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Geoff Nicholson: What We Did On our Holidays

Eric is an ordinary, boring Englishman, naïve, inclined to take things at face value, fairly conventional but prepared, in his own feeble way and up to a point, to stand up for what he believes he is right. He decides that he and his family – wife Kathleen, daughter Sally and son Max – need a holiday so they set off for the Tralee Carapark in Lincolnshire, hardly the most exotic location for those coming from South Yorkshire but then, as the bought ledger clerk for a furniture firm, he cannot afford much more. The blurb describes the holiday as totally disastrous and while it is certainly that, what it particularly is is a description of how one ordinary boring man sees everything around him as going to hell. He is mugged, raped, beaten up by Hell’s Angels, the police and the muggers, sexually humiliated, cuckolded in front of his eyes, loses his car, his job and his home and insulted and assaulted by pretty well everyone he meets. His daughter has become a religious nut, his son a vicious teenager who repudiates civilisation and who expresses his main desire to be to kill his father and screw his mother and his wife is a sex maniac, with Eric if possible but if not with whomever is to hand. Of course, as this is Geoff Nicholson, all this is told with considerable humour and entirely with tongue in cheek and, as this is Geoff Nicholson, the violence is brutal and so is the sex but, of course, all with a good sense of humour. The police are psychologically challenged brutes, the young people (Eric is forty-five) sullen and violent, the old people fascists and most of the populace of Britain retards on the make. Cars, as usual, play a big role – Eric’s first problem is when he has a car accident and subsequently finds out that his wife has forgotten to renew the insurance policy – and, of course, it all ends in a nice Nicholsonian apocalypse. More of the same and lots of fun.

Publishing history

First published 1990 by Hodder & Stoughton