I am sat writing this in a lovely big kitchen in the house that I have rented in the Belgian countryside. I spent the whole night before last lying awake in bed worrying that I was plunging my little family into a week of misery, that I was doing a holiday to us, instead of planing a glorious time away.
I was blessed with an inheritance from my late Nanna recently. I cleared all of my debts, bought dribble face some new car seats, bought a new hoover (all of the sensible things that we needed to make life more bearable) and I decided that I would take us on holiday.
My usual criteria for a holiday is to go as far as I possibly can from the UK, to somewhere as hot as possible. However with a ten month old baby in tow it has changed everything. I decided that we should take the car to avoid massive luggage charges for the hundred thousand things that babies need at all times, and to take the car.
Lovely boyfriend had only ever left the UK once before, eight years ago to Bordeaux, so I wanted him to see another country of the world. I needed no mosquitoes, not too hot, not too long of a drive (I have driven abroad before, but even in the UK when I am driving lovely boyfriend clutches the edges of his seat and pumps an imaginary break, so he was driving and never had on the wrong side of the road before) and plenty of access to fromage frais.
I have never needed criteria like this for a holiday before. We realised that with our life commitments that we needed to travel Tuesday to Tuesday. I started searching the internet for somewhere that would let us book from Tuesday etc…. (this was a MASSIVE ball ache as people do not like you to travel on a Tuesday)
I booked the house that I am sat in now and informed lovely boyfriend that we were going, that it would be great and that he would have a fun time.
Then the panic started.
I hadn’t even asked Lovely boyfriend if he wanted to go abroad. What if he hadn’t been since because he didn’t like it? Just because I love to travel doesn’t mean that he does too.
Is travelling with a ten month old a stupid idea? Should we just stay at home and go for day trips to the local garden center so that he can look at the fish and eat a mini milk? Those are his best things ever right now. What if they don’t have mini milks in Belgium?
I had booked us on a Dover to Callais ferry. We would obviously be stuck in endless traffic and have migrants throwing themselves at our car the whole time due to the GB sticker on the back. What if we didn’t like Belgium. Neither of us can speak Dutch or French (lovely boyfriend has been walking around shouting “Je m’appelle baguette!” and “crepe!” but I don’t think that counts). Do they even want to go on holiday?
Thankfully it turns out my fears were totally unfounded. We drove the back roads to Dover, there was no traffic, we were two hours early. They put us on the next ferry, which left five minutes later. We were one of the first cars off the ferry, there were no queues and nobody threw themselves at our car. We had picked up the keys for the house after an hour and an hour later we had been to the supermarket, filled the fridge and settled in.
Belgium is lovely, we are in the middle of farms (they are all spreading manure at the moment, but that is not the end of the world.). They have the same supermarkets here as at home, we have the same fromage frais.
I have noticed that our son is the messiest, most crumb producing human alive. I now marvel at anyone who has children without dogs and does not live in a pile of crumbs. I think I am going to have to spend much more time than I had anticipated cleaning on this holiday.
We have only been here for nineteen hours, we have spent quite a lots of those hours sleeping and cleaning up crumbs, but I am yet to find any good rum. We bought weird (disgusting) beer and there was no cider at the supermarket. We may have to drink outside of our usual comfort zone this holiday. Just as long as I can find some sort of alcohol to please lovely boyfriend (I am MUCH less picky, they have gin, I am fine) I think that this holiday is going to be just fine.