I have tonsillitis. I know this because I have Sylvester Stallone’s neck and because we are going on holiday in three days.
The doctor is sympathetic but questions my sanity.
‘A caravan, with three children, in October?’
‘In France,’ I add, to spice it up a bit.
‘Ah. Wine.’ Says the doctor smiling.
We chose to go to Normandy on our first trip abroad with three children because it is only three hours’ drive from Calais.
‘It’s not three hours though is it,’ I say to my husband as we all clamber out of the car for the fourth time.
Midnight has been screaming and we discover a large poo has spread up his back and onto the car seat. When Milk did this as a baby we would laugh and say ‘ooh he’s done a poonami’ but now we grunt ‘he’s done a massive one, it’s your turn.’
We spend most of the day exploring French motorway service stations and throwing money into the Toll Road machines and arrive at the campsite ten hours after leaving our house.
We have stayed in similar places before. In the summer.
The boys don’t seem to notice the driving rain. ‘Oh, I love this place!’ says Milk jumping out of the car. ‘Can I go on my bike, can we go swimming, can I have an ice-cream?’
‘Let’s just play in the caravan while we unpack’, says my husband opening a crate of beer.
We booked a three-bed caravan as a treat but soon realise the third bedroom is made out of all the available turning, walking and breathing space.
We spend an hour moving our bags around in a circle while the boys jump on the beds and Midnight pushes toy cars down the back of the electric heaters.
‘Time for some French food!’ My husband declares and we head to the campsite restaurant, which serves pizza in front of a stage covered in pumpkins.
‘I fancied Moules Frites,’ I sigh.
‘One day,’ my husband smiles.
‘Maybe if we tire them out tonight, they will sleep in tomorrow…’ I say hopefully.
We look at our children. Milk is crawling around with Midnight, helping him take the lids off some pumpkins, while Mayhem is tearing up and down shouting and shaking his head from side to side.
‘I actually think that could happen,’ my husband says sipping at his beer.
But Milk is at my side. ‘Mayhem’s being sick,’ he points.
Mayhem is now retching into a pumpkin on the corner of the stage.
I race over and take off his jumper to cool him down and use it to clear up the vomit.
‘You need to calm down. You’ve made yourself sick.’
He nods and wipes his nose and then runs off yelling ‘Arghhh I’m a Halloween pirate! I’m a skeleton pirate arghhh!’
Meanwhile my husband has won a cocktail for catching a ping pong ball in a pint glass.
‘We should play this at home!’ he says happily.
The boys go to sleep seconds after we put them to bed so we think it’s a good idea to drink two bottles of wine.
We were wrong, mainly because it is never a good idea to drink when you have tonsillitis and children, and also because we didn’t take into account the clocks changing.
Midnight rises at 3.30am.
‘It’s ridiculous why is he even awake?’ my husband groans.
‘He’s a baby! He doesn’t know he’s in France.’ I pour our third cup of tea.
‘He should do – he’s eaten four croissants and a block of Brie for breakfast.’
‘Bonjooooor! Bon appeteeeeet!’ Milk and Mayhem appear rubbing their eyes.
‘Are we still in France? Asks Milk looking out of the window at the pitch-black night.
‘Yes, we are.’
‘Are we still on holiday?’ Asks Mayhem.
‘Apparently,’ says my husband. ‘For another five days!’ he adds winking at me as he fills up the kettle for the fourth time.