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Competition: win over £450 of brilliant summer reads

(192 Posts)
KatGransnet (GNHQ) Mon 04-Jul-16 10:56:05

Whether they're for enjoying in the garden, the park, on the beach, on a plane (or hiding from the rain on the sofa - oh the joys of a British summer) we reckon you can't beat a cracking summer read...we've rounded up some of the best - fiction and non-fiction - picked out by the people who publish them over on our Summer reads 2016 page.

If you'd like the chance to win all these amazing books (worth over £450!), simply tell us about your holiday disasters.

All eligible posts (i.e ones that answer the question!) will be put in the (straw) hat and a winner chosen at random at midday on Monday 1 August.

Usual terms and conditions apply.

Annie29 Wed 06-Jul-16 11:02:41

To celebrate a special anniversary we went to the Bahamas.
The rep told us not to go walking outside the hotel as it was not safe. We saw drugs being openly sold on the beach .The hotel was full of American students who had just finished exams and acted like it was the first time on holiday without adult, they were very very loud,went swimming when drunk luckily none of them drowned.The beach was full of rubish.
The whole time I counted the days until we came home.

angie95 Wed 06-Jul-16 11:11:09

When my kids were at Primary school, we went with my friend and her son to St.Anns to stay in her mum's caravan. (Hubby was at work) it was supposed to be for a week, not a chance, we stayed from the Wednesday(as my daughter as poorly,over the weekend) until the Saturday. She didn't want to go into Blackpool, didn't like to use the microwave, then moaned because I used it, for micro pizza,( not s allowed to use the cooker) all she did was sit in the caravan, watch tv, or do puzzles.. go to Asda for tea, lived on crisps and coke, which we didn't want to do. I had to ring for hubby to come and collect us, we had to stay instil the Saturday morning, and it threw it down..Never ever again .

lolarabbit Wed 06-Jul-16 11:27:25

It was 1989 and the first holiday with new partner of just a few weeks. We planned to have a 'spontaneous' camping road trip around Ireland ie. nothing booked beyond the ferry crossing. Arrived in Dublin after a sleepless night in terminal buildings and on the ferry from Holyhead so decided to treat ourselves to a slap up Irish breakfast to give us some energy. Parked car in a side road only to return and find car windows had been smashed and all our belongings stolen! So, we had the clothes we stood up in and a car full of glass. The police were very hepful and did manage to track down some if our possessions quite quickly but not any clothes, so next few days were spent scouring charity shops trying to find some things that would fit. I don't think we were wildly successful and ended up with a mismatched assortment of items that were too short, too tight and definitely not what fashion conscious twenty-somethings wanted to be seen in! It was around the time of the famous Levi advert and I seem to recall wondering whether we would end up in a launderette in our undies.
What started out so badly though, did end up as the best holiday of my life. We laughed our way through adversity, saw some wonderful places and met some great people as we toured all around the coast of Ireland. My partner proposed during that holiday, we were married a few months later and have been together ever since.

sarah2000h Wed 06-Jul-16 11:48:04

It was the trip to Burma. It took weeks of planning and so expensive. I got as far as Bangkok where we were due to change planes and came down with really bad food poisoning and had to spend the three weeks in a hotel room in Bangkok! Just as I was recovering I caught flu. I could have cried!

jadestar1958 Wed 06-Jul-16 12:01:49

we have had so many camping disaters - putting up the tent in the pouring rain, another time the trailer tent legs collapsing in the middle of the night and we could not climb out because we were laughing so much and waking up one morning at flamingo land to be stranded with a lake of water surrounding the tent. Once my daughter sprayed washing up liquid everyone after we had a argument which destroyed the water proffing and made the tent drip water onto my head, so being sleepy just turned upside down and woke to a soggy sleeping bag - oh the joys and yes even as grandparents now we still go camping as a family

