Susan Morrison: Holiday dream is a road to ruin

MY LIFE is strewn with the wrecks of Great Ideas, burning in my wake like the hulks of Armada galleons. Oh, they all start off grand plans, full of imagination and ingenuity. And my husband always assures me that this is my best idea yet.

He always agrees with me because he knows that a combination of a complete lack of planning skills, common sense and a shaky grasp of reality mean that my Great Ideas inevitably get abandoned. He views my serial obsessions in the same way Edwardian sanatoriums for the slightly anxious used to regard basket weaving. As long as I'm being distracted by something new and shiny, I'm less likely to try dangerous things, like cooking.

Previous Great Ideas have included making a bathroom mat out of used wine corks, carefully split sideways and glued to hardboard. The idea was a sound one, requiring only several bottles of cheap white plonk, a piece of hardboard and some glue. The problems arose when I thought it might be an idea to sample the fruity Chilean white with overtones of apricot and russet apples. As a result I got pretty smashed and glued myself to the bathroom floor.

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Another fantastic idea involved empty wine bottles (there's a theme developing here), a glass cutting tool and some putty to make a glasshouse out of said empty bottles. Once again I thought consumption of the contents would be conducive to the construction process. This was not helpful. It had also escaped my attention that we did not have a garden at the time.

My biggest Great Idea involved a boat, docked and decaying in Glasgow. You can still find her on the interweb Google question thing if you put in the name "Neptune's Lady".

Someone showed me the advert offering her for sale. Oh they said, she'd make a great houseboat. Then they stood back and watched the fun. For the next year I became obsessed with buying this grand dame of the seas (aka rotting hulk) to convert into a floating home for my unwilling family.

The name Neptune's Lady quickly got shortened to Nellie. The fiendish plan was to buy Nellie, and sail her up the west coast, through the Caledonian canal and down the east coast to Leith, where a big crane would hoick her into the basin at the Shore, and there she would be converted into the sort of houseboat that gets featured on programmes fronted by posh women who wear Laura Ashley frocks and say gosh a lot.

Oh, and before you ask, no, I don't know anything about ships' engines, sailing, navigation or converting boats into houses. I don't know if boats of that size can be hoicked by crane, and I have absolutely no idea what whoever it is who is in charge of the Shore would have to say about a 105ft long boat suddenly appearing outside the posh flats.

Like an ambitious government minister, I have never viewed complete ignorance as any reason not to do something. My mother, on the other hand, began researching the internet for life jackets you could wear whilst sleeping and learning the words of For Those In Peril On The Sea.

A friend who is a marine surveyor agreed to go and look at Nellie for me. He did, and then told me it would be cheaper to move Leith to the Clyde than convert Nellie into the house of my dreams.

Another Great Idea wrecked, but like I say, I'm full of them. Here's another.

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In recent years we've had two very different holidays. We did a thing called "staycationing", which is Surrey dinner party-speak for "Hameilldaeme". We gadded about Britain having a whale of a time, and the next year we trashed our green credentials by flying long-haul to LA and hiring an RV for some R'n'R. We parked beside the sun-drenched Pacific and lazed about in the California heat.

Thus I have decided that we had such fun we should combine the two and buy a camper van.

I will pursue my dream, in the face of my family's frankly underwhelming support. I remain true to the romance of the road, undeterred by vague persistent memories of Scottish summers in my granny's caravan, listening to the incessant rain battering on the metal roof, playing endless games of Monopoly with a damp board, and the constant weird smell of Calor gas, which meant I lay awake most nights terrified that the whole shebang was going to go up like something at Cape Kennedy, sending us into orbit to become the first Scots in space.

The family are delighted. They just hide it really well. My mother's looking out for waterproofs we can sleep in.

Every cloud . . .

CLOUDS of ash stopped flights in Glasgow airspace? Since the introduction of the smoking ban in enclosed public areas there's a near-permanent pall above the city on calm days.

Last time I was there the billowing clouds of smokers' by-products enveloped overhead BA shuttles, and passing pigeons were grounded. On the plus side, you get amazing sunsets through the B&H haze.