The Airbnb next door has recently reopened after lockdown and once again the joyful cries of excited kids can be heard in the garden. Sometimes (do I dare admit this?) I find it the tiniest bit irritating and I start getting thoughts like ‘Why do kids have to shriek?’ and ‘If they kick that ball against the fence one more time I’m going to seriously lose my shit!’
At times like this I have to tell myself that holidays are exciting and kids will naturally be more noisy and hyper than they are at home. I have to remind myself how much I hated being told to be quiet when I was having fun. Most of all, I have to remember what I was like as a kid on holiday – especially when it rained all the time and I had to make my own entertainment.
I remember a holiday in Swanage (‘Gem of the Dorset Coast’, as it said in the brochure) when I got a sort of random impromptu clown act going. My mother had bought me a Harold Hare bendy toy as part of my costume for the fancy dress competition (I was a Bunny Girl, of all inappropriate things, but that’s another story). One boring afternoon (it was raining, so no swimming) I devised a game that had me hiding at the top of the stairs and chucking Harold down into the hotel lobby to surprise people passing through. No one else found it funny, and the manager definitely didn’t find it funny when Harold got stuck under the revolving door and no one could get in or out.
Another game in another hotel (Ilfracombe this time) involved seeing how many times I could go all the way up and down in the lift without stopping. When it did eventually stop there was an angry little crowd of people outside waiting to use it. The manager grabbed my arm, yanked me out and told me what a horrible little nuisance I was.
So I shouldn’t get irritated when kids make a racket next door. It’s probably just karma.
If your summer holiday has turned into a wet washout that’s driving the kids to delinquency, you may like to check out my middle grade novel The Slapstyx. This magical seaside adventure might just keep them occupied for a few hours!