YOUR HOLIDAY DISASTER

At least Lucas Sinclair's camera wasn't stolen so he has reminders of his misery
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The Independent Travel
About six years ago my family and my older brother's then best friend, Tom (who had diabetes and constantly had to be given food and drink), decided to hire a house in the South of France. All the self-catering homes in the area shared a pool and a tennis court. Three weeks of fun in the sun. How wrong we were.

We had recently bought a new car, with a roof rack. We tied the suitcases on with string and a bungee cord and set off for Dover. On the motorway a suitcase fell off the roof, went under a van, got caught on the exhaust pipe and went up in flames. We grabbed the char-grilled suitcase, which had most of my clothes in it, stuffed it into the car and drove off.

Once over the Channel we drove on to Calais station. On the way another suitcase fell off and hit a passing motorbike. We stuffed this one into the car and drove off. At Calais they told us that MotorRail was on strike and to go to Boulogne. At Boulogne we waited four hours for our train. In that time we finished off our picnic and I got locked in the lavatory. I had to crawl out.

At Plan de la Tour, our holiday village, we sought out our house. It was the only one without a patio. The first night we decided to have a barbecue, but our neighbours quickly informed us that there was a fire risk and we couldn't use the barbecue that was provided. The next day my brother Greg and Tom went to find the pool. They found a pool just around the corner but they were told to get lost by a grumpy old French man. It was a private pool. We found the proper pool after walking a mile and climbing about 2,000 stone steps.

At the pool Greg was bitten by an insect and his leg became swollen. Back at the house he was stung by a bee on the same leg. His leg swelled up even more and and he was given antibiotics.

A little while later Tom was trying to keep my younger sister, Camilla, out of his room. He slammed the door on her finger and the nail fell off. She had to be rushed to hospital.

After two weeks Tom had had enough and went to Spain to join his family. A week later we packed and started home. At the MotorRail station one of our bags was stolen from the trolley. At 7am we were woken up by the guard. "Is this your bag?' he asked us, showing the grey travel bag we kept in the boot of our car. Our car had been broken into during the night on the train. The back and side windows were smashed and the presents for the relatives, sheets, towels and clothes had been stolen. Fortunately the camera was under the suitcase, so our holiday snapshots of all our disasters were saved.

Share your holiday nightmares by sending them to:

the Travel Editor, Holiday Disasters, Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. E-mail: sundaytravel@independent.co.uk.

Between now and 8 August all holiday disasters submitted will be entered into a competition. Prizes from Travellerseye, STA, Lonely Planet and Wanderlust include return flights to New York, Paris and Amsterdam. A collection of the best submissions will be published in Travellerseye's forthcoming book Travellers' Tales from Heaven & Hell. More details on 01746 766447 or http://www.travellerseye.com

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