Whenever I’m doing the washing up, I’m immediately transported back to Shanklin.
My family were obsessed, regardless of the quality of the holiday, to buy a tea towel denoting the resort they had visited.
Not for them bringing me back a bottle of wine; a straw donkey or a stick of rock – I got a tea towel.
For me, who didn’t do a lot of washing up as a kid in our Balham flat, it was only useful if I wanted to look like a member of the PLO. Although, I’m quite sure Yasser Arafat didn’t wear a head-dress with tourist attractions of Ventnor plastered all over it.
People would come round for dinner with my parents and would help with the washing up. They’d spot my mum’s tea towel she’d brought back from a holiday in the Balearic Islands in 1968.
“How was Majorca?”
“Didn’t see much of it, I had gastro-enteritis the entire fortnight”.
Still, good to feel nauseous every time you picked up a tea towel with a map of Alcudia on it.
Visiting National Trust places were the same: it would have been great to have received a bar of Kendal Mint Cake or some fudge, with the stately home emblazoned on the wrapper. No, I’d get a tea towel of Polesden Lacey.
I didn’t really want a tea towel from Cliveden, either, I’d have preferred Mandy Rice-Davies to come round and help me with my biology homework.
Well, I would do, wouldn’t I?