OUR summer vacation was supposed to be an idyllic train ride through the Swiss Alps, but Covid-19 instead sent my wife and I to the Isle of Wight.
Sailing a body of water in a boat and it almost feels like going abroad – well, that was the point – and it was a bliss to be away for a week after such a long confinement.
That said, the 2021 Isle of Wight trip, with stops to visit family in London and Bournemouth along the way, will be remembered for three very disturbing reasons.
The first arrived around the start of the holiday when we stopped for fish and chips on the balcony of a harbor cafe in Poole Quay. So far our marriage has been built on the important premise that I always get half of my wife’s fish and chips because she can never handle a full serving. For more than three decades, I have taken comfort in knowing that even when I have finished my own fish and chips, there is always more to come from the other side of the table.
But with my wife now a seasoned grandmother, she broke this centuries-old tradition by telling the waiter to my horror, “I think I’m just going to have the ‘Seniors’ fish and chips.”
WHAT? SENIORS? I almost choked on hearing the word. It might be half the price, but it’s also half the size – and she laughed at everything. A few leftovers were all that was left on her plate, and I couldn’t hide my disappointment.
To make matters worse, I also fed on leftovers when it comes to crazy golf. Ms. B and I enjoyed rounds of mini-golf throughout our stay together, and generally came out triumphant.
Not this time. We played five times, on different courses during the holidays, and she won four games to one. As if to rub it, on the last course at Shanklin, she ended up with a hole-in-one that triggered a horn with the price of a free game.
Considering that a round of crazy golf at Shanklin now costs £ 7 apiece (compared to the 10pence my brother and I paid on our family vacation to the island half a century ago), it It’s a worthwhile prize, but I had been beaten in the submission and couldn’t be bothered to play again.
Losing the extra fish and chips and then the mini-golf is bad enough, but the most disturbing part of the vacation happened in the bedroom on our last night on the island.
I had had a restless night and must have had a bad dream. I woke up after reaching the bedside table and injected a sip of hand sanitizer into my mouth.
Do not ask me why. Maybe I was thirsty and thought it was a bottle of water. Maybe this pandemic, with all the confusing public safety messages, has caught me in the skin. All I know for sure is that the hand sanitizer tastes horrible.
Realizing what I had done, I ran to the bathroom in the dark, throwing up on the way, then spitting out the remnants of the hand sanitizer in the sink, and spending the next hour trying to prevent my tonsils from itching with a glass of cold water.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the holidays, but parts of it left a really bad taste.
THE THINGS THEY SAY
A couple of archives …
JOYCE Elliot, president of the Durham Ladies’Club, recalled the moment her son, Graeme – six at the time – came home from school and announced: “We have a lot of spelling to learn and, if we understand them well, Mrs. Evans is going to give us a candy.
Then his tone lowered as he added, “But, mom, how do you spell woebetideya?”
Eight-year-old DAMIAN was brought home from school to Middleham with his friend Peter, sitting next to him.
“Mom, what exactly does a condom look like?” Damien asked.
Embarrassed as she was, her mother thought she had better tell the truth and launched into a pragmatic explanation.
After she was done, there was a silent pause and the mother glanced in her rearview mirror to see a puzzled look on the boys’ faces.
“Oh,” Damien said. “Peter thought he was some kind of big bird.