erickawaller.com logo  
erickawaller.com logo
erickawaller.com logo

I first came to Brighton when I was 13. I remember my mum and dad giving me and brother some cash to go and get our first (and last) Wimpy. I don't know if it was the faded seaside glamour, or the apparent lack of hair-brushes, but I fell in love at first-sight, and decided that one day, I too would wander about with an art folder and a falafel (I did know they were called that at the time).

My daughter has not had any days off sick, is never late and is yet to be on 'red' for bad behaviour at school, so I was looking forward to Parent's evening this week. I'd nipped into town in the morning and bought some Fuzzy Felt (for her) and a Domino Rally (for me) to hand out as 'well done' gifts, mine being well done for making her. I wasn’t prepared to be told my daughter is significantly behind what rest of the class is achieving, and that I was responsible because I was not reading, writing and doing maths with her every night.

When I was a kid, Halloween meant a toffee apple (that would require teeth made from dominoes to bite into) on sale by the till and ‘trick-or-treating’ round the green outside the local pub, where most people told us to “jog on”, chasing us to make sure we did so.

Now, the first three aisles of ASDA are dedicated to fake cobwebs, jack-o-lanterns, masks and ghouls to hang round the house. My four-year-old is so scared we have to shop elsewhere for the month.

Staying at home is far easier than going away. So last weekend I thought I'd try one of those 'airbnb' accommodations.

They are the 'in thing' right now apparently. I got quite excited when I looked at the website. Castles, igloos, villas.. each destination a 'unique travel experience'. We decided to go to the Cotswolds. Idyllic, picturesque, cobbled-streets. Beautiful countryside.

The location I found promised peaceful leafy streets and luxury accommodation. Imagine my surprise when my Sat-Nav directed me through the overcrowded streets of Cheltenham, down the most complicated one-way system ever (I'm talking Monaco Grand Prix street circuit) before finally declaring 'You have reached your destination' outside a terraced townhouse with 'parking permit' only signs all over the place.

I saw this post on Facebook the other day. It was a cartoon of two people. One of them was stood empty-handed; the other had a massive jar in his hands labelled ‘Happiness’. 'Hey' said the empty-handed cartoon, 'where did you get that? I’ve been looking for it everywhere' The man with the happiness jar said 'I made it myself'. It made me think. Can happiness ever be bought, or can it only come when we make it for ourselves?