Taking A Virtual Holiday

For the past 16 years I’ve managed to cope with winter with the thought and anticipation of a holiday abroad each August with my two sisters and our mum. Except for this year. We had no holiday planned for a variety of reasons and with nothing to look forward to, I found I was becoming more and more withdrawn and melancholic, had little get up and go and increasingly restless for some fun in the sun. It was, I realised, my Season Affective Disorder (SAD) continuing throughout winter and on into June. Bad vibes indeed. I hate being indoors and needed some warmth on my arthritic bones – all in all, a good dose of vitamin D that doesn’t come in a pill or bottle. The weather in the UK showed all the signs of being another washout. What was a girl to do?

Then, hallelujah, summer hit us. Three glorious weeks of hot, and I mean hot, weather, so I decided to make the most of it even if I couldn’t go away. Instead, I had a virtual holiday – all the thrills except without the swimming pool to dip in or the sounds and smells of the oceans. I decided to live a few weeks just as I would if I was on holiday. On holiday, we are always up early, often just before sunrise, take a coffee outside and sit and relax and watch the world come awake. I couldn’t hear the sea so pretended the sound of the motorway was waves, and slowly let the warmth of the sun warm my body. (I think I must have been a lizard in a previous life!)

After, whilst it was still relatively cool, I would do all the little chores around the house so the rest of the day could be spent relaxing outside. With good weather it was a joy to hang out the washing on my collapsible rotary line. As I pegged out each item with a warm breeze blowing across the patio, I felt as if I were on holiday. Jobs done, I’d make another coffee, pour a small glass of brandy, and sit outside and enjoy. A small glass of brandy is how in Spain, my brother and I like to start the day, so again, I was on holiday.


Working in the garden is bliss!

My husband had bought me a new patio table and sunshade so that I could work outdoors instead of being cooped up in the office upstairs. Such bliss to type whilst at the same time enjoying the sights and sounds and smells of the garden.

On holiday, another favourite time of day is late afternoon, when we sit around in companionable silence and read as we enjoy a glass of sangria or a G&T. I couldn’t run to sangria but I could do the G&T bit, so indulged myself before I went inside to prepare our evening meal. Sadly, on this virtual holiday, I had to cook, whereas on holiday I would have been getting ready to go out for a meal in a restaurant, but this was a small price to pay and I didn’t mind.

After champagne came the wine as we wait for food to cook

After champagne came the wine as we wait for food to cook

Our holidays always start and finish back home with a girlie weekend so that is what I did this weekend. The four of us chilled out in the garden on Saturday with a couple of bottles of champagne, a bbq, a late night and a few more bottles of wine listening to Andrea Bocelli, and lunched out yesterday. When we have our weekends, we each bring a contribution to the Saturday meal and I’m always under instruction to bring the dessert. This time I took a box of assorted cakes. We were too full after our bbq to eat them so we were really naughty and had them for Sunday morning breakfast. A pleasant change from croissants or toast – I can highly recommend!


Cakes for breakfast! Naughty but nice!

Ah well, weekend over, and it’s almost like the holiday is over as today it is raining. At least it is not cold and, unlike my real holidays, this year as soon as the sun comes out again, I can go back outside and enjoy more days on my virtual holiday.

29 responses to “Taking A Virtual Holiday

  1. Oh what a fabulous thing to do! It’s truly amazing how British life lifts when the sun comes out and we all feel better about everything. I didn’t get away last summer but this summer I’ve been lucky enough to have been away on holiday twice (celebrating a special wedding anniversary) and although I have a lovely brown tan to prove it – many of my friends whom have stayed at home this year are equally tanned! Long live our British summertime!!
    Janice xx

    • Yes, admit I was very jealous of your holidays this year, Janice. What’s more amusing is that this year I have more of a tan than I’ve ever had when I’ve been abroad. … Still miss the ocean. Still, next year am sure we will make up for it and book ourselves somewhere for a few weeks. Meanwhile, long live our British summer – we can but live in hope! 🙂

  2. Loved this post, Kit. Even here after the long winter, we’re anxious to get outside and spend time in the sun. When you had your heatwave, it was a wee bit warmer some days than here. I’m hoping it stays sunny and warm for the next few weeks as I’ll be vacationing in Scotland and England.

    • I’m keeping everything crossed for you, Melanie, that the weather will be kind to you when you visit Scotland. Shame I won’t be able to get up there and meet you.

  3. Over here we call those non-travel holidays “staycations” and, as you prove, they can be a delight! Cake for breakfast? Absolutely!

    • Often called staycations over here too, Patricia. Or more often people say they are going to “Ourgate”. Cake is often eaten in Germany for breakfast so we felt right at home indulging!

