We’re all going on a summer holiday!


As I have just suggested to my editor, we really should move the weekend or extend it to include Monday, as the weather then is invariably beautiful! However, it's official, as from break of day tomorrow (Wednesday) you will all have blue skies and blistering heat until I return from Rhodes the following week – it would be unkind of me not to organise it with those who know 🙂

I am – as always prior to a holiday – in a state of organised chaos, which has been exacerbated due to the excessive rainfall overnight and forecast to continue throughout the day. It's taken Sam a week to decide what he wants to take to wear on holiday, and having worn all of said items over the last week, I was presented with them (in grubby form) last night! I now have wet washing draped over anything that offers an elevated surface, while the tumble dryer is complaining bitterly about having to work 'out of season'! 

Lucy and I were suited and booted last Thursday when we had a day out at Buckingham Palace! Personal invitation no less! Yes, Lucy had bought tickets for a tour around the Royal Rooms, and invited me to join her :) It was fab! I highly recommend it, and we had great fun synchronising our audio guides to start at exactly the same time so we could exclaim in harmony when a particular fact was articulated in our earphones! 

It was rather a loud exclamation on my part when I learned that there are 78 bathrooms in Buck House and over 350 staff! How many people does it take to clean a loo I ask you! Similarly to learn that in the second world war, a bomber flew down The Mall and unloaded all its bombs at the gates of the Palace! 

Steeped in history, we handed back our audio guides and headed off to the gift shop where we paid a Queen's ransom for some trinkets. We also met a lovely couple of ladies who were avid QVC viewers. I spoke for a while with the lovely Dawn before Lucy and I hopped in a cab and met up with Rich and Colin for cocktails and supper (I LOVE happy hour!). 

Having eaten far too much (but soaked up some of the alcohol), we settled down to watch that night's performance of Chicago at the Cambridge Theatre. It was brilliant. My sixth time and Colin's second, although he agreed he found the present 'Roxy Hart' a little more alluring than Bonnie Langford whom we'd seen last time… I think unfairly that it's the enduring memory of her as Violet Elizabeth Bott from the Just William stories that stopped her from smouldering! 

Ali's cat Dodge is home at last I sang all the way home, and then found my CD and have been playing it in the car ever since. There's a Roxy Hart in me somewhere… 🙂 And somewhere in the country lanes, or the fields, or our neighbouring gardens is where Dodge decided to spend a full 36 hours without coming home once…

We were frantic. The thought of leaving for our holiday without him being safely back was purgatory, and so when the cat flap opened gingerly around 11.30 last night and his little face peeped in, there was mighty relief all round. 

Ali's cat Dodge is back home at last Although covered in cobwebs, he was fine, and having scoffed a tin of tuna he managed to wash all of one paw before falling asleep exhausted 🙂

Look after yourselves, and I will return in a week's time with photographic evidence of all that can occur on a family holiday in Rhodes – with the 12 of us!! 

Love Ali xx


  1. Julie August 10, 2010 at 9:50 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali or do we call you Ma’am??
    I agree we should extend the weekend-to 7 days!
    I hope you have/had a lovely time in Rhodes,I think it was one of the nicest places we visited-at least you should have lovely weather there-not dismal like here! I know what you mean about Sam with his washing-Rebecca still does that 5 yrs after leaving home-look what you have to look forward to when he goes to uni!
    Hope all’s well,will keep you informed of any news!
    Take care
    Julie xx

  2. Rhona Fenton August 11, 2010 at 11:55 am -  Reply

    wishing you all a fantastic holiday hear all about it when your home!! love Rhona xx

  3. Mrs Janet Jones August 11, 2010 at 12:28 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali, enjoy your holiday in Rhodes with your sons and Colin and his family. We went to Rhodes about 25 years ago and had a fab time. I can still remember entering the old town and the smell of freshly cooked popcorn and artists lining the streets. Theres plenty to see and do, you’ll have agreat time. I am hoping to see my son in a couple of weeks it’s been 5 weeks since I’ve last seen him and it seems forever! My strength seems to be taking ages to return, it’s 6 months since my last treatment, and I am told it can take up to a year or more to return to normal(whatever that is!)But I am just grateful to still be here, so I must be more patient with myself!Glad you found Dodge safe and sound and enjoy precous time with your boys.
    Happy hols Ali and return safe and relaxed. Love Janet xxx

