My family are amongst the worst in the world at departing anywhere, and I do not say this lightly. You may be thinking ‘well, getting more than two people to coordinate on anything is always pretty tricky’, but I assure you my family is an extreme example. Today we are travelling down to Devon for Christmas, but ‘today’ is about as specific as departure time gets. Arrival may not be today at all.

Fraught and frenetic, my family are busy broadcasting to the entire street as vain attempt is made to fit everything into the car. My little brother is careering about clutching rolls of wrapping paper and sellotape, in search of presents he has somehow scattered evenly through every room of the house. My Dad is stomping around unable to find the cables for his video camera, occasionally dumping a fresh tangle of wires under my nose to check whether they’re at all relevant. My mother is battling bravely against a temperamental computer, trying to finish a few work emails before leaving and muttering darkly as Internet Explorer crashes once again. My sister, who travelled over from her home in Watford this morning, is entirely ready to leave and wandering the ground floor, watching with detached amusement the chaos that surrounds her. I have just returned from the petrol station and am grabbing a final few moments calm before the long journey ahead.

Merry Christmas, everyone.