Youâ€™d think the little buggers would be grateful. Caroline and I had just shelled out for our two middle children â€” Freddie, 11, and Ludo, 13 â€” to spend a week in Austria on the schoolâ€™s half-term ski trip. It meant we couldnâ€™t afford to leave the house for the whole of February, but we stupidly paid for their sister to go on the same trip last year so felt we had no choice. Yet as soon as they came back they wanted to know where we were going on holiday this summer.
Ten years ago, they were more than happy to go to Cornwall, which suited me down to the ground. I would sit on the beach behind a windbreak, reading a James Ellroy novel, while the children pottered about in the sand. Weâ€™d have pasties for lunch, followed by an ice cream from Roskillyâ€™s, and then, in the late afternoon, go for a walk along the coastal path.
I liked the simplicity of it, the innocence. Above all, I liked the fact that it was cheap. Renting a three-bedroom house on the north coast cost about ÂŁ1,000 and there were no flights to pay for â€” ruinous when you have four children. I would happily repeat that holiday every year until they cart me off to a retirement home. (To read more, click here.)