A real Aussie larrikin.
‘A holiday is a time when you do lovely things that you never get a chance to really do otherwise.’ So Iris McInnes told her young son, William, as she tried to explain the meaning of a holiday.
This book is about the Australian love affair with holidays.
It is about going away and staying home. It’s about the relaxing times you had as a kid, escapes you have with your children and the stories you hear from your friends.
It can be about a romantic sunset, the spare seat at breakfast being taken by an attractive stranger, a miraculous airline upgrade – or missing bags, unfortunate rashes and wrong turns that lead to places you definitely did not intend to go.
But most of all it’s about being in your backyard in an above ground pool, floating in circles, staring at the clouds as you go round and round and knowing that life is sweet because you are on holidays.
My View: William McInnes – a real Aussie larrikin.
At the beginning of this book I laughed so much the tears ran down my cheeks, at the end I cried silent sad tears. A remarkable book of memories and more.
William McInnes writes a beautiful creative memoir; he paints colourful images of the innocence of childhood, life in a small town, growing up, family holidays, and then about the holidays he created with his own family and the last holiday he had with his wife before she died.
I especially like hearing the tales written in his childhood voice – his first recollection of a holiday with his mum and siblings that involved the wonder of train travel (some hilarious laugh out loud anecdotes around train toilets…) and memories of school holidays and then the outrageous recounting of “school holiday activities” (I know you will either have your own memories of these type of activities or you would have enrolled your own children in the like), “All across Australia there were schemes, plans, events – activities – that were designed to entertain holidaying children and get them out of their parent’s hair for a few hours a day…Basket weaving, pottery, painting, orienteering, craft design, woodwork and holiday swim camps. Almost any activity that could be thought of to eat up holiday time got a run in the suburbs of Australia.” (p.51) I loved the story of the “Day long body building and health ‘tutorial’.” This particular story is pure childhood, fun and full of fart jokes – a kid’s paradise. This started me laughing once again so much so I had to explain the reason to my husband; I laughed so much explaining the joke I cried.
Hidden amongst these hilarious anecdotes are gems of wisdom and astute observations. At one time McInnes is working away from home staying in a hotel, alone in his room he starts to feel lonely then has a revelation: “I realise I am no that lonely. I lie here and think of how much I like my friends. How much I love my family, the one I grew up with and the one I have…Sometimes the best place to realise what you’ve got is the loneliest place.” p.216) This book is filled with such gems.
McInnes concludes this charming, fascinating account of holidays and what they mean with these words; “It’s when the memories of a place, and the people who passed the time with you there, all come colliding with the present that the acute feeling of simply being human can be so great. (p. 279)…and “How, if we are lucky and are loved enough, we might become cherished holiday memories, for holidays may be the realest, most sweetest part of life.”(p. 286)
Read “Holidays”, laugh, cry, remember…plan your next holiday now.