  4. Una August 11, 2010 at 1:24 pm -  Reply

    OOOhhh, look at you, hob nobbing with royalty no less!!!!!!
    78 bathrooms????!!!! It takes me all my time to keep 2 loos spotless, with my lot around, imagine 78!! have a mental image of Her Majesty out with The marigolds (read Debbies blog from a few weeks ago, about MY marigold issues)on her hands and knees scrubbing away, with her crown bobbing about on her head!!!
    Hope you guys all have a FAB time in Rhodes Ali. Look forward to your tales when you get back. Sincerely hope the weather is better for you than it is here right now!!!!
    Lots of love
    P.s REALLY enjoyed, the first love blog!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. debi stubbs August 11, 2010 at 7:29 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, hope you enjoy your holiday in Rhodes, a place i would like to visit, i enjoy the summer hols as i run a breakfast club and an afterschool club and also work at a school at lunchtime during the term time. Hubbie and i are off to fuertuventura on 28th of this month for a week, the first holiday we have had on our own for a long time, we are leaving the kids at home this year they are 18 and 16, well not totally on their own grandmother’s will be popping in every day, they will still have to do their chores and i hope the house is still standing when we get back.
    Love QVC especially the beauty shows,i have my ultrasun already packed.
    Take Care
    Debi Stubbs x

  6. Kathryn sheehan August 12, 2010 at 5:21 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, hope you have a wonderfull time in Rhodes, i went there about 12 years ago near a place called Lindos. Really enjoyed it as it was August it was extremly hot, so plenty of sun screen needed. Any way enjoy. My daughter in law had a little boy on 30th July 7lb- 1oz, they called him Bradley.He is a darling and i’m a proud Nanny.

  7. Denise August 12, 2010 at 7:48 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison, I hope you have a great holiday. I’m green as Rhodes is one of my favourtie places its such a beautiful island have been twice and also on a day trip from Turkey.
    I also did th B.Palace tour last year and it was just fab – I wanted to go back again before the year was up but don’t think will be able to thanks to sky high train fares from here oop north sadly. Did you indulge in those gorgeous to die for cakes in the refreshment tent afterwards?!! That definately sounds like my kind of day Alison as I’m a big fan of Chicago as well – only seen it 3 times myself and know what you mean about fancying yourself as Roxie!!! Perfect Day all round methinks – lucky girl.

  8. Susan August 12, 2010 at 8:32 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    How wonderful seeing Chicago!! I LOVE it!! Fab fab fab!! I’ve just seen it the once – not 6 times lol! Have a wonderful holiday though seems no time since the lovely pics from the last! Glad you’re all getting away in the end. Oh and lovely you had a day at Buck House. 78 loos…my my.
    Take care and ‘see’ you when you return!

  9. Rosalyn Claydon August 13, 2010 at 9:11 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali, I hope you all have a lovely holiday. It must have taken some organising to get everybody, packed and to the airport and I hope the weather is being kind.
    We went down to Kent a couple of weekends ago and ended up near to where my family use to go on holiday. It had hardly changed and brought back so many happy memories. I learnt to swim there when I was about four and the main reason for taking that final toe off the bottom was because I hate seaweed and it was all around my feet. Still love swimming, still hate seaweed. Take care love always Rosalyn

  10. alison keenan August 19, 2010 at 10:43 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julie, I rather prefer your suggestion of increasing the weekend to 7 days! So sorry the weather here has been foul – hard to believe that with just three hours or more in a plane and it was 44 degrees and sunny! Never mind when Sam gets to Uni for washing – I managed to fill two whole lines full with his t shirts and shorts today! Thanks for writing, and do check out next week’s blog for photos of Rhodes Explored! Love ali xx