missdeke Wed 06-Jul-16 12:10:34

Flew to Cairo with the intention of going to Dahab, got on the bus (9 hour journey)rather a rickety old thing but showing a film in English thank goodness, but it was Speed where the bomb on the bus blows up if the bus slows down! Arrived at Dahab, mobbed by 'taxi' drivers, picked one who took us to his friend's hotel (2 o'clock in the morning by this time) receptionist asked us if we wanted shared or private facilities, we picked private. He took us to our room, unlocked the padlock (!!!) on the door, bedding consisted of an orange nylon sheet and a bit of cloth covering a pillow which appeared to be made of a log. It was cold at night (February in Egypt always is) so I asked for a blanket which he took off another bed which appeared to have been recently vacated by who knows who.

Slept for a few hours fully clothed, got up to find the toilet didn't flush and the shower was a bit of hosepipe attached to a tap, not even a watering can hose on the end!

Decided to check out and find somewhere else, strangely the receptionist asked us why, I was about to catalogue the disasters when he put the bill in front of us, totalled £2 for the night so just put it down to experience and a future funny holiday anecdote.

Got another 'taxi' to find us a better hotel, whilst driving around the driver offered us a large paper bag of marijuana for £1, but we said no thanks just a hotel please. He took us to a lovely hotel called the Ganet Sinai where we had a fabulous week before braving the return coach journey to Cairo. (no Speed this time though)

Nananolife Wed 06-Jul-16 12:29:14

We went to Portugal, to the most wonderful place high in the hills overlooking the river Douro, the hotels in this particular chain are called Pousadas are government owned throughout the country - castles, monasteries, palaces, convents etc. of Portugal to encourage use of ... Manor Houses of Portugal,

WELL, first day there, I chose my multicoloured pure silk kaftan! it covered everything....and blew gently in the soft breeze which came up the hill on which the 'Pousada' was perched, but it didn't matter that occasionally my enormous arse was exposed........due to the soft breezes, I had on my size 20 black swimsuit with hidden support (from M & S) it gets worse....

There was this divine outdoor infinity pool overlooking the river winding below us................ no one had appeared was quite early, and the sun was warm with shadows falling over part of the seating area.

So naturally I I needed to re-arrang to whole of the seating area around the pool, dragging sunbeds, pulling tables and umbrellas from perfectly positioned places, barking orders at Bill .....puffing and blowing sweating like a pig, dragging and pulling. Bill actually disappeared to the bar on the pretext of buying drinks.....

Finally, I flopped myself on a sunbed dragged my huge beach bag next to me, and breathed out.....I thought I'd rest awhile then probably go for a dip, then perhaps stroll to the terrace for a light lunch........

..........that was until a party of ladies arrived, probably all in their mid to late forties all French, chatting and giggling with their gorgeous sleek black hair or some with the soft streaked blonde bobs, no men, just a party of friends on holiday from their jobs probably as sales managers with Prada in Paris.

Slim, tanned, very very stylish. touches of gold here and there, earings, a slim bracelet watch...not for them 16 friggin plastic bangles jangling up their freckled Fake Baked arms.

One in particular (I fell in love with her)she had on a crisp white shirt, (crisp white shirt - why didn't I think of that? oh no multi-coloured massive kaftan for me! I'm on me holidays) black knee length tailored shorts, a red cardie slung nonchalantly over her shoulders, very very brown legs, black leather sandals, a white towel rolled up under one arm and a small leather satchel (the same colour as her long slim legs), over her shoulder, amazing...all of them.

They looked around the pool area......... there was just this party from Asda!!! sorry England! in the far corner where the sun was shining. They smiled over to me, then turned and spoke to each French....I could only guess.

I watched them from under my sunglasses and I slowly slid under my enormous multicoloured flapping big chuffin kaftan cover-all and didn't move till it had gone dark!

I pretended I was disabled, and to be honest, compared to them I was.

