It was weird indeed, travelling home alone after our holiday. I felt incredibly lost, incredibly bereft. It’s not as if I haven’t had time without the children before. I think it was cumulative with the sense of anti-climax I always feel at the end of a holiday, combined with disappointment at being unable to meet up with a friend as planned on the way home, combined with the knowledge that it was our last Sidmouth holiday for the time being.

But four days child-free was rather nice, as was the half of the journey where I realised I was free to stop off, to browse in the shops, to drink coffee and read my book and have my own choice of music on!

So where were the kids? I did have to ask myself whether it is really responsible of me as a parent to delegate the care of my children to two people mad enough to want to take not only my duo camping, but also their own eight-month-old baby. I hesistated for all of three seconds when they offered. The tent and sleeping bags and an extra bagful of clothes were packed in secret – thank goodness for my wonderful Kangoo which has a boot big enough to hide extra luggage in – and the faces of the boys was a treat when we met up with A and T and I just glibly started saying “hmm, my boot’s a bit overpacked. Do you have room in your car for a sleeping bag? Does the baby have a dinghy and would you like to take ours in your car? Could you fit a kite in? Would you like to take this tent too? And what about children, could I fob them off on you as well?”

The penny finally dropped … and suddenly I was free!