  11. alison keenan August 19, 2010 at 10:45 pm -  Reply

    Rhona, it was almost as hot as the weekend we had in Glamis last year!! 🙂 Will be posting photos asap. Love Ali xx

  12. alison keenan August 19, 2010 at 10:52 pm -  Reply

    Hi Janet, happy to let you know that Rhodes town has hardly changed in 25 years! Fab place to visit, and I loved all the little shops and the cocktails – photos next week! So glad that you have some time with your boy and I’m sure your energy will return for that. I’m sure it’s not just the body healing from your treatment, but the psychological side of it, and there’s nothing better for peace of mind than spending time with someone we love and have missed 🙂 Let me know how your visit goes, and thanks as always for writing. Love ali xx

  13. alison keenan August 19, 2010 at 10:59 pm -  Reply

    How the other half live eh Una????? I loved the visual image of Lady Ma’am in her marigolds, and feel I should also tell you her collection of hats was pretty impressive too! So glad you enjoyed the First Loves blog – any other ideas you think we could all join in with, then do tell. It’s a joy to have your suggestions and comments 🙂 Will be posting Holiday blog hopefully tomorrow with some snapshots, and yes it was JOLLY hot!! Look forward to hearing what you think of them, Love Ali xxx

  14. alison keenan August 19, 2010 at 11:04 pm -  Reply

    Debi, you are going to LOVE Fuerteventura. I went there about 16 years ago, and it was FAB. Very windy but sunny and the perfect place to just relax. Your children too will be fine, and I’m loving the idea of chores! I fear this is where I’ve gone wrong with mine – I just left Sam a list of what was in the freezer! It’s great that you have extended family close by, and I’m sure the house will be as tidy if not tidier on your return. Have a wonderful, and no doubt well deserved break, and I’ll look forwards to hearing all about it 🙂 Love Ali xx .

  15. alison keenan August 19, 2010 at 11:05 pm -  Reply

    Oh and Debi, the Ultrasun is fab! Neither of my boys or Colin burned at all, and it was extremely hot out there. Love the shimmery factor 20 too 🙂 xx

  16. alison keenan August 19, 2010 at 11:09 pm -  Reply

    Dear Kathy – CONGRATULATIONS!!! Baby Bradley what a lovely name, and such great news. I hope you’ve had plenty of cuddles 🙂 Yes we actually spent a day in Lindos last week ….. in 44 degree heat without a breath of wind… unbelievable, but got some great photos of the Acropolis! Thanks for letting me know about your new addition to the family, love Ali xx

  17. alison keenan August 19, 2010 at 11:13 pm -  Reply

    Denise, so glad you had a chance to experience the Royal establishment! I have to admit we didn’t partake of Her Majesty’s muffins as a cold Mohito beckoned from Covent Garden, but it could be worth a second visit just for that! Just a thought, but it would be well worth checking the prices of rail tickets online as if you book well in advance at a set time you can buy them very cheaply 🙂 I can see why you love Rhodes so much – I was very impressed, but you’re one up on me as I’ve never been to Turkey – maybe next year. thanks for writing, love Ali xxx

  18. alison keenan August 19, 2010 at 11:17 pm -  Reply

    Susan, a woman after my own heart 🙂 So glad you too love Chicago… I spent several hours listening to music from the show while sunbathing, and I think I embarrased the entire family by breaking into song at one point! Yes, we’re very lucky to have managed to sneak a whole week away, as we’d barely been back a month from Kefalonia…and it was fun. I’ll be posting my Blog about it as soon as I have all the photos. Thanks for writing, love ali xxx

  19. alison keenan August 19, 2010 at 11:31 pm -  Reply

    Ros, it was like some kind of military manouevre, but to so worth it for the sunshine and good times 🙂 I do hope the sun shone for you in Kent too, and how funny that we have another thing in common! I too hate stepping on seaweed – worse still putting my foot down in cloudy water when you’ve NO idea what’s down there! I had to use my sand shoes to get over the pebbles in Rhodes, but the sea was as warm as bath water…. just a little saltier 🙂 Love ali xxx

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