How depressing, I used to look good in a bikini, now I don't look good in a Kaftan!


northernfi Wed 06-Jul-16 13:21:58

Funny now, but a disaster for my sister and me as two teens on holiday with Mum and Dad in the 1970s. Driving back from Spain in our trusty Hillman Imp with Dad's homemade wooden roof rack on top, we arrived quite late at the French campsite so were told to just find anywhere to pitch our tent. All night I complained about tree roots that were agony to sleep on. Next morning Dad had to break the news to us - there were swings, a roundabout and a lot of laughing people outside - we had spent the night in the children's playground!

grandMattie Wed 06-Jul-16 14:51:52

We’d had a lovely holiday in the Republic of Ireland, driven all over the place in our nice hire car, drunk the required pints of Guinness, etc.

As we had a couple of hours before our flight, we decided to have a little walk on Malahide beach. When we got back to the car, drove to the car depot, my husband shouted at me for ‘playing silly b…rs’ wit the luggage. What had I done with it? Totally innocent, I replied that I hadn’t put it in the boot in the first place, so what on earth was he talking about?

Turned out that some little herbert [or is that yahoo] in Malahide had spotted the obvious hire car, stuck a screwdriver in the boot lock and gone off with our cases full of dirty laundry! I hope he was seriously annoyed…

The usual talk with the Garda and so on, completely marred the end of what was a really nice holiday.

Three bad things: -
1.the car hire people charged us for the damage to the car!
2.Princess Diana died that night and we were unable to get any sympathy for our woes;
3.My husband didn’t ‘believe in’ travel insurance, so we had no compensation for our loss!

middleagespread Wed 06-Jul-16 15:02:00

My holiday disaster was averted by my refusal to go. My OH (Shed Man) spent a long while converting a single decker coach to a Cliff Richard type bus with two sets of bunk beds for children, a kitchen, a portable toilet (yuk) and space to take our two dogs. It was the days of Hippies and Travellers and I had nightmares thinking of being stopped on the motorways ( which was quite usual then) and stepping out with four snotty children and two dogs on lengths of rope and being turned around or even worse arrested. We sold the bus to some Happy People who intended touring the continent converting people (I don't know what to)
And we bought a caravan, filled the car with kids , put bikes on the roof, dogs in the back and still scared everyone when we turned up on sites. (smile) (flowers)

ChrisCross Wed 06-Jul-16 15:18:18

Having had to travel all the way to Austria by train in a ghastly "couchette" triple bunker with other people - because my new hubby wouldn't fly - we eventually got to our hotel in Seefeld in Tirol In June to discover the top floor of the hotel was still under construction.
Every morning a bucket would noisily clatter up and down out side our bedroom window starting at 6.30am, this went on for the whole holiday. No lie-ins for us.
We complained but basically it was a lost cause...our room was fine, the food was fine if you like roasted wild hog...the building work had to be finished for the winter season, they said.
We did a mountain trip by cable car - the other half was terrified as it was similar to flying. We put off coming back to the last possible minute as he was very reluctant but uunfortunatEly by this time it was late and everyone else had gone. We travelled down with the cable car operator, clutching his flask and sandwich bag, in a horrendous thunder storm with lightening flashing all around d us - a freak storm which often happens In the mountains! Even I was glad to be back on the ground and I have never been In a cable car since. Having said that - it was a beautiful area and we enjoyed most of our time there.

inishowen Wed 06-Jul-16 16:05:06

When DH and I were just married, we had to take a flight to Glasgow, then wait overnight for a flight to Germany. We dreaded sitting in the airport all night, but thought we'd find somewhere quiet to sleep. While settling, down a group of religious youths approached us to give us their "message". We were too polite to send them on their way and they talked to us for the entire night. We were exhausted. They must have been too, but it seemed they hung around the airport every night looking for people to convert. They weren't happy to see us leave for our flight. They wanted us to leave with them! Even now it makes me furious to think how they demanded our time and attention. If it happened now I'd give them a flea in their ear!

