So it’s half term. Which, where our trusty caravan holiday park is concerned, can only mean one thing. The return of the caravan park kids’ disco. AKA creche with a bar. As any parent who’s experienced a caravan park kids’ disco will know, these things are a freaking godsend. As a kid-free adult, you’d have to be a pretty odd character to consider a 6ft squirrel dancing around to a heady soundtrack of the Macarena mashed up with the clatter of a roomful of 2p arcade machines a right-rocking night out. However, you give birth, your social life disowns you and what do you know, these caravan parks shine in a whole other light. Now let me tell you why.
Unless you’re actually, medically mental, the very thought of taking toddlers onto a plane to travel to far-flung, exotic destinations is nothing short of shit-scary. Yes, there are places abroad that specifically cater for little ones but DO NOT BE FOOLED parents, just because they’ve bobbed a designer cot in your room and put some organically certified sweet potato puree on the menu, this does not a stress-free (or cheap) destination make. Belinda, a smug mum from round my way, stopped me outside the post office the other day to brag about her upcoming all-inclusive, THREE WEEK trip to Vietnam. Whilst on the outside I was full of oohs and aaahs and ‘I’m so jealous’ noises, inside I was screaming ‘with four children? What the fuck are you thinking?’It’s not just the idea of making my stationary-challenged kids sit in a seat for 12+ hours that fills me with terror (although let it be known, that very thought has me sobbing with anxiety as I type), but what about when you get there? It may be lovely and hot, but with both of mine having inherited my Boris-Beckeresque complexion, the sun becomes a right royal pain in the arse when you have to spend every other waking minute applying a lard-thick layer of factor 50 and fretting about sunstroke. And then there’s the food – yes, yes, yes it’s all very nice and modern and cool to expose your kids to worldly cuisines and stuff but a)is that not what Chinese takeaways are for? and b)let’s be truthful, do you really want to be fannying around every mealtime persuading them to try the Nasi Goreng when you know a job lot of cheesy pasta will be happily (easily) consumed within minutes? Do you? No. You don’t. You may think you do, but honestly, you don’t. And that’s why the only reasonable mode of holiday available to newish parents is that of the quintessential English caravan site. Not only is the whole sunburn issue dealt with by the very fact that it pisses it down in the summer 99% of the time, you can also buy the aforementioned cheesy pasta in vat-sized portions without fear of recrimination from any of the mums and dads around you. A lot of parental responsibilities seem to get left at home on caravan park holidays. Instead of panicking about what the mum at the next table will think of things like your kid having no shoes on/eating Quavers off the floor/not drinking anything with less than twelve e-numbers in, this woman instead becomes your comrade because her kids are at it too. And this is all before the dancing rodent makes an entrance. Cybil/Cyril (they NEVER appear in the same room together – staffing reasons? One of the costumes at the dry cleaners? Sure, that’s what they like you to think…) is basically a big, squirrel-faced babysitter, there, with the help of the other, non-squirrelly children’s entertainers, to amuse every kid in the place via a combo of musical bumps and dance-offs for AN ENTIRE HOUR. Meanwhile, the parents look on, make cooing noises, take photos with their mobile phones…oh, and sink as much alcohol in the space of 60 minutes as is humanly possible. In short, the caravan park disco is childcare with alcopops. But, you know, like in a good way. Without the need for getting social services in (well, hardly ever).
So yes. There you go. Caravan parks + children = holidays without the hassle (and WITH the Blue WKD – you don’t get Blue WKD in effing Vietnam). I genuinely can’t imagine what there is not to like. I know, I’m a regular Judith Chalmers aren’t I? Spread the word and I’ll see you all for a bit of Whigfield on the dancefloor.