When your appetite for plane fares diminishes, as ours did this year with the prospect of hauling our oversized, expensive brood to the continent once again, go Old School.
The lure of the British seaside was made all the more attractive by the idea that we would be saving thousands of pounds by not 'hiring the sunshine' for a fortnight, and made yet more tolerable with knowing that the kennels bill could also be eluded if we stayed in Blighty.
Two cars, two dogs, two suitcases, four body boards, one funeral, four kids and seven hours later (the earlier we gloss over the latter items, the better), North Devon was in our sights.
Our locations didn't disappoint. Wetsuits went on quickly (and came off much more slowly), dogs drank sea water (yes, they ARE that dumb), sand got in knickers, the badminton kit stayed firmly in the boot, and the Sponge Bob Square Pants theme tune became a distant memory. Bliss.
And whilst our tans were more due to the burn of the wind than the sun, I could feel my omnipresent tension beginning to subside as the days progressed. Nature had begun to provide her magical therapy and relaxation furtively slipped into our veins like a warm draft of whisky.
The sound of wood on metal brought the idyl to an abrupt end. Let's just say I wasn't driving and leave it at that. Ahem.
Somehow these British based holibobs always stay more firmly in our memory banks than our more exotic ventures. The fondness with which I hold my own childhood rock-pooling, flip-flop filled days is irreplaceable. Nostalgia rocks.