The parental unit has taken itself off to England this week. I think they’re growing up – at the age of 50-something, they’ve decided that they’ve had enough of insane holidays in sunny holiday resorts, drinking their bodyweight in sangria and sleeping off hangovers by the pool. Bravo, mum and dad! I’m so proud. So, they now feel the need to “see and experience everything”. Last year, this meant the Alps, log cabins and a variety of pungent cheeses. This year, it’s Stonehenge and, err… whatever else there is to see in that general area (I may not have been paying much attention). I got a text from mum last night, happily informing me that they were “listening to jazz band on pier”.
So, it seems the times are a-changin’. Gone are the days when the furthest they’d walk was to the bar. I’ll never forget that classic holiday moment when, at some sort of tribute band night involving a Michael Jackson impersonator, dad decided to show off his moonwalking skills. He’d consumed a vat of whisky by that stage, and once he found his rhythm he seemed to find it difficult to get stopped. The unfortunate consequence of this was that, as he was moving backwards and therefore couldn’t see where he was going, he moonwalked with great gusto into the ladies’ toilets. It was rather embarrassing. Still, it’s probably one of those things you need to get out of your system at some point in your life.
To be fair, Sister and myself did develop a mild obsession with Butlin’s sexy redcoats in our early teens, thus dooming mum and dad to a Groundhog Day-like existence for several years, with any hopeful suggestions of a family holiday in the South of France greeted with dismayed wails of “But we wanna go to Butttttliiiinnnnn’s!”. It was our fault, when you think about it. We forced them into a repeated holiday nightmare of getting drunk in holiday camp themed ‘family’ pubs. So accustomed did they become to this definition of ‘holiday’, that they were for many years unable to break the pattern, finding themselves drawn to alcohol-soaked foreign holiday resorts like immigrants to O’Kane’s chicken factory.
Starved of culture and intellectual stimulation for so many years as a result of their selfless parenting, it’s perfectly understandable that they want to spend their years of new-found freedom staring at big piles of rocks.