‘Precious time to talk to each other’
walks or late-night bars, say – mean that you seldom meet. But breaking off in smaller groups is also fun: unlikely people play games together, or become each other’s companions for outings to museums or to track down elusive ingredients for recipes.
It’s also fine to take on certain roles for the duration if they come more naturally: when my father came back from the supermarket with two small packets of crisps and one large bottle of fizzy pop (there were seven teenagers present), I became shopper-in-chief.
But no holiday needs a martyr; everyone should take turns with the cooking and all the less fragrant jobs. If you’re eating out in a large group, make the bookings well in advance. “Table for 12, please,” sounds ridiculous when you’re standing in the middle of a crowded restaurant.
Other people’s habits and opinions can grate, but you’re sharing space, so you all need to take a vow to park your irritation and be prepared to tolerate things and smile sweetly. My friends tell me that this goes for aspects of child-rearing, too. Poolside is not the place to insist on a rethink of your grandchildren’s attitudes to homework. (Obviously, my daughter always gets her child rearing right, so we have no experience of this.)
My own offspring’s tendency to invite many more friends than the bedroom allocation of the house has meant that my dad and his partner Elaine have had, over the years, a crash course in the Way of the Teen. He proved a wonderful, tolerant and funny
companion – it
Sophie Ellis-Bextor and her mother Janet Ellis reveal the delights of an extended family holiday in an Italian villa Don’t expect harmony if some party until dawn
Full steam ahead to family harmony at The Hyde, above, find your own castle at Manoir de Chalandes, left, or head for the pool in Greece, right
Janet Ellis, left, and her daughter Sophie EllisBextor
Italy, above, proved the perfect destination for large family getaway