Worlass Wed 06-Jul-16 17:15:31

In 1997 my DH and myself went on holiday to the USA. We started by having 4 days in New York, to be followed by 4 days in Washington and 4 days in Boston. On our final morning in New York I left DH in the hotel lobby in charge of luggage while I went to buy drinks and donuts for our breakfasts. For some reason which I have never been able to comprehend, I left my handbag containing passports, cash etc. Sitting on top of the suitcases. When I returned to the lobby, DH was in a real 'flap'. He had stepped momentarily away from the cases to check on something which had caught his eye. In that split second someone had whipped my handbag and made a speedy exit. The hotel security couldn't wait to get rid of us and even suggested that we report the theft when we arrived in Washington! We insisted that the police were called and we were taken in a New York cop car (shades of Starsky and Hutch) to a local police station. We gave info and were dropped back at the hotel. By this time we had missed our flight to Washington - not that we had tickets or money for a taxi to the airport. I wanted to go home, but since it was the weekend immediately before Princess Diana was buried, all flights were fully booked by Americans travelling to London. Fortunately, the office of the airline we had booked with was within walking distance of the hotel and we threw ourselves on the mercy of a fantastic employee, who took charge of cancelling credit cards, travellers cheques etc and booked us onto a later flight to Washington. We spent most of our time there walking back and forth to the British Embassy in order to get a temporary passport to enable us to travel home. This was marked with an instruction that it could not be renewed without referring to the British Embassy. We felt like a pair of criminals!
This was certainly a never-to-be-forgotten holiday-obviously for all the wrong reasons. sad

numberplease Wed 06-Jul-16 17:27:34

Loving all your stories!
We`ve never had a real disaster on holiday, but a few mishaps when we went to Florida. One evening, hubby went out onto the balcony and left the sliding mesh door open. I followed him out, closed it, and said "you're not supposed to leave that open, you`ll let all the insects in." Next thing, he turned to go back inside, and walked straight into the mesh door, which collapsed in front of him! Then he was sitting in a chair, stood up and stretched, and almost got his fingers chopped off by the ceiling fan. I leaned over in my chair to pick something off the floor, and being one of those on a central leg with 3 little legs off it, it fell over and took me with it, in a most undignified fashion.
Another day, we went to a crazy golf place which was built to look like an old Mexican village, with a river running through it. I was taking a photo of daughter and SIL, stepped back to get a better picture, and stepped right into the "river"! It was a bumpy landing, the river bed was covered in golf balls. No injury, but I was carrying hubby`s new camera, the first really good one he`d ever had, and it was ruined, along with half our holiday photos.

GrannieAnnie123 Wed 06-Jul-16 17:54:09

My youngest daughter won a holiday from work. A week in Cape Town in a five star hotel.Husband declined but dear daughter asked if I would go but we would be going with the six month old premature twins! We decided my daughter would lose her job if sprogs vomited on the Chairman. Opted for five days in Dubai instead. Twins were great on an overnight flight. Exhausted , arrived at hotel at 9am. No room available till 3pm!! Free lunch. Arrived in room, no double cots, no kettle and on unpacking no bag with all baby bottles, nappies etc! Daughter on 'phone for two hours before jumping in a taxi to airport to collect! Went to pool to discover two flights up . No lift and a double buggy. I couldn't carry babes as hip op. Due. Hotel had three men carrying them up every time we went up and down. This is lengthly but ther's more. ! Twin two caught some virus and ended up in hospital for four days. Nanna cared for the heaviest with three hourly night feeds! and taxiied to hospital every day. Discharged. Five days till repatriated home. He needed nebuliser so bought electric one. Not accepted so two days funding portable one for plane! Twins howled all the way home. The only bit of Dubai we saw was the hotel, five pharmacies and the hospital! But I had ten precious days with my twin grandchildren . Came back shattered but what a tale to tell!!!

dorisdee Wed 06-Jul-16 18:03:10

My worst experience has to be being stopped from boarding the plane at the airport in Cyprus by a policeman who accused us of not paying our hotel bill (which we'd paid when checking-in a week previously). Eventually allowed to board the plane after showing the receipt, but made to feel like a criminal! We'll never return to Cyprus.

