A brief and slightly anxious interlude before I leave on Wednesday involving a long weekend with kids and grandkids at Center Parcs. Why did I book all my treats at once? Like men and bloody buses I wait all year for ‘something to happen’ then a great flurry of activity happens, which admittedly I planned, but I am left feeling hurried and windswept. Still it won’t affect the hair. I had the pilgrim haircut which means I can use half a teaspoon of shampoo now in the albergue showers. And no fear of the dandelion clock look.

Center Parcs isn’t what it was. We first went in the year it opened,1987 to Sherwood Forest in the week before Christmas when our children were both under three. It was magical. Clean, shiny and full of that continental pre Christmas sparkle. Everything worked and the staff were super friendly. I has never been in a jacuzzi before nor had I done anything like the wild water rapids. The bathroom had underfloor heating and everywhere was warm. It rates as one of the best family holidays we ever had.

To be fair I haven’t had a bad experience of CP. And I have been lots. But this time was different. Taking our children with their children to the swimming complex, not having to get them changed or be involved in the complicated drying and feeding process means that you can just have the nice bits. I do a lot of watching. Watching our kids encourage boldness in their own and feeling so much pride in them all. They do it differently. I was so pressed and rushed keeping to a tight regime of something like Cesar Milan’s exercise discipline affection mantra. They seem more relaxed and although they get hassled of course, somehow the show seems to go on with more grace and less gritting of the teeth.

Parenting styles have changed. Good. But maybe so have I.

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