On holidays the camera never lies, but the photographer sometimes does.
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Once again this year I carefully selected my favourite photographs of our holiday to showcase on Facebook. Funnily enough I didn’t take any pictures of the less than memorable moments, and like any family holiday, there were quite a lot of them. Our recent getaways have been peppered with illness, car breakdowns and near death experiences but sadly I didn’t have my camera to hand just then. There was also the obligatory shouting at the kids and spousal arguments over the directions all of which I’m not going to talk about.
It cannot be possible that we are alone in this, I’m pretty sure that everybody has secrets about their holidays, events that they’d rather not remember and would certainly not post pictures of on social media. We tend to filter out the worst images and pretend life is glossy which, according to the clever people who do research, leaves other people feeling depressed and inadequate. So to bolster you up and make you feel a bit better, here’s the alternative but ‘fuller picture’ version of our recent getaways, as inspired by a visit to my dear cousin, who shall remain anonymous to protect her identity.
We lie about the way we look
We had a good laugh my cousin (who, like Emma Thompson, is beautiful in real life), our husbands and I, about how the pictures really would look like if we had been brave enough to share them. Their’s had been a particularly disastrous trip this time, ending in broken bones, a torn ligament and a lost tooth. She looked not unlike Nanny McPhee for a couple of days. Sadly I couldn’t persuade her to update her Facebook profile with a true and accurate image.
The day she lost her tooth co-incided with us losing our clutch en-route to the airport to fetch them (neither of them was fit to drive with their assortment of leg injuries). The good news is it is possible to drive with a dodgy, sometimes non existent clutch if you know how, as my husband does, and so we even managed to drive a further 184 miles, through the rugged Highlands of Scotland right up to the outer extremities of the Isle of Skye.
Car break downs reminded me of our previous holiday…
…which was in South Africa, when the car we were driving sprang a leak in a part of the cooling system so we had call the break down service from the side of a busy road. With our bonnet standing open and my kids thinking it was hilarious to dance and wave a safe distance from the verge, hundreds of people drove merrily by and waved back.
The tow truck driver, when he finally arrived, was a young yawning fellow wearing socks with his slippery rubber slip-ons -ideal tow truck footwear! I had prayed to be rescued but now I was praying for an upgrade in my saviour’s dress code. He complained how tired he was after working such a long shift, I upped my prayers. The car we were driving was my husband’s cousin’s Toyota Land Cruiser which is the weight of a small elephant (tonne or so). It was winched up onto the truck and we took our seats in the tow truck cab, mere centimetres, through the back window, in front of the grille of our own car. On the return trip to the garage the tired fellow in slippery shoes drove the truck at the maximum speed limit while at the same time demonstrating his obviously talented elbow driving technique. It’s a bit difficult driving with your hands if you’re busy WhatsApping your mates planning the coming weekend’s alcoholic oblivion.
There were no seatbelts in the cab, we were squeezed onto a vinyl covered bench, one of my buttocks was threatening to be pressed against the neighbouring one of our driver but I refused it permission. My knuckles were white with, not only fear, but also from trying my best to stay on the seat when we careered around the corners. I had no intention of sliding over onto his lap. And I genuinely thought we would all die that evening.
From near death to simple illnesses and back again
However, moving on from broken down cars-on-holidays, to other cheerful stories. For the first three days of our recent trip to Scotland our youngest child ran a temperature, was vomiting and hardly ate so when her neck swelled up on the fourth day, we took her to the doctor. He reassured us that her bug had passed and the swollen glands were healthy and good signs of that being the case. I was dubious but he was right, thankfully. On our previous holiday she had an ear infection and combined with a wax blockage but because we only spent a few days in each place, we had to visit two different doctors and an ENT specialist to finally get it all cleared up.
I’m looking forward to a holiday when we don’t have to visit a mechanic or a doctor.
Then on this trip there was a moment when I thought I would die again. My feet went out from beneath me on a slippery rock, I landed flat on my back and my head just missed smacking the rock by centimetres. I was out of view of my kids and my husband was at the mechanic (oh yes, I told you that already). Thankfully I was only bruised with a headache and had whiplash for a few days, I was a grateful but cranky, stiff-necked woman.
So sadly I cannot show you any candid snap shots of my husband unsuccessfully trying to hitch-hike home, my child lying limp and sweaty on the couch or me lying face up in a puddle, perhaps those are memories I’d rather not keep or repeat. The only thing they are good for is talking about afterwards. One thing is for sure, our holidays certainly don’t lack adventure.
I can show you a few made up images, thanks to stock imagery:
What are some of your most disastrous holiday memories and are you brave enough to share your worst photos?
++For more articles on travelling with kids, here’s a post I wrote about camping in Normandy, France, another about a trip to South Africa and a further one about some tips on travelling with children.++