Family holidays: Hotel vs tent – can you help?

In two weeks’ time my youngest turns three and we’ve arranged a family trip to Peppa Pig World at Paulton’s Park. Way-hey! Can’t wait! Mind you, has anyone reading this actually been there? Because I’m actually worried it’ll be really tiny and shabby, with massive Peppa Pig characters, and you’ll feel like you’re on hallucinogenic drugs (I imagine; I’ve never taken hallucinogenic drugs. Don’t need ’em, man. And am not, it would appear, the type of person who gets offered them). It’ll be especially trippy (once again, I imagine) if they have the real Brian Blessed in Grampy Rabbit’s outfit – is that what he’s doing nowadays? And if so, how do they get the stick-thin Peppa Pig-style arms right, given that Brian’s really quite chunky? Anyhow, any comments on this would be gratefully received. For now I’m going there with an open mind.

As we don’t live very close by, my partner’s mum has booked us a hotel for the night, as an extra treat. Excellent! Alas, there’s a fly in the ointment (oinkment?): my partner doesn’t want to use the booking. My partner, the total idiot, would rather we stayed in a tent. As would our two children, but they can be forgiven for that; they’re children. after all. My partner, meanwhile, well, what the fuck’s his problem?

I think he’s doing it to test me (because obviously these things are always all about me). It’s because I come from a hotel family and he comes from a tent family, and I still haven’t proved my mettle.

This isn’t a class thing. His family are just as middle-class as mine. More middle-class, in fact. For my mum and dad, staying in hotels was a big deal. His family could have, but chose not to. How middle-class is that? So really, they can just take their Year in Provence and shove it up their collective asses (or something along those metaphorical lines). I’m not some posho who can’t hack it. I just don’t want to. I want the hotel!

We’ve camped before. We have a massive tent, and a camping stove, and even a fridge-box thing that we got for Christmas. In fact, we are constantly amassing more and more expensive camping equipment in order to make the tent more and more like a hotel. There is an obvious shortcut to this: hey, let’s not spend the next decade building a sub-standard, canvas-topped Travelodge and just stay in one of those hotels that exist already! This line of argument is, alas, not working. And I am outvoted. But not to worry – I’ve come up with a solution!

My plan is to stay in the hotel on my own and to get someone else to pose as me and stay in the tent with everyone else. That way I get a luxurious night on my own without losing face. As for the substitute me – well, could that be you? Here are the recruitment criteria:

  • 5′ 1″, white, blue eyes, brown hair (i.e. bo-ring)
  • late thirties but could pass for older
  • skinny but with big tits, albeit in a saggy, haggared way that proves to any doubters out there that “skinny but with big tits” is in no way synonymous with looking like a glamour model. Or indeed any model, apart from one who works for one of those “comically ugly people for quirky adverts” agencies.

As for the other bits – how I talk, the kind of things I say – don’t worry about that. There’s no time to train you up. You just have to be in a bad mood for the whole weekend, and grunt barely audible answers to everything. No one will notice the difference. And they’ll understand why you’re cross; it’s because you’re in a tent and not a hotel.

I haven’t yet decided what the payment will be. We can negotiate. I guess offering a shag with my partner, in that closed-off bit of the tent, while posing as me, is in some way unethical. Still, if that does occur, here’s a top tip: just be really lazy and make him do all the hard work. Then afterwards, have a brief cuddly bit before quickly getting back to serious matters. For instance why not ask him whether you both think it really was Brian Blessed in there? And if not, what is Brian Blessed doing these days?

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