How to Pack

It baffles me the panic people get into when faced with holiday packing. There is indeed a science to it, but it's a science that's easily mastered and I, who have been studying it for a quarter of a century, can now clothe four for a fortnight in less than an hour. Things that seem obvious to me, however, have clearly been missed by most of my acquaintance, so here, for the benefit of all, is my cut-out-and-keep guide to holiday preparations.

1: Locate the cat bed that, three times a year, doubles up as a suitcase. It's advisable to give it a vacuum for moustachioed thermals can cause discomfort.

2: Extract from the dirty linen basket all the must-have wardrobe items that you forgot to wash before departure. This operation should be undertaken discreetly. 

3: Fling said items plus all other necessities in a pile. For best results this pile can be begun the night before to give you more time to appraise it.

4: Remove from the pile approximately a third of your daughter's choices and double the quantity of underpants contributed by your son. Don't worry if you haven't got round to shopping for your beach body. So long as your brolly coordinates with your tankini you can still cut a dash on Britain's sands. 

5: Find a temporary hidden home for the sculptures that tower on your kitchen draining rack so that the cat sitter won't judge you.

6: At this point you may feel panic rising. Positioning two cubic metres of luggage into 1.6 cubic metres of Skoda involves advanced mathematics and unusual cunning, but remind yourself that children, like Ikea shelving, are adaptable.

7: So, now you're all ready to set off. Oh, but hang on, I always forget this bit! Think back to what's in that suitcase. If you've packed more than two pairs of shorts and fewer than two pairs of cable-knit tights, you'll need to leave the family in the car and dash back to the house for one last imperative:

Happy holidays!


  1. We are always waiting for hubby when we go on a car trip. He always manages to have to run back in the house for that one last pee and brush his teeth. We now lie about what time we actually have to be ready at.

    1. Actually, The Vicar is usually the last one out of our house too. And then as we're driving off he'll invariably exclaim: 'Have you locked the back door!' and we have to turn back.

  2. Damn this list is good! If I hadn't had to cancel our holiday today due to a gammy legged husband I would be following it to the letter. I shall bookmark it for next time, when either the gammy leg is recovered it or I make off in the middle of the night to escape the madness.

    1. That's jolly bad luck. Commiserations to you and your husband.

  3. This is brilliant..... I'm with you, throw a pile on the floor and then shove it all in a suitcase. Have fun picking off the cat hairs on the beach!..... You do make me laugh Anna Tims!

  4. Love this! I'm glad I'm not the only one to do all this :-) we've just acquired a new puppy, so next time we go on holidays I'm going to have to work out how to fit 3 children and a dog in with the luggage. Maybe if I leave my husband at home?

  5. Brilliantly summed up, particularly the overload of daughter clothes and the lack of son's!

  6. I can't believe you actually shave your legs!


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