven't contacted for 10 years etc, I'm happy as could be, and crash out as soon as I hit the seat on the plane.Have found late afternoon flights less stressful, but the thought of lunch in France has made me green with envy! mimi not mike

Swearing Mother said...

Hiya RC: It's such a shame that we don't know before, until after. If I knew what a fool I was making of myself in advance, maybe I wouldn't do it? Or not, probably. Glad to be back, especially to read your hilarious post today. Laughed so much I nearly let go a bit of wee.

Hi Norman! You Pisceans are such cool people, nothing seems to phase you. Pre-trip panic must be a woman thing, maybe it's the stress of co-ordinating our clothes, or spring cleaning the house (to impress burglars obviously), getting a leg wax or whatever. Or maybe I just need to get more "going on holiday" practice. Now there's a thought! Enjoy Cyprus.

Swearing Mother said...

Hi Mimi: Thank goodness it's not just me! I do exactly the same as you, including every bit of ironing in the basket,(even the things that have been there all year), leaving bleach in the loos and even cleaning out the bathroom cabinet so that when I put all the stuff back in, it's clean. Usually forget to cancel the papers though, so when we get back home we can't get the front door open.

My next door neighbour, however, used to go off and leave most of her windows open, washing on the line, mouldy coffee cups on the garden table and never cancel the milk. Couldn't give a stuff.


Exmoorjane said...

Hey, thanks for your comment on mine.....I never watch Nigella so only see the air-brushed pics in her books and the boobs-hanging-out pictures in the tabloids and can't quite reconcile the two!

Now then, watch out....this was how Size Zero Mother started out.... small anxieties growing so now she can't even leave the house without a three-week preparation period, a barrage balloon of Rescue Remedy and three homeopaths on call.

Seriously though, France sounds fabulous. Sigh. Deeply envious.

btw, try Magnolia Rhodiola Complex, £19.95 from Victoria Health ( - fabulous for anxiety. Trust me, I'm a health hack!!

merry weather said...

I had such a good laugh reading that! I've got a similar capsule wardrobe - right down to the stains and brown shoes, sigh.

Have missed reading you Jane, it's great that you come back with a bang... yes how clever of you to visit Tourette :)

As for tantric worrying - ha! I have packed that thought away to take out and reassure myself during my next episode of acute doubt and anxiety. You're so funny.

Thanks for your lovely comment on my blog. Ah, I'm still chuckling over this post...

Swearing Mother said...

Hi ExmoorJane, thanks for visiting. I will indeed try the Magnolia complex - I used to rely on Bcomplex vits but think I need something more hard core now. I haven't been to yoga for ages and I think it's beginning to make it's absence felt.......

Hello Merry, thanks for dropping by. Next time you read about Sting and Trudie's tantric adventures, you'll think about our anxiety-related version instead of theirs! Ha!

Tina said...

Oh, Swearing Mother, I'm so glad you're back! I'm a bit of a holiday worrier myself, I know its not normal to check your passport about 300 DAMN TIMES to make sure it's still there. But I'm the opposite of a capsule wardrobe - I try to take my entire wardrobe...

The more often you go, the better it will get. That's a very Tantric approach, methinks...

Swearing Mother said...

Tina, you are absolutely correct about the more you go, the easier it should get. I am intending to go off again as soon as funds allow, and before I lose my nerve.

It's been such a relief to find that I am not alone with the holiday angst, like they say "a worry shared is a worry halved" or something like that!

Jo Beaufoix said...

Swearing mum, your man sounds like a

And I agree with RC, more hindsight before the event could prevent so many disasters.

I too am terrified of flying, thanks to a lightening/hole in the wing incident coming back from Corfu about 5 years ago.

Hope you're having a fab time.

Swearing Mother said...

Heck Jo, I am so glad I didn't read about your lightning/hole in the wing experience until I got back on terra firma!

Yeah, my husband puts up with a lot to be honest, but it's a give and take thing.

Thanks so much for visiting.

IsobelMagsBuchan said...

Pleased I made it over! It appears we have a few things in common. I live about 15 miles from Birmingham although the city may as well be a different planet, am a taurean...cusp...same day as HM Queen, hate flying although I am not scared of it, like you can worry for England, suffer from insomnia particularly the week before a holiday and finally I can swear with the best of them.

I am looking forward to reading your older posts.

May I link to you? I like what I have read so far.

Swearing Mother said...

Hi Isobelmagsbuchan! Thanks very much for calling! Yes please do link me. I am really pleased you like my blog.

Have been over to read yours, great stuff!

Best wishes.

Anonymous said...

During my younger years I used to go on a lot of lad’s holidays! Usual places, Magaluf, Ibiza and so on, but during the last couple of years we starting going to the Greek Islands more often, Kos, Zante, Malia were our regular haunts. If you know anything about the Greek police it is that they don’t like speaking English and won’t think twice about hitting you with a baton if they see fit. So I decided to learn Greek, only the basics so if anything kicked off I could communicate with them and hopefully calm the situation! I did it using a book and speaking to some Greek lads from my uni but it could have been quicker using a learning language online software.

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