YOU know you’re officially old when you start churning out parent-patter.

YOU know you’re officially old when you start churning out parent-patter.

Last week I actually found myself telling my children “you don’t know how lucky you are” whilst they both gazed at me with utter contempt in their eyes.

But it’s true, they don’t! Take our holiday two weeks ago, for instance.

They spent seven days in the Spanish sun, staying in a poolside villa with their cousins. And while they’re grateful (I hope!) they don’t really know anything different. This is the ‘norm’ for my lucky little lot.

When I was a child our holidays were very different. We didn’t go on a plane until we were in our teens. Before that it was Butlins. If you were lucky, anyway. We went to Sundrum Castle holiday park once, when I was about six.

No planes necessary on this occasion on account of it being in Ayr – a mere 15 miles away. We crammed in to the car – not a car seat, booster or seatbelt in sight – and we were off. (It was 1986 – in-car safety had not yet evolved). Cliff Richard had barely finished singing ‘Summer Holiday’ on the radio and we had arrived. We piled in to the caravan which was (allegedly) equipped for two adults and five children.

Like proverbial sardines, four of us – me, my sister, our two older brothers – squeezed in to one of the rooms, while the Olds and our baby brother were in another. As is usually the case with a caravan holiday, the resort is purpose-built for kids. And it’s swarming with them. Like ants over discarded doughnuts, they are everywhere.

There was so much to do my sister, Claire and I were close to combustion with excitement. First thing’s first though – as every child knows – you have to check-out the swimming pool. Off we went with our changing bags to test the pool – and to check if it measured up to the Magnum. It did!

After a few hours soaking, splashing and sliding, we’d had enough and went to get dried and changed. Then disaster struck. In the midst of our hastily arranged swim we forgot to pack towels. Our parents were waiting elsewhere for us and our brothers were in the boys’ changing room.

Only one thing for it – improvise. And we did. In what we thought was a masterstroke, we hurriedly dried ourselves with our clothing then put our soggy threads back on.

Yup, it was as awful as it sounds. But that wasn’t the only fiasco of the holiday. There was also the pyjama party, which, again, had my sister and I on the brink of hysteria.

Dressed in our best sleepwear, off we trotted to the main hall to join the rest of the party people in pjs. So imagine our horror when we arrived to discover all the other little people dressed in their best dancing gear as the realisation hit us that this, was in fact, Disco Night and the pjyama party was the night before. But it didn’t end there.

The hapless holiday antics continued when Fancy Dress Night came around. The adults in our midst had not realised a fancy dress night was in the holiday itinerary, thus, had not packed anything for dressing up. Again improvisation was a must. So, what do you put on six and seven-year-old girls for a fancy dress-do when you don’t have costumes?

Their older brothers’ football kits, obviously! So off we popped to the costume ball dressed like shrunken footballers in our oversized strips, baggy shorts and thigh-high socks, while our brothers stood and pointed and laughed. The humiliation was complete, and endless. To this day that holiday and all its debacles is still the subject of much hilarity.

So, when I tell my kids they don’t know how lucky they are, I mean it.