Coming here was a mistake. The whole notion of a holiday in my mothers company was a mistake. Being in this place where I grew up, in the company of the people I grew up around, was a mistake. It’s a mistaken holiday.

The children have been moaned at, complained about, made horrible comments at, shouted at, and generally been under her feet since we got here. Why I thought it would be a nice time for us I don’t know.

Everything local is closed. The whole place shuts down in the winter and even when the weather is improving it stays shut. The children are all in school, so things that might open (I have no idea what things, I haven’t found them yet) when they’re off are shut. Because clearly it’s out of the ordinary for children at different schools to be on different term times. 

So. The weather is improving. It’s still cold but the sun is shining. We should be able to go to a couple of play parks and not freeze or get blown away. So we can do something today. 

My car is half done. My brother has got the jacks to lift the car up. He’s found the sump and needs to get a tool that fits then the oil change will be complete this afternoon. He’s bled the brakes. He’s going to do a full service he next time we come down – so we will have to come down again or I need to pay to get it serviced. Either one. He says it will be good for a few thousand miles after the oil change so that’s worth the trip down here regardless of all the other stuff. 

Back to the mistakes. I don’t know why mum invited us down. She makes it clear she doesn’t like having us here or being in her house. Maybe next time we come down we will visit her and then leave. I’m not sure, at the minute I never want to come here again. If I never saw this place, stopped in this place, heard of this place, it would be too soon. I absolutely hate it. It makes me feel like I’m less than. Less than me, less than good, less than everything, my mum makes me feel like I’m inferior and nothing is good enough – and what makes it worse is she makes me feel like I’m failing as a parent – she treats my children as less than. She treats them as mistakes, as hoodlums, as you’d treat a dog. Except her dog gets better treatment than my children in her company. This is turn makes me a quite edgy, defensive person. 

I do not appreciate my children being treated badly. It arouses my hackles. My whole ‘me’ is ready for a fight and for me that’s not a good thing. It’s completely alien. It’s not me. And so we don’t get along, the children carry on regardless because as long as they’re safe and can play they’re happy. They are resilient and robust and it’s one of the things I love about them. Their sheer joy of life, it’s hard to get down in their company. Give them a beach (in any weather) give them a play park, give them a space they can run and jump and stretch and shout in… and they’re happy. 

I will take some lessons from the children next holiday time. We will use our house as a base or we will go elsewhere on holidays. We won’t ever come down to Kent again unless we’re nowhere near this place. Nowhere near this family of mine, because a family that makes you feel like you’re not good enough is no family at all.