Grannymoz Wed 06-Jul-16 18:41:37

When I first took my (now adult) daughter abroad. My husband won't travel so off I went to salou with an 8 year old on a last minute booking (remember when you could book a holiday with no.idea where you were staying arrived?!) Anyway her case went missing so I had a child with no underwear or clothes and of course no teddy, the hotel was vile and we went out one day, got totally lost and couldn't find a taxi for two hours to get us back (and when we did he ripped us off). Needless to say I had one very upset little girl and no support, absolutely dreadful trip

dirgni Wed 06-Jul-16 19:11:42

On arriving in Rhodes in the 1980's we had to wait 2+ hours for our luggage as apparently other airlines paid a premium to the airport to have the baggage unloaded quickly. We were taken to a different hotel to the one we had booked with a promise that we would be moved in 2 days time. When we were moved our rooms were on the top floor and unbearably hot ( no air conditioning). We had to leave the windows open otherwise we would have cooked! We still found it hard to sleep and were bitten to pieces by mosquitoes. We went out to eat one evening and my son got food poisoning from the spaghetti bolognaise and was really quite poorly in the heat. The homeward flight was delayed by about 5 hours and we had to sit on the floor in a packed airport and wait. I have never been so pleased to get home even if we were all still suffering from itchy mosquitos bites.

NonnaW Wed 06-Jul-16 19:31:34

Ex was from Dublin so all holidays meant a trip back there to see family. One year we decided to actually take a holiday, a week in a caravan in Yarmouth. It rained every day, except the last Friday, which I spent on the beach with 3 young boys, while ex tried to fix the car which had broken down. We never did go on a real holiday with the boys, poor lads.

HannahLI Wed 06-Jul-16 21:33:42

We stayed in a cottage and on arrival there were over 60 steps to climb to get to the front door, none of us had realised and we had two young children with us that needed to be carried up as well as loads of kit. Then when we finally got in out of breath we dreaded going out for the day and having to make the climb again. I was also worried that my Dad who was with us might have a heart attack half way up as his health isn't good. To top it off the cottage although lovely wasnt very small child friendly so I spent the whole week wanted to come home as I couldn't relax because I was constantly with an eye to the kids. The moral is check very throughly before you book!

biddymarie Wed 06-Jul-16 23:54:37

I do'nt know if you would class mine as a disaster especially compared to others.We went to Paris for our Pearl Anniversary we could only afford a few days,On the day that was to be our last day we got to the hotel to be told there had been a Airport strike so we would have stay another day.Great we thought,The manager said we have moved all your belonging to another room as yours was allocated to another couple,Ours was on the front over looking parts of Paris our new room was on the back looking into a what seemed like a building site in their grounds.We thought we had'nt had time to see The Louvre only to find that day it was closed.I think it must of been the hottest day ever we had to go back to the hotel with sunstroke.Woke up the next morning,Flight day we got up early as not to miss the plane to the most terrible storm,We sat in our hotel room & all that was on TV was hospital surgery operations in French of course.We got wet through with the rain & there was a Accident pile-up on the motorway,So was delayed for ages missing our flight.When we got to the airport there was an almighty bang we were frantic thinking a bomb had gone off,Only to find this happens regular when someone leaves a bag unattended at the airport.But other than we had a great

Sunlight Thu 07-Jul-16 09:09:33

We went to Lille for our wedding anniversary in 2000 and got stuck at sea in a ferry on the way back for 20 hours in the awful storm which closed the port of Dover. Was terrifying but an anniversary we will certainly never forget.

