I don't have the mental capacity to write a whole coherent blog post today (see bleat 1 as to why), so I offer you instead some bleats (a cross between a blog and a tweet):
Bleat 1: Cluster f**k
Today I was merrily working away, with a headache that has lingered for two days brewing quietly in the background. Then KAZAM! It hit. It felt as though someone had taken a tazer gun and rammed it up against my brain aimed it down towards my left eye and pulled the trigger. The pain in my head, eye and face was extraordinary. My eye started streaming tears and I was left gasping in pain, thinking that I was possibly dying. I crawled into bed and lay there hoping it would go away. It did. I woke up an hour and a half later with my head feeling as though someone had taken a baseball bat to it. I decided to see a doctor just to check it wasn't a brain embolism. Apparently I had a cluster headache. They're called cluster headaches as they apparently come in clusters. Oh joy. Because that was only number 1....
Bleat 2: Fattening France
We went to France. We ate baguettes and pain au chocolat and croissants and cheese and saucisson and more cheese and drank wine and washed it all down with Easter eggs. How is France not the fattest nation in the world? Even the salads are the size of small cars and are draped with cheese, gizzards, duck liver pate and fried bread or potatoes. I can see why they have so much wine - they have to, to dissolve the fat.
Bleat 3: How to enjoy a holiday with boy children
If you're going self-catering (which unless it's an all inclusive family friendly resort, you really want to do) make sure you stay somewhere that other families are too. Not the great unwashed you understand, but a small selection of nice families - like a gite cluster. The kids then have friends to play with. Make sure the property has lots of kit for them to play with and if not, lots of woods for them to play dens and gangs in. Do not attempt to do too much sightseeing. When you do, find sights that involve blood and gore as far as possible. We found a Roman amphitheatre which did nicely. Use ice cream as a daily incentive. (PS - we had an utterly fantastic holiday by following these principles. I can also say that rural France is a great place to let your children run wild, for any helicopter parents out there who feel the need to hover over their kids every day. It's safe as you like and they (and you) will be so much happier for the freedom).
Bleat 4: When you could just kiss your kids
While in France we decided to go to one of the Cognac houses in Cognac (funny that). We plumped for Remy Martin, not because it was the most child friendly, but because all the others had closed when we called to book. We knew that we were asking a lot of our children. But we patiently explained that mummy and daddy also need to do some things they like on holiday. (And there was the obligatory promise of ice cream). The tour took two hours. Two hours of a woman speaking in broken English about subject matter well above our children's heads. They had every right to be bored witless (we weren't but then we like alcohol). They had every opportunity to run amok and destroy the 100 year old cognac casks housing golden nectar that retails at £1600 per bottle. But they didn't. They were angels. Not a peep or a whinge or paddy. At the end of the tour an elderly couple came up to us and said: "When we saw you arrive, we said to each other - oh no, not kids, that will ruin it. But your children were impeccably behaved. What a pleasure to have them with us."
It's moment like that, right then, that all your children's past wrongs of refusing to eat vegetables and beating each other with sticks and farting in each other's faces and picking their noses at dinner tables and generally screaming and being annoying do not actually mean that they're ASBOs in waiting. And that on very rare occasions they do actually know how to be good. And the inner glow that gives you as a parent is almost as cockle warming as a glass of cognac. So thank you elderly couple for saying that. You made my year.