An experimental week in the sun

Last week there was no blog because we were marooned on a desert island with no wifi.

This is nearly true.

We were actually not marooned, but booked in to an apartment, on a desert island. And there was wifi but you had to pay for it and we’re a bit stingy so we didn’t.

Despairing over the state of our little boy’s skin over the Christmas break, we remembered that his eczema had almost vanished one week over the summer when it was really hot. ‘Sunshine!’ we cried. ‘Sunshine is the answer!’ And then sat down to work out how to get him some sunshine (and get us all some relief) in 2017. We had an amazing British summer last year but there was no predicting how summer 2017 would pan out, and frankly, it only lasts 3 months anyway. We needed a strategy. Operation sunshine was born.

We’ve really tried to take all our holidays in the UK for the past few years, both for environmental and logistical reasons. It’s easier to drive baby-related kit in a car around the country than try to lug it on planes and trains around the world. And we’ve had lovely holidays, often with friends and family – in Cornwall (mostly), Devon, Cambridgeshire, and even over to Northern Ireland. We’ve usually stayed with friends or rented houses, because then you can relax in the evening instead of sitting in a dark room watching your children sleep. We haven’t camped yet, mostly because I can’t imagine trying to persuade small children to go to sleep in a tent in broad daylight, but we have just bought one in anticipation of this summer…

But. The sunshine called and promised to help Jesse’s skin. And so we found a super cheap deal and flew to the Canary Islands for a week, hoping like mad for an end to the scratching.

Image. Double tap this image to view it full screen. Double tap and hold to show sharing options.

(I should confess here my incredible geographical ignorance in relation to the Canaries. Did you know they’re off the west coast of Africa? And that Tenerife and Lanzarote are Canary Islands? Of course you probably did, but this was news to me.)

Ordinarily I’m the only one in the family who cares for sunshine. The boys are both super-fair, need factor 50 smothered all over them, and burn in no time. Jubes has yet to reveal her feelings about hot weather. But, for me at least, it was just amazing to feel the sun on my skin in January. Just indescribably amazing. (Why oh why do I live in such a cold, wet country?)

We had a self-catering apartment, in a big hotel complex with several swimming pools. And we were a stone’s throw from the town and the beach. Which was all extremely convenient and nice. So everyday we would just circulate around various play parks, the pool and the beach. Except Jubes basically just wanted to eat all the sand, all the time, so then I stopped taking her to the beach. We had ice-cream. I drank coffee. I read an excellent novel during her midday nap (when not sleeping myself). (It was Ian McEwan’s Nutshell if you are interested). We cooked a week’s worth of food on two small hobs and a microwave, using the most basic of supplies from the mini-mart (pasta, anyone?).

Image. Double tap this image to view it full screen. Double tap and hold to show sharing options.

The kids were very happy. They adored swimming and being outside and getting to do fun things every day with both of us. Jesse loved being in a ‘holiday house’ on our own ‘holiday island’. His personal highlight was probably the ‘real’ pirate ship he discovered and explored with daddy on our last day.

And did the sunshine save Jesse’s skin? Yes and no. The heat out there was dry rather than the humid British heat that had sorted him out in the summer. Parts of his body did really well, but then a combination of dust mite allergies and prickly heat meant his head and neck suffered. Which meant lots of broken nights of scratching, and so he and I didn’t sleep so well. Sunshine definitely served as a balm to my spirits in the day time, but there were several trips to the pharmacy for creams and medicines that we ran out of or suddenly needed. And holidays with small children really aren’t very much like grown-up holidays.

We had a lovely week, and it was great for us as a family in lots of ways. But it wasn’t the panacea we had hoped for, and I felt more than a little defeated on our return. Which was probably intensified by sleep deprivation. Now Jesse is back in his own room (with the anti-allergy bedding and humidifier and lack of soft furnishings) his skin is settling again, and we’re back in our familiar routines, with friends around to support us. I don’t think January package holidays will make an another appearance in family life. So we’ll chalk that one up to experience, and I will be grateful that I got to see some sunshine before June.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

One thought on “An experimental week in the sun

  1. Mary Barker

    Hi Jenny
    I have just discovered TRUSTEDHOUSESITTERS.COM
    We usually need to find people to come and look after our 2 Scottish Terriers, and in the past have USED our friends or friends of friends.
    Sometimes Home Exchange.
    BUT in March 2017 – we had booked real accommodation on the Sunshine Coast Queensland, but didn’t feel like asking friends or friends of friends to come and dog/house sit.
    Discovered Trusted Housesitters. Could not believe the number of people wanting people to come and look after their homes and sometimes pets too….not sure if that would work with Jesse’s allergies…but you never know. Outside pets might work.
    I joined the group about $120 approx for a year.
    And discovered more homes in the UK and Europe than in Australia.
    BUT WHEN WE PUT OUR REQUEST UP – WE WERE INUNDATED WITH PEOPLE WANTING TO COME. Free of charge. The hardest thing was choosing who should come.
    We chose a lovely lady for March.
    Then decided to add our July/Aug 2017 request…..adn again inundated. Could not believe that a family who used to live in Mt Eliza and went to the same church as Anji’s sister and family, and mother, wanted to come and stay in our home and look after our doggies. So said yes.
    BUT WE ARE HAVING TROUBLE FINDING A HOME/ANIMAL SIT FOR US IN JULY 2017 ON THE SUNSHINE COAST – AND IMAGINE MANY PEOPLE MIGHT BE FIGHTING ME TO SIT ALSO.
    But thought it might work for you for free holidays……locally and overseas.
    Thank you for your blogs – love reading them.
    Love
    Mary (Ash’s mum)

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *