Don’t Let The Bed Blogs Bite (Part II)

Last week, I started telling you about our recent glamping weekend in the New Forest, which my wife had won as a runners-up prize in a Kinder egg competition she had entered several months earlier (the main prize was a family holiday to Disneyland, if that helps explain her momentary lapse of sanity).

At the end of Part I, we had just retired to bed on our first night, sleeping in a dirty looking canvas lodge deep into the woods, where no one would hear our screams if we happened to be butchered in our sleep by our rather unusual hosts.

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No, wait, that’s slightly unfair. They actually seemed quite pleasant, it’s just that they clearly viewed us as nothing more than city folk (despite the fact we live in a market town in Cheshire), who were only glamping because we had won the weekend in a competition, and would never normally consider a rural retreat for a weekend away.

How dare they accurately sum us up within five minutes of our arrival…..

***

Saturday 27th July 2019

If truth be told, I actually slept quite well last night – possibly fueled by the bottle of red wine I consumed before going to bed – although I did have a dream about being trapped in a forest during the zombie apocalypse (which doesn’t exactly require a sleep expert to decipher), so I evidently still have reservations about our surroundings – and our hosts.

The boys, however, should be more worried about me attacking them, since – despite sleeping soundly enough – they have apparently woken up with the intention of clawing the living shit out of each other, and if their behaviour doesn’t improve soon, it will be Daddy who loses it with something sharp.

Actually, thinking about it, there are definite parallels to The Shining here. An aspiring writer gets isolated from civilisation, with only his family for company, and slowly loses his mind… before chasing them around with an axe. Hmmm, food for thought.

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Speaking of food, I thought I had come prepared for this trip, by bringing two multi-packs of Kellogg’s Variety Cereal (to cover our three breakfasts here), but since Isaac has apparently made it his mission to devour at least half the boxes on the first day, I suspect we’ll run out well before then. Assuming we survive long enough.

My wife is pissed off, too, as she was bitten on her leg during the night and, in fairness, it does look very sore and itchy. I seem to have avoided any bites, touch wood (hmmm, I wonder if there’s any wood nearby….?), so I have had to disguise my smugness/relief in favour of appearing sympathetic instead. I think I’m getting away with it.

Over breakfast, during a brief respite from attacking Ollie, Isaac started screaming because he had heard us talk about being bitten (and particularly about the blood-sucking arachnids we have been warned are in the area), and had decided there was a bug feasting on his leg. Thankfully, upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a Coco Pop.

Time to get out and about.

***

We had no real plans today, other than our organised archery session at the activity centre adjacent to the farm; and, since Meghan at the travel company had not booked this until 4pm, we decided to make the most of the sunshine by heading to the beach at Bournemouth.

When we arrived, at the slightly less crowded ‘Alum Chine’ (about ten minutes to the East of the main promenade), I immediately set up camp on an empty bench just before the beach. I argued that this was purely to keep our belongings safely away from the sand, but my wife knew that the real reason was to keep me safely away from the sand. I hate sand.

So, having bought myself a cup of tea from the nearby kiosk, I settled in to enjoy the sunshine – and some quality people watching. It was around this point that I realised I had turned into my Nan, but that was a price I was willing to pay, if it meant avoiding getting my feet and legs (and, heaven forbid, anywhere more ‘intimate’) caked in sand *shudders*. Still, it certainly looked like a nice beach, from the relative safety of my bench:

The first people I noticed, were a couple a little younger than us, who looked very much like ‘beach types’, which meant I instantly disliked them. They were athletic, tanned, and thoroughly fucking smug with themselves. Unfortunately, just as I was glaring at them, willing either (or both) to trip and fall on their face, the lady bent over to take her shorts off – revealing a skimpy bikini underneath – and I had to immediately avert my eyes, before I was accused of being some kind of beach pervert. Again.

Unfortunately, my instinctive reaction was to look in the opposite direction, but this meant my gaze was instantly fixed on two elderly women to my right, who were also in bikinis – and rubbing sun lotion onto each other. Since this view was equally inappropriate (albeit for different reasons), I found myself not knowing which way to look, and briefly panicked – like I was watching a high-speed tennis match – before fumbling for my phone to give me something else to focus on. And, before you think I could/should have been watching my family playing in the sand, they were positioned directly behind the attractive lady’s bottom.

Soon after, I encountered the only person at Alum Chine who was ‘enjoying’ the beach even less than me, as a family arrived next to my bench with a teenage daughter in full ‘goth’ attire – complete with torn black jeans, black jumper, and black trench coat. By this point it was nearly midday, and glorious weather, so you can imagine how sweaty and miserable she looked (even though goths often look miserable anyway). I nearly introduced myself, so we could bond over loud angry music, and our mutual dislike of beaches, but I thought that might seem a bit weird, so I went back to watching the two pensioners rubbing sun lotion onto each other instead.

After a nice day in Bournemouth (I was going to say ‘lovely’, but I’ve downgraded it as a result of being forced to scrape wet sand off Ollie’s feet and legs), we returned back to the farm in time for our archery session.

Having followed the signs even deeper into the forest, to the ‘outdoor activity centre’ (which was, in reality, just a dreadlocked man in a gazebo), we encountered a dozen other people, who were also there for an early-evening of fun with dangerously sharp stuff – since there was not only archery on offer, but also crossbows and axe-throwing. Fortunately, Isaac was too young to partake in the latter two activities, because I have no doubt someone (most likely me) would have lost a limb.

After a brief introduction, and some safety tips (‘don’t point the bow at your Daddy’s face, Isaac’), it would be fair to say I was the finest archer in our family – no surprises there, I’m a natural athlete, just look at me – but Isaac was undoubtedly next in line. In fairness, that was mostly because my wife was stood helping him load his bow each time, rather than taking part herself, but also because Ollie was relatively shite at it, and ended up crying as a result.

The situation wasn’t helped by ‘Dreadlock Dave’ (I think his actual name might have been Josh, but that doesn’t work as well), deciding to spice it up a bit for our boys, by adding some small balloons to the bullseye to see if either of them could pop one. Unsurprisingly, Isaac popped both, and Ollie sulked for the next hour.

After our archery session, we were told that the owners of the farm would be lighting the outdoor ‘pizza oven’ next to our lodge, and anyone could use it to make their own pizza from the ingredients on offer in the ‘honesty shop’ on site (for those unaccustomed with the concept of an ‘honesty shop’, you essentially take whatever you want, then settle up at the end of your stay).

Now, the last thing I wanted to do while on holiday was cook, let alone stand next to a hot kiln with other (proper) glampers, making polite conversation about how lovely it is to be sleeping outdoors with every insect known to man (spoiler: it’s not); but it was the only thing guaranteed to stop Ollie sulking, so I reluctantly agreed. Sadly, the limited supplies in the honesty shop restricted the boys to margherita pizza, and even though Isaac set about making ‘the cheesiest pizza ever seen’, he later complained that it was ‘too cheesy’. Twat.

Meanwhile, Ollie was either delighted with his dinner, or he knew full well I would push it into his stupid sulky face if he didn’t eat it all, because he kept saying how delicious it was.

“Daddy, did you know, when Italian people really enjoy their food, they put their fingers to their lips like this…..

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…. and say Bravissimo!”

“No, they don’t.”

“Yes, they do, I’ve seen it on TV.”

“Then you’ve been watching ladies underwear commercials, pal, because ‘Bravissimo’ make bras. The word you’re after is Bellissimo.”

Since neither my wife nor I fancied cremated pizza for dinner, once the boys were in bed I drove into Fordingbridge to pick up a Chinese takeaway, and although I couldn’t quite manage all the crispy chilli beef I ordered, it went particularly well with the beers – followed by more red wine – I had purchased to accompany the meal.

Then, once dinner was finished, and I felt too tired / inebriated to wash up, I left the takeaway containers by the side of the sink, and headed to bed.

Little did I know, that decision would come back to haunt me…..

To be concluded……

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The Mickey Mouse BlogHouse

Come inside, it’s fun inside!

Now, if you have young children, and your television is *blessed* with the Disney channel, that probably made perfect sense. You might even have sung along, whilst twitching uncontrollably.

However, if you don’t have young children, and have never had the *pleasure* of watching ‘The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse’, not only will one of the catchiest theme tunes in cartoon history have passed you by, but you probably thought I had taken leave of my senses, or started drinking heavily whilst blogging.

Fear not, since I lost my senses shortly after Ollie was born, and haven’t – as yet – managed to complete a single blog entry fully sober, so I cannot blame Mickey Mouse and his cartoon pals for my increasingly fragile state of mind.

Perhaps I should explain. Two weeks ago, my wife and I took the boys to Disneyland Paris for half-term, and whilst I hadn’t expected the experience to be stress-free and relaxing, I equally hadn’t expected to return to work more exhausted than when I had skipped out of the office the Friday before.

If you have never been to Disneyland Paris, let me try to describe it. Imagine Alton Towers or Chessington World of Adventures, only twice as expensive, and with the colour contrast turned up full (to the extent you require sunglasses, even in October). Then, throw in some over-sized cartoon characters, a truckload of rude Europeans, and – so that you don’t think I’m being all post-Brexit xenophobic – an even larger number of obnoxious Brits. Finally, cover everything in glitter, and start playing the Frozen soundtrack on repeat, until your ears bleed.

We were there for four days, and if you ever think of going yourself, I would suggest you need at least that long to try and experience everything – the place is fucking huge. Not Ikea huge, but it’s certainly bigger than Luxembourg. Having said that, any more than a week, and you’ll most likely require strong medication and therapy for some time afterwards – not to mention a second mortgage – so four days is about right.

Our flight from Manchester to Paris was early Sunday morning, and within minutes of entering Charles de Gaulle airport, we encountered the very worst of British people abroad. I decided to nip to the toilet while we waited for the suitcases, and forced Ollie to come with me for ‘a little try’, despite his protests that he didn’t need to go.

As we performed our post-urinary ablutions (that’s how posh folk say they’ve washed their hands after taking a piss), a father and son walked in from our flight. I won’t say what part of the UK they were from – ok, it was Newcastle – but they were as rough as a camel’s arse. Soon after, a man walked past us speaking in French (as was his prerogative, being from France) and the son, who was around Ollie’s age, looked at his Dad and innocently asked what the man had said.

“Howay son, ha should aye noo? Tha all fookin’ weird these French.”

Classy.

Our bags arrived uncharacteristically promptly for most European airports (and I include our own in that sweeping generalisation), but Isaac’s pushchair was unfortunately nowhere to be seen, and once you’ve watched the same abandoned suitcase go past you seven times, you have to accept that no new items are going to appear.

Thankfully, we were not the only family in this situation, and it turned out that no pushchairs had seemingly made it off the plane, so a few of us went in search of someone to ask. I’m not sure how much help I expected to be, with the solitary year of French I studied in 1994 (frankly, unless ordering a baguette, finding a swimming pool, or asking an airport employee their birthday was likely to be of assistance, I was pretty much useless), but fortunately my woeful language skills were not required, as we then happened to stumble across a kind of ‘buggy park’, where everyone’s infant carriers had been mercilessly dumped. If only they’d told us.

We then managed to find our way to the transfer bus, which was relatively easy (it was near a swimming pool), but naturally the pushchair incident meant we missed our intended transfer. Admittedly, the next one was only twenty minutes away, but I am naturally impatient, and was still ranting about the buggy park when the bus arrived. When will airport bosses learn, that parents need their pushchairs before the suitcases (ideally within thirty seconds of disembarkation, to restrain their rampant offspring), and preferably not abandoned on the other side of the fucking terminal?

Fortunately, my temper was eased by our encounter with idiot Brit #2. Having already ticked ‘xenophobe’ off our list, we could now add ‘chronic imbecile’ to the collection. As we took our seats on the bus, a tracksuit family sat behind us, and whilst I won’t say what part of the Country they were from – ok, Birmingham – the mother was clearly not the sharpest. I listened while she asked her son, who was a good few years older than Ollie, whether he could spell ‘Disney’. I won’t judge the poor lad, as there could be any number of reasons why he might struggle with spelling (the main one, I fear, being his lobotomised mother), but he only managed ‘D-I-S-N-Y’.

A fair attempt, but then loudmouth mum congratulated him for being so close, having apparently succeeded in getting ‘four out of five’ correct. The mind boggles.

Thankfully, the transfer to Disneyland was shorter than expected (which was for the best, since if I had heard ‘Brummy Mummy’ mention how Disneyland Paris was smaller than the ‘real’ one in America one more time, I may very well have forced my fist down her throat), and despite arriving a couple of hours before check-in, our room was ready. We were therefore able to drop our belongings, and head straight back out of the hotel towards the Disneyland Park.