  4. Ah, I’m bummed you didn’t get your normal holiday, Kit, especially on the heels of me getting mine. However, I love how you plucked the thorns off the rose and turned it into a beautiful flower. I’m not sure I could do that at home. Not that I don’t sit outside every chance I get, but the tug of projects and responsibilities is just a bit too strong. Still, after reading this, I intend to try to grasp a little of that virtual vacation time, hopefully everyday, even if it’s just enough for a cup of coffee while listening to the birds chirp in the mornings. 🙂

    • On a real holiday I don’t do work, Laurie, so that bit was different but I’m certainly feeling refreshed and relaxed now. It was fun too wearing all my holiday clothes, helped it feel like I really was away. Next year we’ve promised ourselves a proper holiday. 🙂

  5. I have to admit to indulging in strawberries and cream on the patio, Kit. What a lovely post – and a reminder that you don’t have to travel too far to smell those roses. 🙂 xx

  6. What a lovely thing to do! How many times have I heard people say that there’s nowhere as nice as Britain so long as the weather is good? But having a staycation truly at home is one way to make the most of the good weather – no traffic jams, airport waits and so on – and you have all creature comforts (and luxuries) at hand. Actually, an experiment like this makes you question what a holiday is for! It may not give you spectacular scenery; historic sites, swimming in the sea or whatever, but it gives you a whole load of other things, as you have proved, Kit. Being aware of the present is always good.

    • Whilst this has sufficed for this year, Miriam, I have really missed not going abroad. I love travelling and seeing different places, eating different foods and enjoying different cultures. Give me the opportunity and will be away like a rocket whilst I am still able to enjoy it. There will be many times in the future that I will be too old to indulge the wanderlust. 🙂

  7. Our weather is like a carbon copy of yours but I still am more of a winter or fall traveler when going to seek sunshine. The winters here are so wet and grey and long I need to get some of that Vitamin D.

    One thing I really like about your vacation at home is no airports and lines to stand in. All you have to do is walk outside and your there. Makes up a little for needing to cook. 🙂

  8. So true about airports and queues, Lavada, but have to say in all the years we’ve been travelling, we’ve never had to queue for long at airports (except one year when almost everything seemed fated to go wrong), we always find we have good seats and stewards, reps and staff always spoil us. We always make it fun, make light of everything and look as the getting there and back as part of the experience. Have been tempted a few times in this recent heatwave to jump into our koi pond and have a swim (it’s large and deep). So far I’ve resisted! 🙂

    • I’m getting a visual of you in the Koi pond. 🙂 You’re right about keeping things light and fun. We’ve never had a bad vacation though we have had some challenging air line experiences. Like one time sitting on the runway for eight hours. We were out of everything and were just about ready to head back into the terminal (which would have meant an overnight stay in the airport) when they gave the pilot the okay to take off. The good thing about that experience were our fellow passengers. Everyone was great even the little kids on board. Something we had the good sense to appreciate and enjoy.

      • Our one bad experience was when the plane was delayed due to needing a repair – 8 hours in terminal with them repairing the plane right outside the window. In the end the pilot refused to fly it – we all cheered. Arrived too late at hotel for a meal (1 a.m.) Hotel room was awful and on a busy dual carriageway. On way back airline lost Mum’s luggage although it was finally returned to her. It was that holiday that persuaded us to try a villa next time and we’re so glad we did. That holiday did us a favour but despite all the hassle, we enjoyed it. There’s little point in making a fuss and getting worked up when things are totally out of your hands.

  9. What a great idea, Kit. Love the concept of a virtual holiday. So far summer here in the UK has certainly supported holidays at home and long may it continue. And cake for breakfast .. Yay!

    • Had to do something positive, Tricia. Was feeling more and more despondent but now on a roll. Or is that cake? Too many cakes this weekend. The diet starts here. Again. 🙂

  10. Sounds lovely; what a great attitude you have!I a going nowhere myself and school is even back in where I live in the US.I will have to try out your style myself.

    • Do give it a try, Tonette. I actually feel like I’ve been on holiday, it’s incredible and the beauty is it ends when I want it to end, not when the airline ticket says! 🙂

    • Do give it a try, Tonette. It refreshes the soul and gives positive vibes. Schools are still out here in the UK and weather warm but lots of rain. Can guarantee so soon as they go back next month, the sun will be a blast again.

  11. What a fab idea! I think I might take a leaf out of your book, Kit and give myself a treat! The cakes will, of course, be included….

  12. Sounds like you made the most of your time. I love that you followed some of the same traditions that you have when you go on the real vacation. The girls’ weekend seems amazing too AND cakes for breakfast is fun! Not a good habit, but fun nonetheless.

  13. Valerie J. Patterson

    Great idea, Kit! It sounded wonderful, especially the weekend you arranged with your sisters and mom. I love your garden and wish I could pop over for a visit with you in the mornings and write and chat. Wouldn’t that be nice? I hope next year you get your holiday, but also enjoy another virtual one as well. 😛

    • You’re welcome anytime, Valerie. Real holiday on the cards planned for next year! 🙂

      • Valerie J. Patterson

        So glad to hear you’ve got plans shored up! Funny thing…a short time ago I googled directions from the east coast of the US to England and it actually said “swim across Atlantic Ocean”. As much as I would like to visit, I just don’t think I have the strength to do that!! lol 😛

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