Finally, there was one sleep left before our summer holidays. At last, cries of are we there yet? when we weren’t even in the bloody car could come to an end. But first there were a few pesky little matters to get out of the way before we set off. My life is one big list. I have a list of lists. I have ones in notebooks, ones on the wall calendar, ones on the computer and ones in my head which always get forgotten and this is why I need all the other backups. So I consulted my Things To Do Before We Go On Holidays list. The clutch wasn’t clutching so in order to put an end to the tiresome need to stop on every roundabout and pump it furiously to get the car going again, we needed to get it sorted out. It transpired that it was a slightly more complicated matter than driving it to the garage and having them wave their magic wand over it. Under the bonnet and engine was mentioned along with car out of action for about two days. So we riposted with “grand job. We’ll see you when we come back.” Thankfully Mister Husband was going to be doing all the driving so we would most likely get there under three hours and in one piece. I could feel myself starting to relax already. Are we there yet? No! The Screecher Creatures were given a wallet each from their nana with some paper money and lots of loose change “for the slot machines” and they were made up. But it was time for the hard part: packing. Something that should have taken me an hour was running into its third hour. The rocking chair was groaning under the weight of all the bed linen and towels we needed to bring. I had to go in search of a third bag for Mister Husband to use and I still hadn’t packed swimming gear, my clothes or the obligatory rain gear. There were two boxes filled with nonperishable foodstuffs, two cooler boxes waiting patiently to house dairy produce, an empty box for shoes and welly boots, another on the kitchen counter containing cleaning products and we still had to pack the travel cot. And the football. And the buckets and spades. I had visions of the two smallest boys sitting, strapped onto the roof of the car. The morning of our departure actually dawned bright and promising. Are we there yet? No! But at least we were getting closer. We enjoyed our usual Saturday morning breakfast in town, picked up a few last minute provisions and then went home. The lads didn’t want to get out of the car such was their eagerness to get going so we packed our things in around them, making sure they could see out and over the mounds of stuff. Then the key was being turned in the ignition and at long last, after a month of nightly countdowns, we were on our way. Talks of basking sharks and jellyfish were the order of the day on the trip to the seaside. Screecher Creature No. 3 hadn’t a clue what holiday actually meant, and kept asking were we at holidays yet? A small row broke out over bunk bed rights but the threat of turning round and going straight back home again, ended it quickly. Driving and talking about holidays is hungry work so we stopped off in Bunclody for some potted muscles and herring in case we get famished before dinner. Oh wait, that’s Van Morrison. We found a deceptively decent looking pub in the town and went in to order what looked and smelt like a very tasty dinner indeed. Alas, an hour later, with still no sign of our lunch and the demented cries of “are we nearly there yet” changing to “when are we getting our dinner?” saw four hungry kids and two pissed off big people, leaving the premises. It was only chicken nuggets and chips for the kids and a club sandwich for Mister Husband. Maybe they had gone out on the boat to catch my fillet of haddock order. But no matter, I’m sure if we stopped off on the way home it would be ready for us. Forty minutes later, “are we there yet?” was answered with “here we are!” Relieved and hugely excited, we all piled out and went in to meet the owners and receive the grand tour of our holiday home. Everyone had a question to ask. “Where is the beach?” “Do you have broadband?” ”Can we see the bunk beds?” “Where’s the nearest doctor?” “Can I do my wee’s?” “Is the water safe to drink?” Everyone discovered their own little gem about the house. “Look! I found Lego under my bed!” “Look at the view from the sitting room window!” “Hey! There are two bunk beds!” “OMG, they have black out blinds!” “Look at the telly!!” “There’s a washing machine and a tumble dryer!” There was also a small house to be unloaded from the car parked outside. But no matter as one of them contained several bottles of Pinot Grigio which needed to be put into the fridge immediately. Are we nearly there yet? Hell, yes! Let the holiday begin!