At this point, I could describe our holiday in detail, but fear you would find that rather boring, so I will sum up our experience with brevity: we spent three days queuing – to meet characters, go on rides, or eat. Well, I say ‘queuing’, but the French have no concept of the phrase. They do have a word for queue (in typical Gallic apathy, it’s queue, but you have to pronounce it with contempt, in the same way you might say ‘skidmark’, ‘moist’ or ‘Burnley’), but if you try to explain the British tradition of standing in a line and awaiting your turn, they look at you blankly.

They are also incapable of apologising. I lost count of the number of times someone walked into me, and in true British fashion I instinctively apologised (even though it was clearly not my fault). Each time, I got nothing in return other than a scowl, which suggested it was indeed my fault for being in their direct path, while they weren’t looking where they were going.

Soon after entering the park, we encountered our first taste of queuing, as we stood for nearly an hour and a half to meet this cat:

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Apparently, this is ‘Marie’ from The Aristocats, who we had no real desire to meet, but we just saw a line and joined it – because it seemed like the right (British) thing to do.

After an hour and a half, I did start to panic about what the lines would be like for characters we had actually fucking heard of, but it later transpired that most photo opportunities are kept quite brief. Not Marie though. She insisted on trying to be *cute* with every child she encountered, but the charm of watching her lick her paws – and then each child – wore off remarkably quickly. By the time it was finally our turn, I glared with my very best ‘lick me, and I promise I will hurt you’ look (which, amazingly, is not a look I have ever required before).

In contrast, the queues for meeting Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Donald (you know, the proper characters) were far quicker. Ollie also got over his initial shyness, which was thankfully used up on the rather pointless Marie, and all of our subsequent photographs were far less painful.

Isaac was terrified of everyone, obviously, but in fairness I can understand why a giant over-sized cartoon stranger might be intimidating to a two-year-old.

On the Monday, we watched the evening parade, which was relatively entertaining – in an overly camp and brightly-coloured way – with the highlight being ‘Belle’ from Beauty and the Beast (who was gorgeous). The red-haired sister from Frozen was easy on the eye too – although I should stress at this point, both characters were played by adult women.

On Tuesday, we let the boys stay up late for ‘Dreams’ – which is essentially a series of cartoon projections onto the Disneyland castle, followed by fireworks, and while we waited for this to start, Ollie and I encountered our third example of ‘detestable Brits abroad’.

As we queued (again) for a meagre box of popcorn – which, incidentally, cost the same as a small family car – a man and child walked behind us, and I caught the following snippet of conversation:

“Stop calling me ‘Dad’, will you? How many times do I have to tell you, I’m not your real Dad?”

Suddenly, ‘Toilet Geordie’ from the airport seemed like Dad of the Year.

We had one mission for our final day, and that was for Ollie to take part in the Star Wars ‘Jedi Academy’, which he had initially decided he was too scared to do, but had slowly plucked up the courage. I can’t blame him, as he had to show off his Jedi moves – and then battle Darth Vader – in front of an audience of about two-hundred people, which I would have been terrified of at his age, but – as is so often the case with Ollie – he made us proud. I only wish the age limit hadn’t been twelve, as I quite fancied taking part myself.

Sadly, the queuing system for the Jedi Academy was a farce, with the result my wife had to stay with Ollie (for over an hour), while I tried to entertain Isaac. This was not helped by the fact I had been suffering with a stomach bug, and required regular visits to the toilet – one of which struck me at this precise moment.

As I dashed to the nearest toilet, I suddenly realised that they were playing Disney songs through the speakers, and I had to suffer an attack of the ‘back-door quick-step’, to the already-nauseating Frozen soundtrack. Thankfully, even in my weakened state, I could appreciate the humour of enduring an explosive bowel movement to ‘Let it Go’. I couldn’t fucking keep it in if I wanted to, love.

Thankfully, despite my stomach upset, the astronomical price of everything, the rain, and the French, our holiday was a success. It wasn’t a relaxing break by any stretch, but it was always going to be about the boys, and they haven’t stopped talking about it ever since.

Even the truly-ludicrous ‘self-service’ procedures at Charles de Gaulle airport didn’t spoil our trip. I understand the appeal of checking-in online beforehand, and welcome it as one less hindrance, but they now require you to also print out your own luggage tags, and scan your own boarding pass at a turnstile, before getting onto the plane. I suppose next on the agenda, is for all the passengers to get together and nominate someone as the co-pilot, to make further savings.

