Summer Holiday Prices

Readers will know that I have recently returned from a holiday trip to Mallorca. Readers will also know that herself suffers from MS. Because of certain ‘difficulties’, herself has not been able to go for a couple of years now, but we decided to give it a go. Mostly, the trip was OK, but we had some difficulties. For a start, I had not realised how much weaker she had become over the last two years. I do not mean in a disastrous way, but in simple things, like just leaning forward in her wheelchair. Simple things like that can present awkward problems in small ways, such as the simple act of spooning soup from a soup bowl. The wheelchair arms stopped me getting her really close to the table and she could not lean forward properly. I had to help her to dine. Note that I was not bothered about doing so – it was just a matter of ‘trickiness’. For the same reason, it was necessary for her to drink using a straw. One thing led to another, and she became somewhat dehydrated without me realising at first. Once I realised that fact, I was able to correct matters by insisting that she drank at least a litre of water each day, in addition to cups of tea or any drinks we had at the bar that we frequent. My solutions to difficulties that I had anticipated worked really well – it was those that I was unaware of that tripped me up somewhat.

Nevertheless, we had a pleasant time. But the reality is that it was harder work for me than it is at home!

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It just so happens that daughter 2, the teacher breaks up for the summer holidays late in July, but does not herself you away until August. She has agreed to look after B so that I can have a real break for a week or so. I have been checking prices. Last year, in June, I went to our favourite hotel and it cost me about £250 for five days stay – equals around £50 per day. I was quite astonished to find that the cost in mid-July is much higher. Because I am a member of the ‘Loyalty Club’, I can get a discount of some 10%, but even so, the cost will be around £80 per day. That is half-board. Financial, to me, the cost is not important in itself. What bothered me about it is the effect on families with children at school. I calculate that a family of two adults and two children will be paying around £250 per day – £1750 for a week’s holiday in a three star hotel; and that does not include the airfares. Having said that, I noted that Jet 2 holidays can do the same trip in a similar hotel, including air fares, for about the same price.

Even so, £1750 is a big piece of money.

But the huge cruelty, inflicted upon families by The State, is the verbotten of taking holidays in term-time. Would I be wrong in believing that, since The State made it a fine-able offence for parents to take their kids for a week’s holiday in term-time, holiday places have taken advantage by increasing prices in the school summer holiday period? Mallorca and Ibiza are favourite places for Brits. But note also the fact that, should parents say, “Sod it! We’ll take the kids away in May for a week and give them some homework to do while we have a nap, in turns,  in the evening”, they will, in effect, have a ‘criminal record’ of a sort. It would not be a ‘criminal record’ in the sense of appearances in the magistrates court, since the fines are levied by Headmasters. Only if the parents refuse to pay up is the matter taken up by the ‘criminal justice system’, and note that the offence is not then the offence of taking the kids on holiday – the offence is not paying the fine imposed by the headmaster.

But note how ‘consequences’ ensue. What is the real problem here?

Is it not that Headmasters were forced to fine parents? When did Headmasters become ‘law enforcement officers’? The correct people to enforce these laws are the school inspection teams, if they are given that legal authority. Headmasters should not be forced to enter into conflict with parents.

Headmasters have a strong union. I do not understand how that union did not fight, tooth and nail, to stop their members being used as law enforcement officers.

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Is not this political trick being used more and more? Why did publicans accept a duty to enforce the smoking ban? “Ah”, you might say, “but publicans have accepted the legal duty to stop serving alcohol at given times, and this is no different”. But it IS different. “Licensed hours” apply to everyone – smoking bans apply only to smokers.

There was a time when publicans were forced to comply with ‘drinking up’ times – 20 minutes after ‘last orders’. Almost no one bothered about it. The publican shouted, “Drink up, please”, but no one bothered, and there were no consequences. The only time that I have seen any problems regarding ‘drinking up’ was in a motor hotel in the South. Our family, about ten of us, wined and dined, at some expense, in the pub attached to the hotel. The pub was not actually part of the hotel, but was ‘intimately connected’ to the hotel. Last orders were at 11pm. At 11.20pm precisely, the staff of the hotel/pub started to seriously harass us to finish our drinks and get out. When we pointed out that we were guests in the hotel, the situation did not change. At one point, matters started to become really dodgy when staff started to try to grab and remove glasses against our will. It was, to me, as a Northerner, unbelievable that “mine host” could turn into an ogre on the stroke of 11.20pm. But a similar thing happened elsewhere ‘down South’. We were residents of an hotel. In this case, the bar was in the hotel. Normally, hotel bars are exempt from the licencing hours to some extent. But what happened was, again, the sort of thing that only happens in the South. A few minutes after 11pm I was refused drinks at the bar. The fact that herself and I were residents made no difference.