Evenstar Thu 07-Jul-16 09:09:41

We went on Honeymoon to Florida, taking our 1 year old daughter as I couldn't bear to leave her behind. I was also six weeks pregnant with no two..
When we arrived, they had put us on the third floor with no lifts, despite us asking specifically for groundfloor. They moved us but our room was under an arch so dark and we needed lights on all the time.
Two days in, our daughter came out in spots. I thought I knew what it was, but my husband insisted on calling out the Dr £220 and yes, it was chicken pox.
We had to stay in our hotel room for the next five days and were told she couldn't fly home unless all the spots had scabbed over.
Every time we left our room we had people treating us like she had the plague, apart from other sympathetic British tourists.
We spent the whole holiday worrying that one of us would have to stay on with our daughter, as they had said only one of us could.
On the last day, much to our relief, she was given the ok to fly home, but on the flight, I started to bleed and lost our baby the next day. ?
Horrible, heartbreaking Honeymoon.

Nana3 Thu 07-Jul-16 09:48:17

The worst holiday disaster for us was when we were swooped on by 'police' in Berlin who took all our money. Terrifying thieves of course not police, hope they got caught and punished but I doubt it.

nosnibor3 Thu 07-Jul-16 10:06:11

My memories of our "Short - to even Shorter - Holiday" are, in hindsight, funny; not so funny at the time. Parents of five children, we have only rarely had time away as a couple. In 2001 the oldest children were old enough, and willing, to take care of the youngest two while we went away for a short break to somewhere I had wanted to visit for some time - Hay-on-Wye. I admit to being a bookworm, with a husband not far behond. The bliss of the long drive to Hay, with no children wanting the toilet, or endlessly asking "Are we there yet?" We reached Hay,and easily found the B&B we had booked. The owners were very friendly, but admitted that they had only moved in the day before! They had bought the B&B a going concern, with us being their first visitors. We were shown our room, at the top of the large house. where we dumped our bags & went off book hunting. After an hour or so, & only 3 books bought, I began to feel achy & cold. I realised I probably had flu, so the next visit was not to a bookshop, but to a chemist to buy painkillers etc. We returned to the B&B and I climbed into bed fully clothed & shivering. My DH decided that we needed food, and a few other bits to get us through the night. He came back shortly with 2 large portions of cod & chips (he thought I might be feeling better). and cold drinks for me, & beers for him. 8 cans.Plus he had visited a pub while waiting for the fish & chips. I vaguely knew it was going to be a bad night - with DH's usual loud snoring magnified by alcohol, my flu, plus the radiators were off - and it was a cold February night. DH went off to ask hosts about heating, to find a note saying "Off out to celebrate, see you at breakfast." I had by then piled all available bedding & clothing on top of me (occssionally throwing it off when I had a heatedmoment). The smell of the food made me nauseous. DH ate both portions of f&c, & watched tv while drinking all the beer. I had taken more than medication to knock me out. I was awoken by banging (not that sort!),DH shouting HELP & using more colourful language. It was pitch black. I managed to get out of bed, putting the lamp on. DH had got out of bed wanting the toilet. looking for the door to the en suite. He couldn't find the light switch, so found the door to a large wardrobe rather than the en suite. With the light on he made his way to the en suite (he didn't make use of the wardrobe!)I climbed back into bed. I had barely put my head on the pillow when more swearing , & now the sound of running water. DH, when trying to turn off the tap, had pulled the top of the tap off. He was trying to stop the outflow with the one remaining towel (the rest were piled on me). I managed to put the top back on, & told DH don't use it again, use the other tap. Needless to say, in his inebriated state, he managed to do exactly the same an hour or two later. By morning I felt a little better, but not well enough to continue our holiday. We saw the hosts at breakfast, I could only eat half a slice of toast while husband had full English. We 'mentioned' the lack of heating, that there was a slight problem with the tap, & my flu. We told them that we would be returning home that day - very graciously they only charged for the one night - but then they hadn't climbed to the top of the house to our room before we left. We may return, I need another decade, or 2, to get over this time. I well remember the date, it was February 2001, as we drove home the outbreak of foot & mouth was headline news on the radio.