I am all for tolerance of our quirky European neighbours (and, indeed, those around the world – America, I’m looking at you), but the French are really starting to stretch my patience now.

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Blog Tropicana, Drinks Are Free

On Monday, all being well, we will be flying to Majorca for a week of Mediterranean sunshine.

I say ‘all being well’, because as the holiday draws ever nearer, I am increasingly conscious of the fact this will be our first trip abroad as a family of four, and I worry that there are a number of things that could go spectacularly wrong before we even get there.

We’ve taken Ollie abroad a couple of times, but at least then one of us could look after him, while the other organised everything else. Now, with Isaac in tow as well, we’ll most likely have to be in charge of one child each, but then who’s keeping an eye on our luggage if both children start misbehaving at the same time? Airport security aren’t exactly known for their tolerance of unattended bags, even if you do have the legitimate excuse of an escapee child, and I’d rather not go through the embarrassment of having my underwear blown to smithereens in a controlled explosion.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m really looking forward to the holiday, if (sorry, once) we get there, it’s just that actually arriving at our hotel in Calas de Mallorca seems a long way away, and I don’t mean geographically.

It’s not that I have an issue with Isaac in particular. In fact, I’ve grown quite fond of the little reprobate over the past year-and-a-bit, and I certainly wouldn’t contemplate leaving him behind (if I was going to do that, I’d leave Ollie too), but I do worry that taking two young children abroad is likely to be several times more stressful than taking just one.

You might think that I’m being overly pessimistic and grumpy here (who, moi?), or unnecessarily harsh about our offspring, but you need to bear in mind two very important points:

  1. I become stressed very easily, particularly in places like airports (which are, quite frankly, unparalleled when it comes to raising my blood pressure);
  2. Our children, despite the four-year age gap, have the same innate ability to identify a situation where we really need them to behave, and then immediately turn feral just to piss us off.

Holidays can be a wonderful way of relaxing, and distancing yourself from the monotony and pressures of everyday life, but actually getting there in the first place can be the most stressful ordeal known to mankind – particularly when you add children into the equation. It’s almost like you have to earn your break.

Even worse, if you’re anything like me, the stress of going on holiday isn’t restricted to the day of departure – it can kick in weeks in advance. Aside from the obvious pressure of ensuring you have all the documentation stored somewhere safe, you also have to worry about buying everything you might need (and some things you almost certainly won’t).

Like a new toothbrush, for example. Why do we do this? It’s looked more like a toilet brush than a toothbrush for months now, so one more week won’t make any difference, and it’s not like any dental-conscious Majorcans will be popping round to inspect it while we’re there.

Then there are those stupid bloody plug adaptors you always have to buy, because for some strange reason everyone in the world has different plugs to us, and you can never find the adaptor you bought the last time you went away.

Oh, and you have to start wearing your shitty clothes (clothes you no longer like, or which have seen better days, rather than clothing you have actually fouled yourself in) at least two weeks before packing, so that you can keep your nicer stuff clean to take with you without the need for a last-minute laundry rush. I even do it with underwear. There is virtually no chance of anyone catching a glimpse of my boxers while we’re away (aforementioned controlled explosion in the airport aside), yet I insist on taking my very finest pairs away with me, and wearing pants for the final two weeks that, quite honestly, Compo from Last Of The Summer Wine would be embarrassed by.

You might argue that I am unnecessarily panicking over trivial issues here, particularly when this is all well in advance of the real trauma of actually getting to the airport on time, but if you are one of those people who doesn’t lose sleep over packing, then you are living life too recklessly as far as I am concerned. Frankly, you deserve to forget something, or end up on the receiving end of a full cavity search because you tried to take talcum powder onto the plane.

Fortunately, not only am I a stickler for making lists, but I start them weeks in advance of needing to tick them off, so there’s a good chance we won’t forget anything too important. I already know exactly where the passports, tickets, E111 Health cards and currency are all stored, and I’ve checked each of them five times just to make sure (I know this, because I have five ticks next to each item on my list).

So the basics are there, but then I begin to panic disproportionately about little things, like taking the right book to read by the pool. Will I finish that one too quickly, and run out of stuff to read half way through the week? Then again, is the other book over there a bit heavy going, and am I better off taking something more light-hearted for a holiday? Oh, but perhaps this one is too light-hearted, and other holiday-makers will think I’m an uneducated moron who buys The Sun.

