I can’t believe I’m standing here in my bedroom looking at a pile of dresses strewn across the bed trying to decide what to pack for my holidays. It’s like being a teenager all over again. If I’m not careful I will pack so much stuff that I won’t be able to close my case.
I wonder what Ella is taking, probably just a small holdall if I know her. She’ll think I’m mad to even be worrying about what to take but I don’t want to embarrass her by looking too mumsy.
I’m really looking forward to this holiday with her. It will be lovely to get away from the villa for a couple of weeks. I don’t seem to have had anytime to myself for the past few months what with Martin’s illness and now Sophie and the girls moving in until their house is finished. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining but it will be nice to be away from everything for a while.
Martin is back working in London during the week now and only home for the weekends but he is being a lot more sensible about the traveling. He is only away for three nights a week rather than four and isn’t dashing off for the plane at some unearthly hour on a Monday morning anymore. I’m not sure how long all this will last before he starts slipping back into his old ways, or is that me just being mean?
‘Mum, what are you doing? You’ve got enough clothes out for two months never mind two weeks. I’m sure Ella won’t be worried about what you’re wearing.’ Says Sophie walking into my bedroom carrying a cup of coffee ‘here, I thought that you might need a caffeine hit.’
Thank you darling, I’m getting myself into such a muddle. Do you think that we’ll need to dress for dinner of an evening?’
Sophie stands by the bed laughing at my confusion ‘Do you really think that Ella will have booked hotels that have a dress code. Knowing her you’re more likely to have rooms in B&Bs and little road side inns. You’re probably best to pack lots of cool things for the traveling and a couple of pretty dresses just in case.’
‘You’re right, I’m just being silly, but this is exciting. It’s been ages since I’ve been on holiday. Dad isn’t that keen on going away anymore. He says that he has everything here with the sunshine and the golf and the beaches and I suppose he’s right in a way. After all they were the kind of holidays that we used to take after you girls had left home, golfing trips to the med, a nice hotel for me and a selection of good courses for him. The trouble is I think that I want a bit more than that now. I fancy traveling and site seeing again. Do you remember some of the trips we took when you and Ella were teenagers? Going to see the pyramids in Egypt, that wonderful Caribbean cruise and driving around Italy. We had some wonderful times together.’ I sigh wistfully
‘I remember being stuck in the back of the car with Ella having to listen to Enid Blyton tapes for hours on end while you and Dad argued about how to get out of Florence before the rush hour started.’ Laughed Sophie
‘Oh you rotten thing’ I laugh throwing a cushion at her ‘we had some really lovely holidays. I remember you falling I love with that young waiter in our hotel in Rome. You used to spend hours choosing what to eat so that you could stare at him over the menu. What was his name?’
‘Luigi, Isn’t it funny I’d forgotten all about him. Oh my, he was so handsome and I had such a crush on him.’
‘And didn’t he know it. He used to flirt outrageously with you. I thought that Dad was going to blow his top when he asked if he could take you dancing.’
‘And I was mortified when Dad came over all masterful and said in his most pompous voice ‘do you realise my daughter’s only thirteen’ I’ve never seen a boy move so fast.’ Laughed Sophie, the tears running down her face.
Standing here looking at Sophie I can’t believe the difference in her since she and Alistair decided to move out here to Spain. It’s like having my old daughter back again. She is so happy and relaxed, not at all like the stressed over-worked monster that was out here for her Dad’s birthday. She looks so pretty in her shorts and t-shirt, so carefree and young again. Is it just me or does every woman in a business suit age 10 years?
‘What are you day dreaming about now Mum?’
‘You, my love. You look so happy, I’m so glad you’re here’
‘I’m glad too Mum, it’s the best thing we’ve ever done. I know that I still don’t get to see Alistair as much as I’d like to but hopefully when he transfers to Madrid we’ll at least get to see him every weekend.’
‘And talking of Madrid I’d better get this packing finished before your sister arrives. Are you still OK to collect her from the airport?’
‘Yes it’s all arranged. I’m collecting the girls from school first then driving straight out to the airport. They are so excited about seeing their favourite Auntie again even if is only for one night.’
‘They’ll have plenty of time with her when we get back from our travels, she isn’t due back at work until the end of the month.’
‘I envy you Mum exploring the mountain villages and trips to Toledo and Madrid. You’re going to have such a good time even if you do have to go to that boring conference.’ Said Sophie
‘I think it sounds very interesting’ I say defensively ‘and I’m looking forward to meeting Ella’s friend.’
‘Father Frank? Do you know anything about him?’
‘Only that he’s young, in his first parish and is very committed to his parishioners’.’
Sounds a barrel of laughs’
‘Ella says that he’s really sweet and he’s looking forward to showing us around Madrid after the conference. I’m sure that we’ll have a lovely time I just don’t know what I should call him. I haven’t met that many priest before. Will I have to call him Father?’
Sophie looks at me and laughs ‘I think that you should stop worrying to learn to chill.’
She’s right of course, no more worrying, we’re all going to have a lovely time and I’m going to learn to chill.