Holiday without Mother in the Welsh Brecon Beacons

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Our plan is to holiday in the Brecon Beacons

I am co-chairing with my wife a family meeting to discuss the battle plans for the week-long holiday which we’re about to take in the Brecon Beacons without Mother.

I am co-chair in name only, of course, because my wife has made all the decisions already and my only job as co-chair is tell the children to shut up if they interrupt her while she explains what she’s decided we’re going to do.

While some men might find this family governance model troublesome I don’t and nor do the kids, because we’ve learnt that when things need to get done my wife has Superpowers and the rest of us are just muggles.

It isn’t that I can’t organize things but just that when I do they end up half-cocked, like the time I bought plane tickets to the wrong country. The fact that I had booked us to land at Faro in Portugal which is not far from Seville in Spain where we actually wanted to go didn’t make a blind bit of difference to the family’s scorn.   

I’ve booked holidays to the wrong place

‘That Geography A level worked out really well for you, didn’t it, Dad?’ said my son.

I made my wife speechless once when she discovered I had booked flights during school term time.

‘Did you just forget I work at a school? Didn’t you think to check with me?’ she said.

Back at the Brecon Beacons board meeting everything is running to schedule until my son interrupts as my wife is talking about hill walking options from the cottage.

‘Where exactly is the Brecon Beacons?’

‘Questions at the end, please.’  

‘In Wales,’ says my daughter, ignoring my attempt as co-chair to prevent interruptions.  

‘Where’s that?’ says my son, who didn’t do Geography GCSE.

‘It doesn’t matter where it is. You should be grateful you’re going on holiday at all,’ I say.

‘Your attitude is so typical of a Boomer. You just expect me to go along with whatever you decide.’

My wife says everyone is allowed to have questions.   

‘What is it you really want to know?’ she asks.

Why are Gen Z only interested in the WIFI?

‘Is there WIFI?’

‘Typical Gen Z attitude,’ I huff.

‘WIFI’s pretty important you know that’s why Boris Johnson talks about it all the time,’ he replies.

‘I’ve checked and the house does have WIFI and I’m taking dongles just in case,’ says my wife.

As always, my wife has defused a potential problem.  This is what great leaders do. She is our Xi Jinping and we are her devoted National People’s Congress. The children give her a spontaneous round of applause to show their admiration for her planning skills.

With WIFI off the table as a potential deal breaker, my wife guides the meeting onto the next agenda item: food. I suggest we buy everything from the local shops to support the local economy. My wife isn’t sure there are any local shops.

Welsh shopkeepers are kidnapping English tourists

My son believes English tourists are being kidnapped and ransomed by local Welsh shopkeepers because they have centuries of unresolved grievances against us and because we are bringing Covid to their communities. My daughter thinks he’s confusing fact with the fictional shopkeepers in the League of Gentlemen, the TV series.

He insists there’s a rumour on Snapchat that Welsh shop keepers particularly dislike Londoners, which makes us prime targets, so we should stay away from local shops altogether and get our food from an Ocado delivery, instead.

‘Does the risk of kidnapping mean we can’t go to the pub?’ I ask, wondering if there is any point to going on holiday if you can’t drink at the local pub.

‘Perhaps we could just have a holiday dedicated to walking and talking, not drinking and eating,’ says my wife turning to my daughter, who winks back at her.

‘But isn’t it our national duty to ‘eat out to help out’?’ I say.  

‘Not if the locals are anti-English kidnappers,’ says my son.

When does the Eat out to Help Out scheme start?

‘In any case, the ‘eat out’ scheme doesn’t start until August,’ says my wife.

‘What will Granny eat while we’re away?’ asks my daughter.

‘The cat,’ says my son.

I tell them I’ve asked my brother to live here while we are away and that he will take care of the cooking and everything else for her. When I say this they suck in their breath. They are weighing up if it would be safer for Granny, who hates holidays, to risk being kidnapped by shop keepers in Wales or driven mad by a week spent with my brother, who isn’t the most reliable of people.

‘Are you sure about this,’ says my wife.

‘Holiday without Mother?’ I say.

‘No, your brother staying in our house.’

‘What’s the worst he can do?’

‘Burn the house down?’

I wish I could reject this idea out of hand. But I can’t. And I can’t help wondering if I shouldn’t have consulted with my wife before I booked my brother.

Published by Man in the Middle

This is the diary of a man balancing the needs of his aged Mother and family as they struggle with multi-generational living. It's about what happens to your life when your Mother moves in.

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