Here comes IAAPA!


Florida looms; I have a busman’s holiday approaching. I’m not sure if that term is international, so for those of you who don’t know what I mean, the term ‘busman’s holiday’ derives from the 19th Century idea that a busman (driver) would go off on holiday on the bus, therefore combining work and play. Most of my holidays have a touch of the busman’s about them. I guess that shows how lucky I am, that I get to work in an industry as fun as this one.

We’ve yet again managed to secure a child-free week and I’m heading to IAAPA with Viki for a week of fun. She has told me in no uncertain terms that she won’t be coming along to IAAPA to hang around with a load of lanyard-wearing nerds (that’s me!), so she’ll be doing some solo sight-seeing. On the days that I’m not at the conference we’re going to cram in as many other Orlando attractions as we can. We’ve bought two guidebooks, and have been going through them ticking off all of the things we want to do and see. I doubt that we’ll get to do them all, unless we forego such necessities as eating and resting. But it looks as though it’ll be a busy week.

The kids are not at all impressed that we’re going to Orlando without them. ‘It’s sooo unfair. You’re always going on holiday and leaving us here. You must hate us …’ etc etc. All of the family holidays of this year have been long forgotten, obviously. We will take them to Orlando soon (we’ve been telling them that this trip is a reconnaissance mission: to suss out the best things to do and the best way to do them, so we don’t make costly and annoying mistakes on our family visit.) I don’t think the eldest is convinced, judging by the filthy stares and door slamming. We’ve promised her a Christmas shopping trip to Paris on the train instead.

The main obstacle to family holidays, including taking the kids on this one, is our stupid government’s stupid decision to place a blanket ban on kids being off school during term time. This badly thought out policy is wrong for so many reasons and for so many people. I feel sorry for those parents, of which there are many working in factories and call centres right across the North East, who simply cannot take time off at popular periods. So their family holidays will stop. Then there are those who manage to secure the dates, but suddenly find foreign breaks beyond their financial means (the travel companies triple the cost of holidays during the school holidays). Their holidays will also stop. The hotels, bars and restaurants and other businesses whose livelihoods depend on British tourism will see a 99% drop in families buying their services outside of the school holidays. So many people are set to lose out, including the children who David Cameron is ‘saving’.


Let’s not forget the benefits to children of these holidays. Family time is wonderful, and quality time together completely essential for a family such as ours, where one member spends significant time away working. On top of that, our kids have seen sights and experienced things that I as a child had only read about. I am even privileged enough to argue that a trip to Orlando Universal (or indeed any theme park worldwide) is a busman’s holiday, whereby I can instruct and encourage the kids in their potential future careers. Really, I’m not joking. With my eldest scoring a ‘consistently superb’ in her Design Technology classwork, and the boy showing encouraging signs in the science subjects, it could well be a family business in little over a decade. Who knows. But the inability to take them with us on these type of trips may will mean that the seed is never sown and they end up doing something far more boring and sensible.

So, rant over and for now I’ll get back to planning our trip. I look forward to seeing many familiar faces over there, and maybe meeting some new people.  If anyone wants to meet up (work or play), drop me a line.


Mr Cameron enjoying a lovely family break, quite possibly in Orlando and maybe even during term time.

Mr Cameron enjoying a lovely family break, quite possibly in Orlando and maybe even during term time.

Viki BirchallIAAPA, IAAPA 2013