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I do not really blame the individual employees, or indeed the hotel/pub owners. The only people to blame are the puritanical, totalitarian, fascist MPs. Make no mistake. ONLY MPs have the power to make laws. The likes of Andrew Black and various other agitators have no power, but for some reason that I do not understand, they mesmerise politicians into becoming puritanical, totalitarian fascists. But it is also likely that some 50 MPs stood at the last general election pretending to be conservatives, labour or liberal, when, in fact, they were health zealots. It only takes 50 or so zealots to shout, “FOR THE CHILDREN!!” over and over again for other MPs to sneak away. Is it not weird that our MPs will use their power to kill hundred of our young soldiers but have not the courage to oppose a few ‘FOR THE CHILDREN’ health zealots?

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It is strange to go from the activities of a few healthist, puritanical, totalitarian, fascist MPs to holiday costs, but it seems to me that all these things are connected. Is it not true that, as soon as some government department pronounces upon the dangers of fat in our diets, some smart-arse commercial organisation will produce an advert on TV claiming that its products contain ‘less’ fat? There are some very, very clever buggers in advertising who will grab any advantage that they can see.

Do schools teach children to be aware of the iniquities of advertisers? MOST DEFINITELY NOT! And yet, one would think that adverts would be perfect for teachers to refer to to show how reality can be skewed. “YOU’LL LOOK A LITTLE LOVELIER EACH DAY, WITH FABULOUS PINK CAMAY”. [Camay was a bar of soap]

“Divide et impera” is in full swing, and no one recognises it. The Headmasters union kowtowed and accepted the unpaid law enforcement duties of its members. And the Headmasters quivered.

Publicans accepted their duties to enforce the smoking ban, and they quivered.

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The lesson for us PETS (People who Enjoy Tobacco) is that our best endeavours should be targeted at harrying the Zealots. But what would be more effective would be to harry MPs.

We have yet to discover an effective way to do that. Supporting UKIP is one way, but it is very indirect. Perhaps the answer is to ‘let it develop’, which was the mantra of a friend of mine who was involved in the chemical industry. ‘Let it develop’ means ‘let it go to the maximum’. Only when the Zealots reach the maximum will it start to collapse. It has always been so.

In the meantime, we PETS have no option but to ‘push and shove’.

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I have in mind to examine the CVs of some MPs who are zealots. I doubt that the investigation will reveal much, but it is possible to discover associations with ASH, for example.What I am interested in is discovering ulterior motives for standing as MPs. In my own mind, I HAVE NO DOUBT AT ALL that some people, especially doctors, stood as MP candidates to further the agenda of tobacco control.

It is that sort of person who  treats parents as mere carers, who cannot be trusted to treat their children to a holiday in term-time, or trust the parents to give their children tuition in that period of time. Curiously, the tuition involved might be simple ‘table manners’ in an unusual situation.

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What is obvious is that parents should not worry. They should not make excuses in advance. They should go on holiday, with their kids and not bother. If Headmaster complains, say nothing other than platitudes. The Headmaster has agreed to become your enemy. It follows therefore that you are the Headmaster’s enemy. It is his/her fault if your kid does not achieve the best grades. It is HIS/HER FAULT.

Not only that, but there is a question of SECRECY involved. How much anti-alcohol, anti-fat, anti-tobacco activities in government are going on it secret? We are not talking about national security or terrorism. We are talking about innocuous amusement.

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I SHALL have my trip to Mallorca, regardless of the cost. I can afford it and I can let others argue about comparative costs. “Relativity” works both both ways.

 

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2 Responses to “Summer Holiday Prices”

  1. The Blocked Dwarf Says:

    Junican, uncannily I am in that exact same position of ‘needing a holiday to recover from the holiday’ as I type this- sitting in Father-in-Law’s kitchen in northern Germany. The Absolute Bestes Wife In The Whole Wide World is a paranoid psychotic and I care for her 24/7. At home everything is conciously or unconciously ‘set up’ so as to allow her to keep to her routine, to perform the daily little rituals so important to a psychotic etc. Here on holiday however there is a coinstant stream of small incidents,, of things that scare her…and trust me, you do NOT want a scared paranoid psychotic cos that’s when bad things happen…

    As you say, the little things can be so tiring, Having to switch tables thrice in a restuarant because of the way the shadow falls across the table or having to walk the ‘ugly’ way instead of the ‘pretty’ way on our evening stroll. Having to tell her it is safe for her to answer the phone when it rings.

    To make matters even worse, driving here from Budapest, I managed to kill my car and so we will have to fly back to the UK…and even I find RyanAir scary…Lord alone knows how The Bestes Wife will cope…my stomach will be knotted the whole time. One memorable flight she SCREAMED in terror the whole hour-much to the delight of the other passengers and crew.

    *wishes he could go off on holiday on his own too*

    • Junican Says:

      Different reasons but similar outcomes.
      One of the most difficult things to do is to keep your cool. It is very easy to let yourself get wound up and depressed. I have found, over the years, that it is massively important to have a certain level of detachment.
      About a decade ago, I began to sink, but a thought occurred to me which was this:
      Regarding the question of looking after herself, I asked myself these questions:
      “Does it hurt?” The answer is “No”.
      “Is it difficult?” The answer is “No”.
      “Does it take a long time?” The answer is “No”.

      So, I said to myself, “JUST DO IT!”

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