Though I shudder to say it, our list of electricals for a fortnight of back to basics holidaying away from home was a bit too big. 3 DS’s of various generations, an iPhone, 3… no … actually 5? phones of various sorts, a iPad, a portable DVD player (disclaimer, it stops Amelie throwing up in the car), a laptop for the bits of work we have to do, 2 Kindles and a sensor pad for Bene to sleep on. Ahem. It has been accumulated over a longish period, but I concede it doesn’t make us look good on all sorts of levels. Taking valuables out of the house has plenty of problems associated it (dammit, you know, we had a couple of iPods too)* not least that you can’t actually get all that lot out of the car and into the Michaelwood Services along with 5 children and a bag full of poo. A couple of years ago I lost a DS and a case full of games on a camping holiday; I searched everywhere for it and eventually concluded it had fallen out of the door pocket of the car. I kept meaning to claim on the house insurance for them, given the box of games was pretty full, but never got round to it. 4 months later, the box and DS surfaced in the side pocket of my suitcase, where I had stashed it for safe keeping.
One of my friends used to have “4 children and lots of things with plugs” as her blog tagline and I think I have quite possibly exceeded even her standards now. I don’t know when we got quite so reliant on gadgetry (oh, man, we took a digital radio too; it was one of 3 we got given as gifts recently!) but I don’t entirely recall it ever feeling like we had an insane amount of stuff being used. I know it all DID get used, mostly on the way down to Devon (6 plus hours) and on various day trips to cousins or longer car journeys. I think I can safely say where all our £1 electricity meter payments got used up though! They do use them to play together, I use my phone as a camera and write on my iPad while I’m away but what I remember is them playing Top Trumps and Game of Life and running about in the garden and the field. I suppose one argument is that while our home has an alarm and so on, most of these things have been gifts or saved up for – maybe we all feel better bringing the possessions that matter to us with us. You might also argue that if you are going to get all your electrickery stolen, you might as well have enough to make paying the excess worthwhile! I’m fairly sure Compare the Market would agree. Ahem. Maybe
It’s ironic that our time away still made me yearn for less stuff (junky, filling the cupboards, home feels like a rubbish tip type stuff) and I didn’t really notice all these other things we had. It was two weeks without internet nonetheless – something which when we are in our own house would feel like purgatory but there feels like joy personified. I’ve noticed that two weeks with less to distract me gave me ideas about improving our family life, the way our home is organised and I started reading books properly again, knitted a whole jumper and a half and spent more time just peacefully mulling. Everyone else was glad to get home, but I have to be honest, I just loved having fewer pulls on my time (I don’t own a DS, DVD player or iPod and neither iPhone or iPad work without internet… result Since getting home I’m still back to peaceful reading, or I would be if Max hadn’t stole my Kindle to start reading the author he discovered while we were away.
Abiding memory of the holiday… the kids playing with Smurfs and Nutella lids in the leat. Not an electrical doodah in sight.
The funny thing is, in all the time we traipsed our wired life around with us, I didn’t worry at all about any of it getting stolen, damaged or anything else. But the morning we left home I had to go back to get something I suddenly found I was not yet ready to go back to Hookner without. A little blue knitted blanket. And on several days I couldn’t quite bring myself to leave it in the cottage or the car either, so it came up the tors and along the rivers with us too. It’s funny what things matter the most to you. And of course, it is quite irreplaceable. All the rest is just stuff.
*What can I tell you, this list has made me hang my head in shame.