Summer holidays: expectations vs reality

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So, the summer holidays are finally here and that trip, planned months ago, is finally about to happen.  Whether it’s a beach holiday or something more active, I’m sure, like me, you just know that this is the one time of the year when you will transform yourself into that “other”, more glamorous person – you know the one; that sophisticated woman who floats around in diaphanous dresses, sleek swimsuits and strappy gold, bejewelled sandals; floppy sunhat angled alluringly to reveal the merest glimpse of designer sunglasses.  Oh, so different from the ordinary  person who would never dream of doing the weekly shop, or just going to the local wine bar in such extravagant clothes:  well, let’s be honest, during a British Summer, we’re more likely to be sporting jumpers and jeans, lovingly encased in a stout raincoat, rather than strappy tops and micro minis.  Maybe those special outfits and accessories surface just once a year or perhaps, delirious with anticipation, you’ve splashed out on that special silk number from Karen Millen – well, it was in the sale.

For this trip everything has to be just right - from long, dangly  earrings to that perfect, colourful  pedicure; and, most importantly, the item of cabin baggage which lets all your fellow passengers know just how well travelled you truly are.  The brother of a friend of mine always travels with nothing he can’t fit into an ASDA carrier bag – I mean, what is he thinking!  For you and I this choice item screams luxury and is just that right side of shabby to sit alongside this new and fabulous you.

Of course the apartment, booked with such eagerness through a bar owner you met last time you were in the resort, promises fabulous views from a large balcony; and, although you’re not absolutely sure exactly where it is, surely it can’t be too far from the beach and all those lovely bars and restaurants.

Reality can sometimes be very cruel.  OK, you start off fab-u-losa, but things start to lose their shine from the minute you attempt to cram that lovely leather bag into an already far too full overhead locker to the first step you take into the full heat of a Mediterranean summer:  the make-up slides off your face and the floaty Karen Millen sticks alarmingly to every part of your body.  The apartment does have a balcony with a view, but that’s mainly of Costa’s Dad washing his smalls.  The beach is a 20 minute walk away and the local bar even further:  it seems like robust walking shoes will be the order of the day, never mind those gold strappy sandals.

But, hey, it really isn’t all that bad:  the weather is glorious, the views (once Costa’s Dad has been mentally air-brushed from your mind) really are breath-taking and the walk down to the beach is beautiful, as well as giving plenty of opportunity to converse with those oh so friendly locals – plus that glass of wine/ beer/ gin, is even more welcome after the enforced exercise.  Sit cradling that drink, watch the world go by and, more importantly, enjoy being yourself:  the floaty dresses are lovely, but you are, in the real world, even lovelier.

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