This time next week, I will be on day four of our family holiday in Spain.

By this point, we will have been able to adequately assess if it was worth the small fortune the school will fine us for taking youngest out for a week.

If he’s been gorgeous so far, we’ll be filled with certainty that we did the right thing, that seizing this opportunity to ‘make memories’ together is priceless.

If he’s been a demented arsehole, we’ll be filled with certainty that making such horrific and lasting memories is made all the more traumatic by having paid extra for the privilege.

Eldest is in her final year of A levels and in a complete state over whether to hate us for dragging her away and making her college give her a big black mark against her attendance record, or love us for giving her the opportunity for an early Autumn tan.

Gwyneth* will be focusing solely on the availabilty of excellent but cheap Rioja and the lack of Brits on the beach.

For me, going on holiday at this time of year has brought some unforseen challenges. The biggest is my inflated appearance so soon after the six-week school-break, where I ate 21lbs of cake and chips washed down with an extra 7lbs of wine. At this point in the year, you are welcoming the return of the baggy jumper as you coast towards winter safe in the knowledge that nobody will see your outline for many months to come. Next week I will be mostly kaftanning in the shade…

Also, I must somehow protect my barnet. The extreme bleaching I inflict on my hair sucks up the chlorine in swimming pools, turning it green and not in a cool ‘tonal’ way. So I’ve bought myself this retro swimhat. I was going for 1950’s beach-belle but I think it’s more 50yr old-swimming-the-channel.

Swimhats always make me think of conception…

At school, they once showed us an unforgettable sex-ed film which featured a woman bobbing about in the middle of a swimming pool, all smiley in a red swimhat. Then all these fellas with blue swimhats dived in and thrased over to her, all aggressive and testosteroney. The fastest blue hat grabbed hold of the now not-so-smiley woman and hugged the life out of her while all the losing blue hats sloped off looking sad. The clear message to our twelve year-old selves: if you let a boy cuddle you in the swimming pool you WILL GET PREGNANT. THAT’S why they have all the ‘no heavy petting’ signs up everywhere…

There will be no heavy petting for Gwyneth and I on holiday. Partly because we’ll be permanently spangled on Rioja but also because we’ll be far too busy making glorious memories with our children who will be WITH US EVERY MINUTE OF THE DAY AND EVEN STAY UP LATE WITH US BECAUSE WE’RE ON HOLIDAY AND WANT TO SPEND AS MUCH TIME AS POSSIBLE WITH THEM WHILE THEY HIT EACH OTHER REPEATEDLY AND STORM OFF EVERY TWO MINUTES AND ARGUE OVER WHOSE TURN IT IS TO SPEAK…

I will definitely be needing a book. It needs to be something I can dip in and out of between shouting at the kids and falling asleep. Can you recommend?

NB: nothing featuring too much literary imagery or clever metaphors, no complicated plots, no horror, no true stories, no death, no violence, no kids, no politics, no philosophy, no history, no self-help… Erm, so I think I’ll just be browsing the Daily Mail showbiz website like normal then…

*For new followers (hola!) Gwyneth is my regular arguing-partner. Check out the ‘about’ section on the website for more info on this salad-munching, seed-crunching, truly unique example of a husband.