Turning my frown upside-down

Butlins 3

We all know the saying about a picture speaking a thousand words. But the most powerful thing for me about images is not so much what they say as how they make us feel. A great photograph captures not just a moment in time but also its emotion and experience, and it can be enough to brighten even the most negative of moods.

Unusually for me, I haven’t written about our week away at Butlins last week other than in the context of the joy of road trips. That’s partly due to the fact I’ve already imparted all the cutting-edge social commentary – for which, read ‘bad jokes’ – I have on the Great British holiday by the sea when writing about previous visits, but mainly because it was a pretty miserable week. Miserable in terms of the weather – it barely crept above zero all week. (It was supposed to be the second week of spring – hello?) And miserable because so many of our travelling party of seven (the five of us plus my parents) were ill at some point during the week. My mum was barely over the flu and spent most of the week either coughing or sleeping – and sometimes both simultaneously. Heather and Kara were ill for the first couple of days. My dad and I were ill at the end of the week, having caught the same stomach bug (and, in my case, a cold for good measure as well). Only the boys were unaffected.

As I type this nearly a week after our return, I’m only now starting to feel myself again. So you’ll forgive me if I’m not exactly gushing with enthusiasm about Our Best Holiday Evah (Coming To A Facebook Album Near You Soon)™

However, earlier today I was flicking through the photos I took on my phone during the week, and it reminded me that we do these trips purely as a means of giving the boys another opportunity during the year to go away for a few days on the (relatively) cheap, where they can spend their days swimming (which they did), going on rides (which they did) and messing around in arcades (which they did – Isaac is *the* luckiest Deal or No Deal player in the history of, well, Minehead at least). The rest of us may have been coughing and croaking and generally bemoaning the wind chill, but Isaac and Toby – at five and three, now at an age where they can (and want to) do just about everything together – had a whale of a time.

Photos are brilliant at capturing extremes of emotion, whether it is grief or celebration, sorrow or joy. And no one expresses those emotional extremes with quite the same openness as a child. Just glancing at these images was enough to turn my scowl into a smile, whether it was reminders of the boys having fun together …

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

… Or, as in the case of these images of Toby, alone.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It wasn’t the greatest holiday I’ve ever had, not by a country mile. But the boys did have a great time, which is what really matters, and I’m glad I had my phone to hand to capture the moments that I will want to remember at those times when I am dwelling on the ones I don’t.