Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Kate/Eloise Project

Once upon a time, there was a bored New York secretary who needed a change. She decided to spend the next year of her life cooking her way through Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” and writing about it in her blog, the Julie/Julia Project. Now, she’s a published author of a best seller. Boy, do I need a project. And so, here it is.

One child, 21 days of holiday, 2 cities and a budget

The idea for this project came out of a discussion with my sister, the Roman one – well I only have one – about the fact that there are lots of guidebooks out there focussing on children and they are, for the most part, crap. Ask any child. Or any parent.

My poor daughter does not know it yet, but she is the “one child” mentioned above (the other two in the photograph are her cousins) and we are going to spend her Easter Vacation collaborating on an epic piece of writing that will help improve the family travel experience. When Eloise marches back into Fulham Prep School on Wednesday, the 18th of April, the Kate/Eloise project will have delivered to NoCrowds the first really decent information on travelling with children in London and Paris.

We will tackle things from two points of view, parent and child, being sensitive to Eloise’s goals of sleeping late, spending her pocket money on rubbish and avoiding anything that smells like school as well as my need to prime the “get into a good University” pump while developing her appetite for Ingres and Hogarth. In addition, we will need to agree on things that we can both at least tolerate. No Disneyland Paris for me. No opera for her. The idea is to meet in the middle, where all good compromises and family vacations begin.

We will also be careful with our money. It’s part of the NoCrowds ethos. Anyone can buy their way out of a crowd, (well, some can) but when you do, you tend to be around people you don’t want to be with. So for those of us who can’t or don’t want to buy our way out, we’re going to have to think our way out. Being the Easter term break, it presents a special challenge as armies of families across Europe compete for cost effective ways to keep their darlings occupied.

One child, 21 days of holiday, 2 cities and a budget. In exactly 30 minutes, Eloise will be released from school. It's time to begin.

With special thanks to Julie Powell, from whose blog and book Julie & Julia, I shamelessly stole this idea.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, you have your work cut out for you. Looking into what is left of my youth and past visits, Covent Garden (never lacking for some musical entertainment by youthful performers), Greenwich (pastoral, historical and scientific) and the Serpentine would be where my child's heart would want to go.