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Family holidays: How can four completely different people of different ages and interests survive a trip away?


A camping trip

A camping trip

A camping trip

I've often wondered why, out of all of the reality series made, no one has ever thought of sticking a camera in the faces of those on holidays with their family.

Big Brother, I'm sure, wouldn't come close to capturing the depths of human incompatibility and depravity reached when you're in close quarters with people who are actually related to you for 24 hours a day over a week or two.

Riddle me this. How can four completely different people of different ages and interests survive a trip away? Himself is active and sociable. He likes getting involved in group activities and is first up if a rep calls for five-a-side pool footie.

The four-year-old is active too. But he's that in-between awkward age when he wants to go down big slides and zip lines but isn't tall or old enough for them.


The two-year-old is more independent than a 22-year-old and likely to wander over to a shifty-looking adult to tell them why she prefers Anna to Elsa.

The two kids are either as thick as thieves or are squealing for hitting/pushing/grabbing each other. Both love water. Obviously, they need 24-hour, eyes-on-the-back-of-your-head style supervision.

Me? I'm more of a sun-lounger/books/people-watcher type.

We all know there's only one right way to do a family holiday, and we all know it's our way.

The worst thing in the A to Z of forced family time together is the pre-trip packing. My motto is 'better to be looking at it, than for it', on holidays.

Hence I bring too much. I know I do. And I know France is not a Third World country. They have sun-cream there too. But the packing, especially when kids are involved and throw a tantrum if you forget a particular teddy, is a supernova of tension and stress.

All with a top note of fat-shaming when himself asks you to get on scales with the case and then on your own, to work out the weight of the case. Nothing like a bit of self-loathing to get you in holiday mood.

He'll then go into Navy Seal mode as we approach the airport. The conversation will be less 'let's get into the holiday spirit', and more military speak.

'Engage in a flanking manoeuvre at check in. I'll do some recon in case we're ambushed by fun and excitement.' He will actually wear combat-style shorts. Loads of pockets, see, for all the stuff a military commander needs.

We're camping this year, in a mobile home on a French campsite. I think we'll be very, very close to one another. I don't think there's a door to a room to slam. The babysitters aren't coming (iPad and wifi are covering).

It's on the beach but because of their age, we won't have a single second to enjoy the ocean air.

As I write this, I'm at home, typing and packing. Getting tense. As you read it, we're there. Here. Ici.

We're sure to return with happy memories and a renewed appreciation for the comforts of home. Which will last exactly three seconds.