I don’t mind admitting that we gave our eldest financial incentives (or bribes if you prefer) to do well in his GCSEs. The incentives were attainable, but they did require some hard work to get them. In addition to the financial incentives we also offered a massive carrot in the form of choosing a holiday for October half-term for the very highest grades. Again, they were attainable, but we all knew he had to work very hard to get them.
He chose Lisbon. And if he didn’t get the grades, we could all go to Center Parcs.
As it happened, although his grades were good enough to get him to his new grammar school for 6th form, they were nowhere near good enough for the holiday.
Which left us with a dilemma. To go or not to go? And if we went, where would we go to?
I was clear we shouldn’t go to Lisbon, otherwise where would be the incentive to work hard in future? But the holiday wasn’t just for him, it was for all of us, so we needed to go somewhere. I still remember October half-term two years ago when it felt like literally the whole world was on holiday apart from us. And I’ll admit I hated it. We swore that was never going to happen again, so last year we went to Rome and had a lovely time.
Where to this year? Paris? Amsterdam? Edinburgh?
But I thought we were going to Center Parcs?
It turns out we were never going to Center Parcs. That was just an idea my daughter had, but she wanted it and believed in it so much that she had herself and me convinced that we really would go if we didn’t go to Lisbon. But my husband just saw the huge potential for arguments as teenagers refused to agree over what we were going to do.
And we looked at the prices for Paris and Amsterdam. We googled the best cities for a bargain European break. And we multiplied the flights by five and added on the cost of two hotel rooms (because we all know a family of five will never fit into one room) and the holiday started to look rather expensive. Too expensive.
Surely we could go to Edinburgh? Or London?
My husband’s main objection to Edinburgh is that it’s too cold. I kind of see his point, but we don’t just go on holiday to be warm (although that’s a definite bonus), we go for a break from real life.
So unfortunately we’ve reached the conclusion that we’re not going on holiday this October half-term, which I feel quite sad about. I understand that it’s sensible financially (maybe this will mean the dreaded ensuite bathroom can get done in the spring), but I really would have liked the break and the change of scene. Instead it’s going to be another one of those half-terms when we realise all of our real-life friends are away and I can’t look at social media for fear of catching yet another exotic holiday location (or even a windy Welsh beach).