…when it comes to bottles of Calpol to take on a fortnight’s holiday with twins (not when it comes to toddlers. I genuinely have no idea how triplet parents leave the house. Which is why we are never breeding again).You would think half a litre of Calpol was enough, wouldn’t you. But Charlotte took it upon herself to take part in the grand Walsh tradition of getting crook at Martinhal, though luckily it was just flu this time, rather than the hospital dash we had to make last year with her sister.
So, second time at the self styled ‘finest luxury family resort in Europe’ at the very southern tip of Portugal, and it was even better than the first. It would be marvellous to have the money just to spend every holiday there henceforward. It’s not exactly a voyage of cultural discovery but, to be honest, with toddler twins I’d rather a steady supply of blueberries and rice cakes than yurts and yaks and yeti hunting.
I’ll spare the nuts and bolts of the review – see here (and scroll down for my review entitled ‘soooo close to perfect’) if you’re interested – but suffice to say, it just WORKS when it comes to kids having a great time, and their parents being able to relax. Occasionally. By about halfway through Week Two when your kids have finally settled into their two hour Kids’ Club slot, are both not-dying, and you’ve finished doing work emails!
Two moments for me really summed it up. An elderly Portugese chap was laboriously cleaning all the plate glass of the main restaurant in the Village Square. He kept winking at Romilly, who chose to repay him by running up to the window he’d just cleaned and licking it. Not only did he not scowl, but he tipped over some of his water to make a puddle for her to splash in. The same kept happening at dinner. The girls aren’t naughty, but they’re two times two, and they can make noise and mess, especially when chocolate mousse is involved. But not only are the staff incredibly generous, but also, importantly, there are FIFTY OTHER CHILDREN ALL DOING THE SAME. No one bats an eyelid. Though I spied several parents starting on the all inclusive sparkling wine at breakfast; Calpol for grown ups…
The second involved a large fox. Rafi is the kids’ club mascot and dances with his girlfriend Rosita to ‘I’m a Gummi Bear’ (no, no idea either) at 6pm every night in the main square. The twins got super excited by this. That kind of delicious shaking, scrunched up face, grinning, jiggling excited when it’s just going to bubble over or turn into some sort of emotional seizure. We’d have to leave dinner at whatever stage it was at (their love for Rafi evidenced by the fact they’d even abandon pudding for him) to go and boogie. By the final week they’d sussed which door he’d emerge from and we’d have to get into prime position ten minutes early so they could high five him. And then on the very last night, Charlotte dashed to the front and took his hands/paws and danced the Gummi Bear in front of the whole resort. Jon was all choked up, which set me off…she danced with the fox! She danced with the fox!
Just a lovely, lovely holiday. I think one of the real benefits was Jon being able to spend a really goodly amount of day-to-day time with the girls as he’s missed out so much recently with crazy work travel. Talking of which – that was the only low point. Our flight back from Faro (possibly The Worst Airport In Europe) was delayed till 10pm. Yep. 10pm. With 2x2s. Who were awake for the duration despite our frequent buggy sightseeing tours of the terminus. I think I self-hypnotised myself into some sort of trance state – fixed grin, faraway look – as otherwise I can’t explain how I didn’t pop.
They were angels though, bless them. They didn’t even act up when we got on the plane (I caught the ‘oh sh*t’ look from the two single male travellers who realised as they walked down the aisle they were going to be sitting either side of our two). In fact Charlotte in particular was super friendly, offering the nice man who was trying to sleep her comic, her snacks, her teddy (the honour), the safety information (in case he hadn’t read it, I assume) and then finally started trying to massage him.
Other highlights included Romilly nicking an entire roast octopus tentacle from my plate, complete with suckers, and munching on it like a breadstick; Charlotte not being travel sick AT ALL (the wonders of drugging one’s children); Romilly’s heart-in-mouth bravery on and obsession with all four slides; me dazzling Jon with my slightly shady ability to get BBC iPlayer abroad by cloaking our IP address (a veritable cyber Harry Potter, me); the girls achieving Juggling Level Two with certificates and everything (the mind boggles about Level One given neither of them can really throw, much less catch!); Romilly doing an impression of me driving in the decommissioned campervan in the surf bar, which involved jiggling to imaginary Radio 2, hauling the steering wheel violently and shouting something which sounded suspiciously like ‘you n*b!’; capitulating for the sake of peaceful munching and letting them make their own selection from the breakfast buffet, which turned out to be, for Romilly: watermelon, serrano ham and sausages and, for Charlotte: donuts and a bowl of beans. In a way this is no more eccentric than their father who would create an approximation of a Full English on his plate, and then add some lettuce, because it’s healthy. Innit.
GOD I love holidays!