I don't know about you, but I find that a family holiday simply isn't complete without vomit.
It doesn't matter how far I've journeyed, the sights I've seen nor how much I've been ripped off over a cup of coffee, if I haven't had to deal with a vast eruption of sick, then I feel that a vital part of the experience has been missed. Like a dog claiming territory, my family seems determined to leave its mark wherever it goes. Whether it's Tobermory, Glasgow, St Andrews or Belgium, we can boldly say, in the manner of latter-day Caesars, 'We came. We saw. We puked our guts out. (And then we left... in a hurry.)'
We took a trip to Cambridge at the weekend. On our last trip to Cambridge, Lewis was sick after we got a lift in a car. The only other occasion we'd been previously, both Lewis AND Fraser hurled in the train on the way home. I think Lewis may actually be allergic to the place - this time he was sick during the night.
I was watching TV in the lounge of our accommodation and missed the main event. He'd woken up feeling queasy and been too dozy to shout for help. Nonetheless, he'd managed to stumble through from the bedroom to the bathroom. Unfortunately, he'd made his usual mistake in these circumstances of sitting on the toilet to be sick rather than sticking his head down it. This is normally hugely messy. Sarah got to him in time, however, and steered him to the sink.
Cue titanic chunder.
I was blissfully unaware of this until it became apparent that he'd clogged the drain. I had to be called in then because... well... because, let's face it, no one else wanted to deal with a seething basin full of putrid sick.
As I reached in and guddled about, I couldn't really blame them...
After that, it was a case of preparing for the worst. I was fairly certain he'd emptied out the entire contents of his stomach but I couldn't be sure. I searched the small suite we had in the B&B for suitable receptacles for high-velocity regurgitation. Since there was no kitchen, my options were limited - a coffee cup, the ornate waste bin and the drawer of the table beside Lewis' bed. None of these seemed ideal.
I eventually found a thick paper bag we had with us, showed it to Lewis and put it next to him. At that point, Marie started to make retching noises in her sleep. Since she was sharing a bed with Lewis, he wasn't too happy about this turn of events. I reassured him, told him to lie down and went in search of more bags.
When I returned with a plastic carrier, Marie retched some more and I ran to crouch beside her. Then Lewis coughed ominously as he dozed off again. I went round the bed to him with my bag open, ready to field any noxious torrents. As I got there, Fraser started to moan in his sleep on the other side of the room. I scurried to him. Then Marie worked on her hairball some more. I hurried back. Lewis shifted some phlegm. I moved round. Fraser groaned. I...
I gave up and made camp in the middle of the room with a torch, a book and my emergency sick bag. I sat there for an hour before they were all peaceful and then I slunk off to bed, certain I would be woken in the middle of the night by some sort of unpleasant disaster or other.
I was very confused in the morning when my alarm went off and the kids were still asleep. I checked Lewis' bedside drawer just in case. It was empty. The kids, the carpet and the mattresses were all fine. Phew!
In retrospect, though, we maybe shouldn't have let Lewis have lots of pink yogurt for breakfast and then immediately taken him on public transport.
Never mind - his shoes were remarkably easy to clean.
I'm considering writing a sequel to Green Eggs and Ham. It will be called Dubiously-hued Food and a Very Bumpy Bus Journey. It will go something like this:
I've wiped up vomit in a boat.
I've removed it from an angry goat.
I've wiped up vomit in the rain.
And in the dark. And in a train.
And in a car. And round a tree.
It is so very carrot-y!
I've scooped it into a box.
I've washed the vomit from my socks.
I've cleaned it up around the house.
I've wiped it up both here and there.
I've wiped up vomit EVERYWHERE!
We haven't decided where we're going on holiday in the summer. Maybe we'll come visit you.
Yours in a woman's world,