A few weeks back it was my birthday and I was stuck in A-Z hell with flu to boot and nearly broken wrists from too much typing.
" What do you want for your birthday?" My Mother asked during my trauma.
" Nothing." I fibbed. "Sleep, paracetamol and a month at a desert island would be good."
" I think I need a holiday soon...would you like to go away?"
" Yes, that would be nice." I replied, thinking how funny it was that my Mum always managed to get involved in my gifts.
" Well, it can't be anything expensive! I'm already going away in June." She retorted like I'd demanded this when it was her idea. I felt somewhat confused.
"Well we don't have to go away then! " I said, fully knowing that this would not be an option now the travel bug was firmly planted in her mind. " But, if we do..I want quiet. Sun, peace, no kids or ravers, no drama, just serenity. That's my only prerequisite."
At 4am yesterday we made our way to the airport to travel to a Greek island called Zante.
As I stood in the queue at airport security I peered at my Mother through sleepy eyes and noticed something different about her. This usual blue eyed, platinum blonde woman had suddenly grown VERY dark brown eyebrows.
"Err... Mother, what's happened to your eyes?"
" Don't! I got conned into having them tinted by the eyebrow threading lady and now I look like bloody Joan Crawford!"
"Kind of appropriate." I remarked. She belted me on the arm and I suddenly woke up a bit.
" Exactly where are we staying Mommy dearest?" I asked her.
My Mum has a unique way of hiding as much information as possible from me, taking control freak to a whole new level.
" I don't know, somewhere beginning with C I think. It sounds like a fish dish."
Turns out it was Kalamaki and not Calamari.
I swear to God that planes get smaller. My knees were pressing into the seat in front and I was squished up right next to the window as the holiday revellers packed themselves on. I spent three hours, fifteen minutes and twelve seconds sat in front of three children who managed to scream and shout Every.Single.Second. of the journey. Even my Sony padded headphones belting out David Guetta, at ear bleeding volume, could not drown them out. I vowed there and then to save up for the most expensive noise reduction headphones. I left the plane frazzled but into the warmth of much needed glorious sunshine.
We made our way to coach 13 to get taken to our holiday apartment. This too was filling with people. Behind us sat a lady and her grumpy Father who was in his seventies.
"Dad, take your sweater off its too hot." She said.
"Oh, go on with you, I'm not stripping on a coach. I shall be the judge of whether I' m too hot or not." He grumbled.
"But Dad, you've got so many layers on you'll be sweating and it's not healthy." The caring daughter protested.
"Oh be done with you! I'm not sweating. I'm not fussed. Stop going on, leave me be woman! And how long do we have to wait on this bus? Could have been to England and back already, it's ridiculous." He chuntered.
" Why are you being so grumpy?" She asked.
" I'm not. It's your fault for going on." He snapped.
I looked at my Mother and said, " You better not get like that or I 'll wrap you in a hundred sweaters on purpose."
He continued to moan like a miserable old scroat until he was suddenly upstaged by new arrivals to the coach load.
"Presturn! (Preston) Summmaaa!(Summer) Rhiannugh! ( Rhianna) . Gerrron't bloody bus for I batter ya1" Screeched the well composed Mother of three small toddlers.
Oh deep and rapturous joy. I' m not a snob. I' m not judgemental, I lied to myself.
" Presturn! You little sod, go and pick that dummeh ( dummy) up nah (now). And Summmaaa, stop mitherin' me and sit down. Pack up right nah for I ' effin' knock ya t' other side of this bus! " She bellowed.
"Tch! Damn disgraceful. Not in my day." Said grumpy, sweaty old Dad from behind us.
I felt like I was stuck somewhere between an episode of Shameless and Little Britain. I turned to my Mother who was giggling in her seat.
"Mother." I said as calmly as possible given I was on the verge of suicide. " I do believe I was quite specific on my caveat of peace and quiet and if these people get off at our complex, I'm going home."
Now I usually leave my country somewhat proud and always blow a kiss to it as I make for the aeroplane steps. " See you soon Blighty." I say out loud as I make for pastures new. As the plane takes off I marvel at the beauty of the tapestry fields and vast greenery and truly believe there is no finer place on Earth. And then these kind of people shatter my illusions and I want to be an American with a hand gun. We fondly refer to them over here as the RAF group. No, not the military version but more the Rough As Fuck, type.
"English?" Asked the Greek bus driver as he counted his passengers from hell.
"No. Norwegian." I lied.