I am very lucky to have this wonderful holiday home in France to visit:
My parents bought the house over 20 years ago. At that time it was pretty much uninhabitable but over the years they have restored it to an amazing holiday home for all the family to use. As a teenager, I used to find the visits every single summer, which always involved a huge amount of work on the house and garden, a little boring. But as I've got older (and the house has needed less work) I have appreciated more and more what a wonderful place we have thanks to my mum and dad.
This summer my parents flew out with Freyja and Theo and Adrian and I joined them 10 days later. The children have had almost a whole month in France, mostly spent swimming, but also exploring, chasing butterflies, being driven round on the tractor, helping my dad stack logs ready for the winter and generally getting to enjoy a sense of freedom and nature that they do not normally experience in their day-to-day urban lives.
My brother was also there with his two boys - the first visit for them since Anna passed away in October last year, so a difficult but important step for them all. The four cousins played and swam and fought (well, the three boys did anyway, Freyja stayed out of any confrontation!) for the two weeks they were all there together. And with their older cousins to look out for them (Harry is almost 11 and Max turns 9 tomorrow) there was even more opportunity to explore the area, play in the den and have picnics down the field, out of sight of the grown-ups.
My dad said they looked like the Famous Five when they went trekking off - except there's only four of them. The 5th arrives in October.