The battered looking object above is called The Holiday Book.
Actually, it’s called ‘Terry’s Holiday Book’, because it was Terry who started it: those of you with very long memories indeed may recall this post, in which I provided some extracts from Terry’s Holiday Journal: Tenerife 2010, along with some artfully filtered photos which I obviously thought were The Bomb at the time, but which quite blatantly aren’t – sorry about that. In the years since that post was written, however, Terry not only continued to keep his holiday journal (now in something like its 3rd edition), he also opened it up to the rest of the family.
I’m sure Terry would argue that he did this in order to get different perspectives on the important subject of our holidays, but actually it was because he got sick of having to sit and write a journal entry every night of a vacation, so he’d push it over to me and say, “Here, you’re the writer, YOU do it.” Then, on trips where my parents happened to be present, I’d hand it on to my mum and tell HER to do it. (The book never made it to my dad, for some reason: if it did, though, I’d imagine it would simply contain long lists of everything he bought, plus details of how much each item cost. What can I say, the man likes to shop…)
Anyway, as well as writing a quick journal entry every night when we’re on holiday (Yeah, OK, sometimes we miss a night … or five… and then have to backdate it), we also collect little random souvenirs from our trips, which we stick into the pages, a bit like a really crappy scrapbook. It’s mostly stuff like restaurant cards, receipts and suchlike, but we find it interesting to look back on it every so often, and it means that a lot of the little random things that would otherwise be totally forgotten get to be recorded – like the strange things our SatNav says:
(The SatNav is called ‘Marnica’ – she was named during our first trip to LA, when she repeatedly referred to Santa Monica Boulevard as “Santa Marnica Boulevard” – because she can say “boulevard”, but not “Monica”, apparently. So we named her Monica, but you have to say ‘Marnica’, obviously, or she won’t understand you.)
Or the time ducks started appearing in my bathroom during a trip to Flordia in 2012 (Black text mine, red text added by Terry later: by which I mean he originally wrote it in black, too, but I’ve used red in my transcription so you can tell which bits he added – I suspect you’d probably have guessed anyway, though…)
Day 11 – Monday 18/6/12
Woke up to find a 3rd duck in my bathroom. This one is polka dotted. The perp obviously knows me well: these are no random ducks.
Up at 7am for 8am departure. Terry almost hysterical with the effort of organising McNaughts into military precision. Today is his birthday. He is like, so sexy and hot, I can’t believe he is only 29! Made reasonably good time getting to Universal, and were rushed through the parking lot and Islands of Adventure by Drill Sergeant Terry, who was obviously some kind of evil dictator in a previous life. But deep down I thank God he knows everything. Park absolutely crammed with people. We joined a slow moving wall of flesh headed to Harry Potter Land. We were with these Muggles all day – felt like everyone in the state picked that day to go to Harry Potter Land.
Got to Hogsmeade Village: it is absolutely stunning – definitely the best looking park I’ve been to, although we didn’t get to see too much of it as Terry had forbidden us from stopping for more than a few seconds at a time…
(Please excuse my terrible handwriting: I really wish it was all Pinterest-y and pretty, but the truth is that I write by hand so rarely these days that when I do pick up a pen, it feels a bit like leaning to walk again…)
OK, so the ducks thing DID get recorded in my blog, but these posts also helpfully illustrate the, er, precision with which Terry likes to manage family days out, don’t you think? Here is what my mum had to say on the matter of The Ducks:
19th June 2012
Woke up to accusation that I had somehow managed to lock Amber’s bathroom door from the inside. I am totally innocent of this particular ‘crime’. Eating breakfast when Amber announced that another duck had appeared in her bathroom. The ducks now number 4, and the mystery remains, well… a mystery. “
Just in case you think Terry’s level of organisation sounds unreasonable, however, bear in mind that the man basically spends family holidays herding cats, as evidenced by this entry, from our trip to Miami (My mum is Norma and my dad is John, just in case it wasn’t clear…):
Waiting on The McNaughts getting ready to go to Vizcaya.
Amber is faffing with plaster [Band Aid, presumably for a blister…] and asking Norma if she can ‘get away’ with that dress.
John is faffing with an attempt to purchase tickets to Jools Holland in Edinburgh.
I am ready.
John is now applying Jungle Juice. Amber walks to the laptop and starts typing vigorously, probably blogging about the blister thing or something.
Norma is now telling us that Jungle Juice is the best: going by the number of bites on her and John, the stuff works really well.
Amber and John have now left the faffing area and gone to faff in their own rooms. Norma waits until they have gone, turns around to me with her waistband stretched out to reveal several spare inches, and says, “See this? I can eat as many pies as I like!”
John has now left the house to advance faff in the car.
Amber proclaims she is “ready”. Norma has now disappeared to look for her hat.
I am waiting at the door. Norma is the last of my flock still missing. She strides out of her room, rocket red hat in place and says, “Are we all ready to go, then?” I say yes, because I don’t have the heart to tell her that John is not wearing his red outfit today and that she should really have a brown hat to match his shirt.
At last we leave.
Anyway! The reason I’m showing you this today is that I HAD planned to line up some advance posts to cover my holiday, but having to write an entire month’s worth of content for my two other blogs made that pretty much impossible. (Also made me lose my mind, but that’s a whole other story.) I DID write a few posts in advance, which you’ll be seeing soon, but the problem with having a “personal” blog is that you can’t exactly go and live your life in advance, just so you can line up posts for your blog, can you? So I figured that instead of trying to bend the time-space continuum to my will, I’m basically just going to blog the Holiday Book instead, by posting extracts from the ‘California 2015’ entries we’ll be writing whenever I have the time.
And, I mean, I’d probably have done something like that anyway – this blog may be monetised, but it’s also still my hobby, which means that I actually WANT to update it while I’m away – but I just thought I’d mention it so you don’t all abandon ship for the next few weeks, thinking I won’t be posting or something. I very much will be – and I’ll also be Snapchatting (ForeverAmberUK), and Instagramming and Tweeting and all that jazz*, so, you know, business as usual, basically. So I hope you’ll stick around…
*There will be no jazz. Sorry.