Maybe I should pick up a cheap Stephen Hawking, but hide that new Stephen King inside? Or better still, buy a copy of the Financial Times at the airport, and smuggle FHM around within its stupid salmon-pink pages? Then everyone will think I’m checking out the latest Dow Jones, when I’m actually checking out Rosie Jones.

Of course, all of this is irrelevant, as I am making the fatal mistake of planning my packing like a man with no children. If I was being rational, and logical, I would realise that my chances of sitting down in the sunshine with a good book are almost nil, and even then I’m assuming there will be enough space in amongst the baby clothes and nappies in which to fit a book in the first place.

My wife, who is far more pragmatic than I am, is thinking more like a mother, and she is packing accordingly. Whereas I have worked out the optimum number of t-shirts to take with me (easy, one a day), she has applied a ‘vomit and shit’ quotient to her packing, and has added 33% more clothing for herself and the boys as a precaution. Add in the inevitable ice-cream/sun-cream/sand combo, that will have both boys looking like Blue Peter projects by the end of day one, and suddenly we need to take every item of clothing they own.

I then have to worry about getting us all up at 3.30am on Monday morning, to make it to the airport on time. The flight isn’t until 6am, and we’ll have checked into our pre-booked seats in advance, but I still insist on getting to the airport in plenty of time to avoid any last minute (additional) stress.

I’ve thoroughly checked the law on children travelling in taxis without a car seat, at least half a dozen times in fact, but now I’ve typed that sentence I best go and re-read it again just to be certain. Yep, we’re fine. I’ll also end up phoning the taxi company a few times, just to make sure they have the booking right, even though that probably only means I’ll piss them off so much they won’t turn up.

I’ll then check the passports and other travel papers again before we leave the house, even though I know they will be in exactly the same place I left them right before going to bed Sunday night.

Once we’ve all got up, made it to the airport on time, and dumped the 14 suitcases, I should then be able to relax a little.

You would think.

But then you have to get through security. I was always one of those kids at school who would go red and look guilty during a mass-bollocking, even though I usually hadn’t done anything wrong, and that affliction has never left me. So, although I never have cause to worry going through security, that doesn’t stop beads of nervous sweat forming at my brow when they ask me to take my shoes and belt off. And to make matters worse, I try to disguise my nervousness and anxiety by making jokes, despite knowing full well that customs officials are the most humourless and miserable people this side of a Post Office counter.

I know that there is nothing dodgy in my bags, but my mind always goes back to the time I decided to take some poker chips with me on a lads’ trip to Belfast. Rather than have them loose in my bag, I stacked them into a metal tin and put an elastic band around it to keep the lid on. I then (for reasons which remain unclear), tucked some spare batteries for my CD player – which I didn’t want loose in the bag – under the elastic band. I might as well have painted ‘Bomb’ on the top. Even I did a double take as it went through the scanner, and how I escaped the gloved-finger of a stern airport official going up my bottom, remains a mystery.

Ok, supposing we make it out of the house, through the airport, and onto the correct flight without incident. Unlikely, but just imagine. We haven’t even left the country yet.

I still have to worry about Isaac screaming for the whole flight (and this is part of the reason we chose Majorca, so that we only have to be the most hated people on a plane for a little over two-hours) or Ollie having a full-blown tantrum (which could be caused by so many unexpected factors I could write a book just on that subject).

With any luck though, Isaac will sleep through the flight, and Ollie will behave for just long enough that we arrive in Majorca in one piece and without an enraged mob of passengers chasing us to our transfer coach with pitchforks and torches (which they will have managed to smuggle through customs, even though my razor got taken off me in Manchester). We’re then just a short one-hour journey from our hotel.

But, if we do make it, it will all have been worth it. The hotel is right by the beach, and due to its shape and positioning all the rooms have a sea-view. It’s just a short walk to the resort centre, with plenty of bars and shops, and there’s a ‘land train’ that runs around our little part of the island which the boys will love.

But best of all, because both kids are fussy when it comes to eating (so dining out for every meal would be costly and largely ineffective), we’ve decided to go all inclusive. There are a number of restaurants within the hotel, including a barbecue and pizzeria (which should keep Ollie happy) and there are snacks, ice-creams and pastries in-between meal times. Most importantly, there will be unlimited, cold, delicious beer – which I plan to partake in (with gusto) as soon as we’ve checked in.

And by God I’ll have earned it.

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