As part of the Holiday Ha, Ha, Ha! blog tour, I'm pleased to welcome author, Steve Cole onto the blog, to talk about his holiday experience as a child.
When I was growing up, a holiday wasn’t a holiday unless my big sister had some sort of medical mishap.
Each summer we’d drive from Bedford to a campsite in the south of France, the caravan bumping along behind – three days there, two days back and at least a fortnight taking every conceivable wrong turn in Paris.
Fate always looked forward to our arrival, and would start busily planning the next health disaster to befall my sister, Natalie. One year she developed an abscess and we had to find an emergency dentist. Another year she came down with a bug that made the caravan an even more horrifying prison than usual.
But when I was 10, fate pulled its masterstroke.
A storm had blown over Cannes in the night, but the sun returned the next day. The warm Mediterranean was filled with seaweed; my dad and I would stand in the sea, claim a piece, call it a ‘soggy’ and throw it at each other (these were the dark days before apps). Nat preferred to take out an inflatable tyre and float about in it in the gentle waves, and that sunny day she offered to tow me out to one of the large rafts tethered offshore.
Normally these were filled with happy bathers but today, the atmosphere was tense, and suntanned faces were frowned with foreboding. ‘Medusa!’ came the whispered word.
The storm had washed them in like the seaweed, and there were apparently dozens of the squashy bags of nightmare gathered here, shading themselves from the sun beneath the raft.
Nat was now on a mission to get her little brother safely back to shore. I kicked my legs inside the ring, while Nat bravely swam along beside with one arm hooked over the rubber. We stopped for a rest once Nat’s feet could touch bottom. There were Mum and Dad on the beach, happily sunbathing. Nat raised an arm and waved. They didn’t see her. She let her hand splash back down.
Right on top of the pale, pulsating jellyfish waving back beside her.
Nat’s wail was like a deranged foghorn. ‘I’ve been stung! Stephen – TOW ME TO SHORE!’
It was my time to shine. I, the useless little brother, would come to my sister’s aid in her moment of crisis! Unfortunately, she grabbed onto the back of the rubber ring, which raised the front end up over my face and lifted my arms completely out of the water. I was left treading water vertically, hands flailing in the air, towing my sister precisely nowhere. ‘Hold on!’ I cried valiantly. ‘Hold on!’ I must’ve made a truly pathetic sight. The jellyfish just sat there, baffled.
‘Oh, FORGET IT!’ Nat spat at me at last. Mum and dad couldn’t miss her waving by now – her hand had swollen up like a cow’s udder and she waded off in tears to their sympathetic arms. I managed to outswim the jellyfish (not hard since it had probably ruptured its jelly laughing) and reached the beach unharmed, in time for us all to spend the rest of the day trying to find an emergency doctor who’d agree to see a slightly damp English girl with a spectacular rash on her hand and a poisonous look in her eye.
Ahhh, those were the days! Holiday? Ha, ha, ha!
Steve Cole Biography
Steve Cole is the author of Young Bond, Astrosaurs, Cows In Action, Astrosaurs Academy, Slime Squad, Z. Rex, Magic Ink, Aliens Stink!, Stop Those Monsters! and many other books (including several original Doctor Who stories). Steve lives in Buckinghamshire.
To find out more about Steve Cole:
Holiday Ha Ha Ha!
Published on June 30th 2016 by Simon and Schuster
From amazing aliens and strange superheroes to fantastic forests and crazy creatures; from ghoulish ghost tours and tiresome traffic jams to super spies and terrible talent shows – you’ll be laughing all summer with these eight summer sillies!