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In Good Company: Holidays Ahead

...Some years ago an irate van driver chased our car through Manchester. Apparently, my husband, in between handing out holiday buckets for two of our virus-stricken children to be sick into, had forgotten to signal that he was turning right. After a chase my husband decided to give himself up. But when the van driver saw the pathetic picture in our car Ė my motherís impromptu paroxysm of acute bronchitis adding just the right touch Ė his contrition was a joy to behold. He even led us out of Manchester and waved us off!...

Enid Blackburn was in a holiday mood when she wrote this column.

Only a few days to go before my hols and I still havenít managed to buy a new swimsuit. Iíve wandered through chain stores, run my fingers through countless tiny see-through packets with Riviera tanned beauties pictured on the front, but found nothing.

Compared with my contours, they appear to be in the last stages of malnutrition. With coat hanger shaped hip joints protruding from almost non-existent bikini bottoms.

I feel I have hidden beneath my sensible black lycra long enough and have decided itís time for a change Ė before itís too late.

My family goes into hysterics when they see the pre-formed plastic cups I once found so glamorously uplifting. How could I ever have imagined this pair of plastic scoops, which were always stand offish anyway, could look natural?

But there is a multi-choice of beachwear in the shops just now. I saw a frail two-piece that looked as if a strong wave could make it even more revealing.

For big girls there are the fortress-like ensembles, with built-up shoulders and pleated skirts plus a firm control lining guaranteed to cure even the most obstinate hangover. But where does all this flesh go when one sits down or bends over?

The new shiny silk halter-neck one-pieces are tempting and slightly more reasonably priced if you can wear one. C cups would have to remember to sit up straight while wearing this outfit.

I think whoever designed the old Jodhpur breeches had my legs in mind and I wish theyíd come up with a swimsuit. Neither cycling, yoga nor dieting will correct their bulge. Apart from a bacon slicer there seems to be no solution. I have learned only to risk being photographed in a swimsuit when there is either a deck chair or a large towel handy.

The carefree childhood days when my sister and I used to giggle hysterically at lumpy middle-aged ladies enjoying a paddle haunt me more and more, now Iíve become one myself.

There are consolations. We mis-shapes become seaworthy so much faster than our slimmer sisters can. I can run from bathrobe to waist high water in seconds and reverse just as quickly when no oneís looking.

Although I hate strangers breathing down my cleavage it is a mistake to buy a swimsuit without a pre-fitting. Sizes can vary dramatically. I bought one once without first trying it on, it fitted perfectly about the bosom, but the body was definitely designed for someone with a longer drop. I could pull the legs down to my kneecaps without disturbing the waistline creases.

A girdle I bought without trying on never did hit it off with my trousers. Every time I wore them together I was pulled two different ways. The front zip would swing round to my left side raising my right trouser leg about six inches, giving me a k-legged appearance my husband found most irritating.

Just before a holiday I always become neurotic concerning family health, praying everyone will be fit enough to enjoy themselves. We have had holidays where one or another has either been recovering from or receiving some antisocial bug.

Some years ago an irate van driver chased our car through Manchester. Apparently, my husband, in between handing out holiday buckets for two of our virus-stricken children to be sick into, had forgotten to signal that he was turning right. After a chase my husband decided to give himself up. But when the van driver saw the pathetic picture in our car Ė my motherís impromptu paroxysm of acute bronchitis adding just the right touch Ė his contrition was a joy to behold. He even led us out of Manchester and waved us off!

So fingers crossed, this weekend I hope to be living up to my typical tourist image the natives abhor and Ė see you soon!

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