Brace your­selves, it’s time for a hol­i­day

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - OPINION - with Er­ica Neustadt of Change4Chal­font

‘Any­one got the charger? Where’s my cam­era? How many pairs of shorts? Give me your wash­ing now or not at all’.

And so our sum­mer hol­i­days be­gin. After months of prepa­ra­tion, hours of brows­ing the web for good deals and fun things to do, many of us are trav­el­ling down the tun­nel to­wards that tan­ta­lis­ing light, which can, as time gets short, be­come ever more threat­en­ing.

Why did I in­vite peo­ple for sup­per last night when I have barely enough time to throw to­gether eggs on toast? Why did the car break down last week so that it has to go to the garage this week, just when I need it? Why is it such a has­sle to go on hol­i­day, when I used to get home from work on a Fri­day night, bung some stuff in a bag, and be out by 8 o’clock for the 11 o’clock ferry?

‘Has any­one de-flea’d the cats? Do the chick­ens need clean­ing out? Who will wa­ter whilst we are away?

Has any­one else in South Buck­ing­hamshire just smashed a full bot­tle of olive oil over the kitchen floor be­cause they are whizzing about too much and it slipped from their hands? Ah. Just me, then’.

But when you ac­tu­ally AC­TU­ALLY leave the house and fi­nally shut the door (al­though there was the fa­mous time, about 10 years ago, when we left for France leav­ing the front door wide open.....our neigh­bours thought for at least two days that we were still here) it’s not so much the go­ing away and the (hope­fully) nice place and good food which make a great hol­i­day, it’s the liv­ing in the mo­ment with your favourite peo­ple, catch­ing up on how things are, hav­ing more time to lis­ten and to laugh; re­mem­ber­ing why you care about them so deeply.

Our lives are so fre­netic that some­times we can be­come just co-work­ers or roof­shar­ers rather than a fam­ily; you can for­get to ask how every­one’s day has been or get frus­trated rather than con­cerned when some­one is rather quiet, and plays with their din­ner in­stead of eat­ing it.

So here’s to a few weeks in which time slows down, pri­or­i­ties re-ad­just, re­la­tion­ships are fos­tered and mem­o­ries made. I will try to live my sum­mer mind­fully.

‘It’s 2 o’clock in the morn­ing and we leave in five min­utes. Why is now a good time to say you have lost your pass­port??’

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