Half-term is a joyous time. As the children get older, you get more time off while they conquer the world with their friends – at least until they get hungry and come home.
But this half-term we decided to take our brood, plus the in-laws, to Normandy.
It was a history trip to give the story of D-Day some context and to put some visuals into the concept of the five French beaches where the invasion took place 70 years ago.
Imagine my horror when the seven of us, all magnificently squashed into one people-carrier, turned up at our French cottage only to find that it was a glorified caravan.
The tin structure was there, but over-clad with a bit of wood panelling. It was lovely to look at, with a pond outside and a deck, but it was still a caravan.
This meant my husband and I ended up sleeping on the sofa bed in the lounge, which was also the kitchen, dining room and waiting area for the bathroom and toilet.
Oh yes, our toes were mere inches from where the other five had to go in the middle of the night.
What a treat as they crept past the end of our uber-squeaky metal bed frame, made ablution noises and then crept back past again.
I have never, ever felt quite so close to my family and in-laws. Literally.
That aside, it was great to be in Normandy and experience the festivities taking place in the run-up to the anniversary on Friday.
Bunting and flags were everywhere and every village we drove through had taken the time to seize the moment and remember.
Almost all had the German flag flying too – which I took as a deep mark of respect for the loss of life on both sides.
There were also loads of enthusiasts in Normandy with restored vehicles, jeeps and lorries.
One had come from near Alton Towers with a top speed of 28mph. That’s dedication – and a complete nightmare for anyone stuck behind it on the way home.
It got me thinking how lucky we are to live in this area, equally alive with D-Day commemorative events right on our doorstep.