LAURA CARTLEDGE Life’s like That...Trying to plan a family holiday has left me needing a break

Bickering, board games and good old-fashioned bonding are part and parcel of family holidays.

Whether it’s a week in a caravan in rainy Cornwall or a trip abroad – for me nothing beats quality time with your nearest and dearest.

At school staff and students would always seem to unwind before the bell rang, marking the start of the six wonderful weeks which stretched ahead.

However, forever a geek, I got the same buzz when September came calling too – as stationary shopping has always been a guilty pleasure of mine.

I’ve been to some amazing places and experienced more than one ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ moment. But, it would seem, the time has come when the next family holiday might have to wait until I have one of my own.

In the past few years, with my sister and I carefully tucked up at university, our parents have been away without us. Which is fair enough, they certainly deserve it.

However, with us both back home, when summer started approaching we naturally joined in the excitement.

Swapping bedside books for brochures and carefully checking the calendar to find a time which suited us all. But gone are the days of plentiful school holidays, half terms and Easters. And in their place there are schedules, deadlines and meetings.

So the parents are off on their own and I am left with days to use but nowhere to go. Friends either lack the funds or the free time and my sister, as much as I love her, isn’t the most organised soul.

This leaves me with two options, to have a break, but stay at home, or to look at singles holidays. The latter of which conjures up images similar to those you would see late on a Friday night in a boozy bar. Starring the same cheesy chat-up lines just set against a different backdrop.

Who would have thought it would be such hard work to have time off?

* Extra day, extra busy

Bank Holidays are devilishly deceptive. The ‘extra day’ translates to being ‘extra busy’ as everyone has the same idea – to make the most of it.

And it isn’t until I look at my diary through sleepy eyes on Saturday morning that I realise I have to be everywhere at once. Luckily this included the West Dean Festival.

Ferret racing was among the attractions, but for me the building and grounds stole the show.

laura.cartledge@jpress.co.uk