Family holidays always had to balance my insatiable desire to see everything with allowing pool and sociable time for the youngster. He was good at finding a friend and our holiday to Sorrento was memorable in that respect. Always a keen football fan, Juventus was one of the teams he favoured, and his black and white striped Del Piero shirt greatly endeared him to the Italian waiters. He also had a passion for Ferrari, in those Schumacher days, and one of the small boys at our hotel was of the same mind. They formed a great attachment and much fun was had, but the inevitable day came when Liam had to go home. Our son was out of bed at crack of dawn- the only time on that holiday- and downstairs to say his farewells. I watched, with a huge lump in my throat.
Fortunately a distraction was planned for that day. An outing to Amalfi. Initially not much of a treat for James, who felt coach sick for most of the winding journey down the coast. I was in awe of one of the most beautiful journeys I had ever made, whilst ministering to the youngster. My gaze riveted to the coach window, I prayed fervently that he could hold on till our stop. Which he did, only to be bundled onto another coach up to the dizzying heights of Ravello. Nor were the stunning villas Rufolo and Cimbrone much to his taste. What a selfish parent! But the aerial views in that first link show you the wonderful landscape in a way I can’t hope to.
I seem to remember he ate his bodyweight in pizza and chocolate ice cream once we were back at ground level. And there was the amazing Duomo to see, and a wander through the charming streets. I could have lingered by the harbour, but there was a hydrofoil heading back up the coast which finally put a smile on his face. The journey was every bit as bumpy as the coach, but he didn’t mind one bit. A happy family again!