My kids have just spent a couple of weeks in Libya for their school holidays and it’s funny how different the experience is for each of them. Boy 1 has never lived here. The first couple of times he visited he found it terribly boring, but now he’s preparing for public exams he realizes it’s the perfect bolthole: no friends, no YouTube, no Xbox, the pool only warm enough for brief swims, and lots of time to revise. In contrast, Boy 2 lived here for two years and was somewhat frustrated to find several of his old friends out of the country which meant that the expected distractions weren’t all available. What’s more, not being in an exam year, he got asked to help around the house. And as he would quickly point out, he’s always the one who gets asked to help because he knows where everything is. Boy 1 meanwhile is careful never to note the location of anything remotely useful.

Finding a beautifully coloured goose swimming on our pool seemed an auspicious start to the holiday, although the multi-coloured firework display at 1.30 a.m. was not so welcome. Boy 1 got all excited thinking it was gunshots, Boy 2 never heard a thing, and I enjoyed watching it through the window once I’d got used to the idea of being woken up. We planted a new tree in the garden, which seemed a good thing to do at this time of year. Roman ruins were offered and rejected. The new museum would have been accepted had we known about it in time. Otherwise we had peaceful clothes shopping trips, disturbed the sleep routine of our cats, and sat on the terrace of O2 puzzling over the great wall. Oh and as always I took them to the dentist for a check up! No wonder they love to come home to Libya!


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By Kate Minogue

Sunday 18th April 2010

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