When I was eight or so, we went for a weekend at the seaside, and for the three-hour journey I was looking after my Tamagotchi. It was the first one to survive more than a week. They were bloody high maintenance, weren’t they? About five minutes before we got there, I was feeling chunks of Little Chef sliding up my throat. Dad stopped the car, but it was too late. I threw up all over the window. I frantically wound it down, but unfortunately we had stopped near a wasp nest. The pile of puke was swarmed, and I was stung. When we eventually cleaned up and got to the bed and breakfast, it turned out to be a dingy building that definitely was the base for some dodgy dealings. By this point, mum had had enough. She turned the car around and we went back home in the sick smelling car. At least we got a nice view of the coast – albeit briefly.
Having a caravan in Wales meant we were bundled into the car for the two-hour drive at least ten times a year. One Easter, when I was about seven, we decided to do something different, leaving early morning to make the journey down to Devon for a few days so my dad and sister could attend a surf class. The many years of long car journeys meant my mum was prepared – packed lunches were her speciality, and I’d been promised that I could tuck into my tin-foil wrapped sausage sandwich at 6am. We were driving along the winding roads when the clock struck six, and I – overwhelmed with excitement – leapt up into my dad’s rear view mirror and exclaimed “SAUSAGES!” much to everyone's bewilderment and amusement. They still talk about it to this day.
I guess I was about six or seven and we were staying at this tin-pot resort in Menorca. It was the summer that 21 Seconds by So Solid Crew was out and every man and his perro were singing it. My sister had met some famous footballer at the airport on the way out and he’d autographed her arm. I don’t think she even knew who he was, really. She refused to go swimming in case it washed off and it ruined the holiday a bit to be honest. Well, not as much as I ended up doing. This irritating Welsh lad at the same resort was playing a crappy little ukulele terribly, so I stuck little bits of gravel in my ears to block him out. Turns out they’re pretty hard to fish out without a trip to the hospital, and I had to fly home early with my Dad. Two multiplied by ten, plus one – our holiday was done.
The first time we ever went abroad as a family was to Tunisia. My sister was sixteen with blonde hair, so all of the men there were obsessed with her. We had all sorts of offers to buy her, and if my Dad could figure out a way to get a dozen camels home he might have taken them up on it. I used to drag her around shopping with me every day because you could buy fake football shirts for about a quid, maybe less if she did the bartering. It wasn’t nice of me, but I wanted that Intre Milon shirt. One guy made a comment that was a step too far though, and I told him to apologise. I realised that my mouth had written a cheque that my fighting ability could not cash, however, when he stubbed a cigarette out on my head and I ran away crying. It’s as humiliating remembering it now as it was then.