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My best intentions for a fabulously jolly and organised holiday were, predictably, scuppered within minutes.  I had, very wisely, stocked up on sticking plasters in preparation for Half term ( a week containing pumpkin carving, making toffee apples and constructing bonfires was bound to require First Aid at some point) but found, on entering the kitchen that first blissfully lazy morning, that they had all been used to decorate the smallest daughter and the cat! One of whom was looking very pleased with herself – the other less so.

A rare lack of foresight on the part of Rather-Noise-Sensitive Husband meant that he was working from home for half term: An error that will not be repeated. Accordingly –  the many and various requests from the children were now augmented by the querulous tones of a Distracted Husband needing to know anything and everything NOW. The days became peppered with demands – Could I just…? Where is the…? Why won’t this work…? And the greatest irritation of all – What’s for Lunch?

In a well-thought-through attempt to escape the constant barrage of ridiculous questions I locked myself in the Loo with a novel. Peace and tranquillity reigned – briefly. Unfortunately my cover was blown by a combination of my resourceful smallest daughter and the Dog. I had taken the Hound into the Bathroom with me to ensure that he did not give the game away by standing guard outside the door on self-imposed sentry duty.

Knowing that wherever I was the Dog would also be found – Harriet appealed to his stomach and set off around the house rattling a box of Bonio’s encouragingly. The Greedy Animal, who would be no good in siege conditions, let out a howl so we were quickly discovered – I did manage to persuade the children that we were playing Hide and Seek and that this was my spot but things rapidly became much less relaxing after that – not least because, my whereabouts having been made known, the Importunate Husband insisted on communing with me through the Lavatory door.

The piece de resistance of half term was undoubtedly Halloween and we overreached ourselves splendidly. Many happy hours were spent strewing the playroom with black paper chains and cobwebs (a large number of which were extraordinarily realistic!) The neighbours, all invited by spooky missive, came bearing gifts of hammer horror for the Gruesome tea. Pumpkins were carved, apples bobbed and tricks treated.  The best costume prize was unanimously awarded to the game Granny next door who had been forcibly dressed in black bin bags by her grandchildren and fitted with a painted egg box nose strapped to her face. By the time the nose had been apple bobbing and then pushed up onto her forehead, out-of-the-way, the sludgy green and brown paint mingled; running down her face and hair to produce a spectacularly good impression of a mad medieval villager dressed up as a witch for the burning. A good look for a children’s party!

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