Friday, 13 April 2012

Holiday reading

We got back (at around 1am) from a lovely week near Coulommiers in France. We are all a bit tired and crabby today (of which more later), but had a very busy and fun week. I had several reading-related revelations on this particular holiday. The first was that in years gone by, MrM would rely on me to bring books and then read them after me. This does not work now that I have a kindle for holiday reading. Luckily for MrM there was a library of sorts in the club room at the place we stayed, where he was treated to some dubious spy novels of varying quality. Next time we go on holiday I plan to stick some improving literature in my bag to save him from the horrors of Ian Rankine and the like.

I was able to continue ploughing through Game of Thrones without taking up half the suitcase, thanks to said kindle, and (second revelation), I wondered if it might soon be worth investing in another kindle for the kids (or perhaps two). This was partly driven by the fact that we have a LOT of books already, and are now somewhat lacking in shelf space. It's also driven by the revelation that you can get Beast Quest on the kindle (or at least some of them), which will mean that when we get to number 5368 there will not be two rooms full of Beast Quest books (because obviously C will not even entertain the idea that we might give the books away once we've read them). The kindle would also solve the bedtime issue, which is that they have got used to having a LOT of books to choose from to look at in the evening before they go to sleep, but on holiday that selection is, by necessity, heavily pruned. This means that there has been a lot more whinging than usual, which is not a particularly relaxing thing, when you're trying to eat foie gras on a baguette and neck a nice carafe of vin rouge.

Thirdly, a massive recommendation for Fodor's Around Paris with Kids. Having done a quick Amazon search, it looks like these Fodor guides are only available for big American cities, Disney World and Paris, but the Paris one was absolutely exceptional. Lots of ideas for things to do, with time guides, suggested walks, recommendations for places to eat etc. No fun for the kids to read (stick to the Not for Parents Travel Guide I've mentioned before for them) but v useful for parents. Our only criticism of it was there is no map included; even a basic one would have been very useful.

Fourth reading revelation of the holiday was something I should have learnt from my mother-in-law over a decade ago. When we all went to France on our hols in 2002, we went to a theme park and she made us all take a book. The time in the queues flew by - I can still remember that I read Cuckoo in the Nest by Michelle Magorian, and very good it was too. Anyway, before we set off for Disneyland Paris, I put the latest Beast Quest tome in my book, partly to read to the kids, and partly to conceal the half-baguette, Belvita breakfast biscuits and large quantity of chocolate eggs acquired at a Chasse des Oeufs, which I was smuggling in). The queues were significantly less boring for both the kids and me. At one point I looked up and there were about 15 children all looking at me impatiently, waiting for me to say what happened next in the tale of Zepha the monster squid. A book doesn't weigh a great deal, but is a definite asset during a day where there is lots of waiting around.

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