We can't afford it, can't really spare the time, and certainly won't gain any brownie points with the eco-brigade, but the Horse Doctor and I are going away this Christmas. All the way to Whistler, British Columbia, in fact. There to ski until our legs fall off.
I could blame my sister if I was feeling uncharitable. She was the one who first mooted the idea, and she's taking her whole family out there for the festive period. Since she's a teacher, she can't leave until term has finished (something which doesn't seem to bother a lot of her pupils*, and certainly not their parents). I looked into booking onto the same flights in and out, but they were pant-wettingly expensive. Then one of the travel agents I'd spoken to mentioned that those dates were busy because of school holidays, which got me thinking. The Horse Doctor and I have no children, and do not have to slave to the teaching timetable. What if we left earlier and returned later?
Strangely enough, it turns out a lot cheaper. We're going to be in Canada five days more than my sister and her family, but it's costing us almost a grand less between the two of us. I guess that's why so many parents take their darling little ones out of school early to go on holiday.
We fly out on December 16 and get back just in time to spend Hogmanay with my little brother in Fife - handy, since he's looking after the dogs whilst we're away. That means I've got three weeks to get fit, finish decorating the house and try to salvage some writing from my second year in a row of no new novel.
Bollocks to that. I'm going to enjoy myself. Everything else can wait until 2010.
* and there's a thing. When did school children suddenly become students? Time was, you were at school, you were a pupil. You didn't get to be a student until you were at college or university. Nowadays three year olds painting each others faces in kindergarten are students, apparently.