Months and months ago we asked our teenagers where they would like to go on holiday. They picked somewhere we had been years before and so it all got booked. Two weeks ago we arrived. It was just as it had been before – a huge, white sand beach, beautiful clear water, delicious cinnamon buns from the local baker, and no WiFi.
“Mum, what’s the WiFi key? I can’t get connected!”
Me, in a quiet voice. “There is no WiFi.”
“Sorry, I didn’t hear that properly. For a minute I thought you said there was no WiFi.”
Me, shrugging shoulders. “Sorry …”
“But there must be. We had it before.”
“No, that was four years ago when BBM didn’t rule the world.”
“So how do I talk to my friends?”
“You don’t. You’re on holiday.”
There was more of the same, but you get the general idea. After a day or two of grumbling we found a compromise. There was an open WiFi network at a beach bar which was about 10 minutes walk away, so a couple of times a day the two of them slouched off, mobiles in hand, to get their fixes and to reassure their friends that they weren’t dead. But for the rest of the time they read and listened to music. And because the TV was terrible too, we ended up playing games in the evening – Whist, Rummy, and Scrabble. I even won one game.
It wasn’t only the children who were suffering – my Twitter habit had to be broken too, but because of a meltdown of my phone a month or so back I’d already been weaning myself off that.
We got through an enormous pile of books – my daughter read an average of a novel a day – and because we read more than expected, we read each other’s books too, plus some of the tomes which were lurking in the bookshelves of the house. When I gathered together all our books to come home they completely filled one of the cases, and every one of them had been read.
I asked my daughter if, on reflection, the lack of WiFi had been a good thing. She looked at me as if I had gone mad.
“No! How can you think that?”
“But you wouldn’t have read as much!”
She gave me a scathing look. “I’d have totally made that sacrifice.”
Ah well, at least I tried.