Relaxing break was a challenge

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Friends and family released balloons on Portsdown Hill on what would have been Katie's 15th birthday on February 4

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When it comes to children, the autumn half-term has to be the most challenging of all the holidays in the year.

I decided to take last week off so that we could enjoy some quality family time together.

I was picturing brisk dog walks through semi-fermented piles of leaves.

Or maybe standing on the beach in Portsmouth watching the powerful white rollers pounding the pebbles.

Instead we had a week of skirting around weather that seemed to be having an identity crisis.

It’s warmish cold, no it’s heaving it down, no it’s sunny, look it’s kite flying weather. Well it was three minutes ago.

Setting off for a dog walk in short sleeves and then wishing we’d taken a matching family set of fisherman’s oil-skins was a regular occurrence.

Throw in an 18-month-old who is teething, and a delightful case of the highly contagious hand foot and mouth disease, and you’ll understand why I’m pleased to be going back to work.