Holiday, holiday, holiday

Kim goes Wilde in the country, downhill in Italy and arty in New York. Mike Gardner wishes he was there.

Spring is in the air. It’s the time when a young man’s (or girl’s) fancy turns to holidays. As soon as you’ve finished the last Chocolate Button from your Easter Egg or swopped your football scarf for the summery sounds of leather on willow and “Rain Stopped Play” – it is time to get out those holiday brochures you ordered after seeing the ad during the Christmas showing of ‘Raiders of the lost ark’.
But where to go? Barbados? Benidorm? Bognor? We were going to seek the advice of Cliff Michelmore or Judith Chalmers, but we never believe them. Would you trust a show that pays Frank and Nestta Bough or Shaw Taylor’s family to go on a tedious car holiday through France when we’re all available to do it for nothing?
So we asked the sunshine girl of pop – Kim Wilde, currently doing well in the charts with ‘Rage to love’ – to give us the lowdown on her holiday high times.

Where did you go when you were young?
We didn’t go on holiday as a family till I was eight or nine. Sometimes I’d go to Blackpool because my father (Fifties teen idol Marty Wilde) used to be appearing there (in summer seasons). I loved it. It all seems magical there. I loved all the bucket and spade, shells, seaweed and finding things in rock pools stuff. Summers always seemed hotter then – it always seemed to be baking.

Did you ever have family holidays abroad?
My family and another did a couple of motoring holidays through France, over the Pyrenees and into Spain. It was a great holiday for young kids. I thought it was great but my mother says it was the worst – it must have been tough looking after all those kids.
The sanitary situation is my outstanding memory. I was disgusted with the loos. It was fine in the big towns but we drove down a lot of country villages and all they had was a hole in the ground. You had to be careful where you put your feet. It was a bit animalistic.
But I loved running into the sea, eating fresh fish, paella and nice chocolate ice lollies. I loved sleeping in a strange place. Obviously I bought the spotty Spanish dress, sombrero and Spanish fans. We kept ourselves to ourselves and it wasn’t until I was older that I made friends with the locals.

Did you ever go on a camping holiday?
We went when I was about nine or 10 with my primary school. It was a summer camp in Cuffly, Hertfordshire. I really got into the wild outdoors. I loved making fires, drinking hot chocolate, walking through the forests and slipping into a sleeping bag.
It was my first time away but I wasn’t homesick. It was geared to making you feel you were self-sufficient. I loved all that food. I was never one who complained about school dinners. Having a South London Dad and a Liverpudlian Mum, you learnt not to be a fussy eater. So greasy camp-fire egges and bacon were great. Anything, as long as it wasn’t semolina.
The river had dried up that year. We followed the dry bed upstream into a forest and found where it had got blocked. We unblocked it and scraped aways at the river bed until it came down as far as our camp and then we built a dam so it stayed there.
The great thing was nipping into other people’s tents for a midnight feats with sweeties and soft drinks. I even got a quick peck on the cheeck from a boy named Roger. I adored him at the time.

Did you ever have any holidays on your own abroad?
In our secondary school we went on ski-ing holidays. I took to the sport like a duck to water. I loved going away. My girls’ school went with a boys’ school because one of their teachers was married to our headmistress. They always took us in January when the weather was bad. It was always just after you’ve been disappointed that it hadn’t snowed at Christmas in England. It was magical to fly to the Italian alps.
The hotels looked horrible. They were very bleak and like a dormitory with six to a room. They used to do things like slam the soup down in front of you.
Nobody ever injured themselves. It was invariably the same people every year. We’ve kept it up and have been every year since. We went in March this year.

Is it still fun?
It’s a great feeling to go on holidays with people you’ve been going with since you were 12. But you’d never think I’d been going that long if you could see me ski.
It’s quite an ordeal to get there. It’s a booked thing so you have to get to the airport at 6.00 am. I feel like a kid each year. We spend ages re-discovering each other and asking how we’ve got on during the year. Some of them bring new people like fiances or wives. But we all muddle in.
There’s always a rush for the photobooth. You need pictures for your ski pass to use the lifts. It’s a seven hour trip from the airport due to the traffic. It’s difficult to get the coach to stop to go to the loo or get a meal. When we do stop there’s a queue to eat because all the other coaches have stopped there.
Then you have to queue up for the hired skis. After that it’s usually a breeze. One can have lessons or just get on with it. It can be frustrating if you can ski and you’ve got to teach a partner how to do it.
We always go self-catering. The food’s to expensive to eat out and it’s more enjoyable to cook for ourselves. It’s great shopping for the local cheeses and salami. The only problem is with the various cooks. Some are terrible. There’s one who I’m going to insist doesn’t cook next year. She did try but… I still don’t know what it was supposed to be.
It’s lots of laughs. Everything seems funny or hysterical. It must have a lot to do with the altitude and the alcohol. The only dangers are from the ski-instructors who strut around in their slinky ski suits. But because we travel with blokes, their presence can usually keep the wolves at bay.

What about the summer holidays?
I get less and less time in the summer because I’m working. But I have been on a few driving holidays though France. I love the independence of having a car. We go down to the Riviera. I don’t like sunbathing. I try not to use suntan or oil because I like to look after my skin so I stay clear of anything that tans. I use a screening oil. I have to be careful because I burn very easily. I really couldn’t sit down all the time. I try and get into the place as much as possible.

Any other places to recommend?
I went for a week in New York. It was great. I really liked the Museum of Modern Art. It was full of the most fantastic things and it was brilliantly presented. I walked out thinking ‘Wow’. I wanted to buy everything there. Surprisingly the library and bookshops in the museum itself didn’t have much to buy in the way of souvenirs.
I went up the World Trade Centre. Now that was incredible. It’s the highest place in Manhattan. I loved walking around Greenwich Village. I got into the food and TV over there. I even liked the smell of the place – a mixture of food and garbage. It’s an incredible place.
I also like Tunisia. I love eating. They do cous cous – which is millet which they steam cook and then add a root vegetable like turnip or carrot and then serve it with lamb or fish and a wonderful sauce. You get loads of it and it’s cheap. They have a low standard of living but a high standard of eating there. The place just knocked me out.