The further adventures of Stan -10
Stan said he has never been out of Britain. When I talk about various countries I have visited, he seems to find the idea of going abroad as a sort of unreachable goal. So I suggested that he should take some time off – and go abroad himself – someplace fairly cheap and easy to get to – like Spain. I can see he is intrigued by the idea, but can't quite build up the courage to go on his own, and says he has no friends that he could ask to go with him.
So I wasn't completely taken by surprise when one day at dinner he said, “Liz, you and I could go together to Spain. Nobody would know who we were – so we wouldn't get talked about. They probably would think I was your son.”
That kind of hurt. I knew he was young enough to be my son – but I never thought of him in those terms, and assumed that he hadn't thought of me as a mother figure either.
“You'd have a much better time if you went with people your own age,” I said. “We wouldn't want to go to the same places or do the same things.”
“I would go to wherever you wanted to go – because you would be doing me a favour by coming with me.”
“I wouldn't want to go to Marbella or to anyplace in Spain for that matter.”
“Where would you like to go then?”
Someplace I hadn't been to before. Someplace that I never went with John or my bridge friends. Maybe Croatia.”
“That sounds proper foreign. Do they speak English there?”
“Resorts have to speak English to some extent or they wouldn't get the tourists to come. But having people speak in their own language and for you to try to learn some words in it, and they to try to communicate with you, that is all part of the fun of it.”
“So where in Croatia should we go?” he said, taking my comments for agreement. “I'll google it and see what's on offer and how much it would cost. I wouldn't want to pay more than £500 for the week away.
“If you avoid the main holiday times you can usually get a better deal,” I said.
“Yes, but you are also avoiding the best weather, I presume, if you go in winter.”
“I didn't mean winter. I was thinking late September or early October, before midterm.”
So doing a quick search on his computer, Stan came back with, “We could go about the 15th of October for £350 to a island called Plat, not far from Croatia.””
“That sounds interesting. Find out more about it. We could do self-catering which should save money, but you'd have to be in a place big enough to have a grocer.”
“Leave it with me. I will find us the best holiday deal possible. This is so exciting!”
He sounded like a young boy – well, he is a young boy. I wondered if he even had a passport, so I asked him.
“No. I didn't think you needed one if you were going to Europe since we are part of the European Union these days.”
“You need one. But that shouldn't be a problem, unless there's a huge backlog of people trying to get them. We shouldn't even think of booking a specific place until you get a passport.”
“Does that cost a lot of money?”
“About £100 I seem to remember, but you maybe can do it on line. I renewed mine that way last time.”
“Do you have a British passport or and American one?”
“Both. And when you are looking and pricing, remember we will need separate bedrooms, Stan.”
“I don't mind sharing a bed with you,” he said with a laugh.
“Well I want my own space and my own bed, thank you very much. Having to share a bathroom will be bad enough.”
“What are you going to tell your daughters?” he asked. “They won't be happy about this you know.”
“Well, I can say that we are both going on holiday at the same time. I can say that you wanted to go to Spain and I wanted to go to Croatia. I won't be lying, and they won't be worried about you ruining my house in my absence.”
"What if they ask you a direct question about it?”
“I can deal with that when the time comes. Why look for trouble? And if you and I are are okay with it, I don't see how it need to concern anyone else.”