Bestworst holiday

3rd August 2007 at 01:00

Prague. Not a romantic stroll over the Charles Bridge. Not absinthebeerwomen. No. The plane journey over. That's my best holiday.

I am a clammy wreck on the morning of departure. Since watching Die Hard 2, I've never flown well. The weather doesn't help a storm rumbles with enough ferocity to frighten ducks.

I visit the toilet 10 times in the 20 minutes of waiting to board. When the gate finally opens, my hands shake as if I am on the verge of break-dancing. I find it hard to stay upright.

My friend Steve approaches a tangerine-tanned woman from BA. He mutters something in her ear and she approaches, placing a hand on my shoulder.

We turn left at the plane's entrance. To the business class seats. I've been upgraded.

In my big seat, flying is ace. After three glasses of champagne, I've forgotten I am in the air. After the sixth, I want to stay onboard for the entire week. And not once does Steve's smile rest.

The week in Prague falls to an anti-climax. No bar grants us free champagne. And we try enough. We plead for an upgrade on the way back I even hold a paper bag over my mouth in a simulated panic attack. It doesn't work.

Business class luxury has cleansed me of my phobia.


It's possible to travel further than Cornwall when you live in Nottingham. I realise this. But still I am shocked to find my Year 12 class drunk on a beach. My beautiful golden beach free of anyone else but the Year 12 pupils and my girlfriend and her parents.

"Why are those boys waving at you?" asks my girlfriend. "I teach them," I reply. She thinks I am joking.

It is the summer of the solar eclipse and my girlfriend's parents have decided we should travel to south west England, mess about on their boat, watch the sun disappear, and find a nice beach to play charades upon. They love their charades.

The parents even give me beer. The sun shines until the moon gets in the way. But that's over quickly and soon the fiery globe reappears. And so, in the light, the girlfriend and her parents are itching for charades.

"I think those boys are shouting at you," says my girlfriend's mother, before we have the chance to think filmplaytv.

They are. "Mitchell is a wanker," they chant, football-style. I ignore their slander (I have a girlfriend) until I see they are approaching us.

I can think of no other alternative. I fake sunstroke.

My act fools the parents. Back on the boat, Mother sympathetically applies a cold flannel. The girlfriend, however, isn't convinced. She refuses to believe the truth about my drunken sixth-formers, choosing instead to think a hatred of charades has brought on my sudden illness. And she is a big fan of charades. The biggest, in fact. When we get back to Nottingham, the relationship breaks down.

I've never faked sunstroke since

Tom Mitchell teaches in London

Bestworst... holiday

Over the summer, The TES Magazine is turning the spotlight from lessons to holidays. Tell us about your best and worst holiday and we'll pay you Pounds 100. Email no more than 500 words to

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