I haven’t seen my son for 5 days as he had been ‘borrowed’ by my neighbours. Unfortunately he is coming home tomorrow.
My friend and neighbour borrowed my son for a week to the Isle of Wight, so that my single child and her single child could have fun together camping and playing with their family dogs.
My friend has been called by God to the ordained ministry in the Church of England and she will start her training next month, while she is based in the parish of Chandler’s Ford.
As my friend could handle her neighbour’s teenager for a week camping, I’m sure she passed the criteria for selection easily, showing qualities such as emotional stability, stamina, robustness, and resilience.
Staycation at Osborne House
We also spent three days on the Isle of Wight, as I wanted to see the famous Osborne House in East Cowes.
Osborne House is an interesting place, and I also wrote about my historical discovery in this post: Queen Victoria’s Bed Cover From China.
The walk to the beach was enjoyable. However the lack of information on the impressive house was disappointing. There was very little information about the house, the architecture, displays (paintings, sculptures, royal gifts), or decoration.
If English Heritage provides some texts around the displays, it would inform and empower the visitors, who won’t have to keep asking the volunteers some repeated trivial questions.
One volunteer told me that many people have voiced the same opinion as I did.
“However, don’t forget, it is not a museum, it is a private House,” an English Heritage volunteer told me.
I believe English Heritage has the means and duty to provide essential information inside Osborne House. Why would they want to miss such a great educational opportunity?
Also, for the amount of money they charge for entry, many visitors would reasonably expect to be enlightened, as the information in the £4.99 guidebook is unfortunately insufficient.
Cost of staycation on the Isle of Wight
While on the island, we also became members of English Heritage, £86 for two adults.
The cost for 2 adults to Osborne House was £27.80, and to Carisbrooke Castle was £16, so we thought it sensible to become members.
To be or not to be: English Heritage, or National Trust?
With my new English Heritage membership, I’ll try visiting a few more English Heritage places this year, instead of visiting National Trust sites.
In the past, we were sometimes members of National Trust, sometimes English Heritage, and I did get confused.
Occasionally I would get to a garden and was surprised that I had to pay, as I went to the ‘wrong’ garden, as my membership often belonged to the other organisation. I didn’t like this sort of surprise. I should have paid more attention to my membership and learnt about which house, garden, park, castle, ruin, monument, woodland, or beach belongs to which organisation.
Flying thousands of miles home
When I visited my family in Singapore and Malaysia two years ago, I paid for 2 air tickets (one adult and one child) for about £1,400.
Once we got there, my family were all eager to entertain us and pay for our expenses. There was no way I was allowed to pay.
Some of my family’s reasons are:
“You’re the youngest sibling, so you can’t pay.” (Hierarchy)
“Auntie, we are adults now and we now earn (more) money, so we can pay.” (Respect for auntie)
“You’re now like a foreigner, so let us treat you.” (Hospitality to ‘foreigners’)
“You in England don’t earn a lot of money, so you don’t have to pay.” (Reality check)
I also couldn’t seem to stop my family stuffing money to us. Almost everyone would give my son a Red Envelope containing money. Red envelopes with money are traditional gifts that we give children and parents during the Chinese New Year, but they can also be given generally as gifts too, especially for greeting and parting.
On our returning, my mum would somehow find more red envelopes from the family to give us – as gestures of good luck and happiness.
My son received quite a few hundred dollars each time and he would return to England with a luggage of books and lots of toys.
Is staycation in England cheaper and better, or should I be flying home to Malaysia and Singapore? I do wonder.