It never seems worth it does it when you’re frantically packing to go away? The kids are all hyperactive, the car overloaded, and the husband harassed.

There’s so much to do that by the time you set off on your merry way you’re cursing the very idea of going on holiday.

Five hours down the motorway and nothing has changed – the kids are fighting, there are banana skins and empty crisp packets everywhere, the SatNav is lying and work/adoption seems like a better alternative.

Even arriving at your ‘dream destination’ involves copious amounts of work and organisation – making all the beds, sorting the food, unpacking, so that by the time you fall into bed you really do wonder why you bother.

But that’s just symptomatic of the entire problem because everything seems insurmountable when you are that stressed and, of course, what you really need is a holiday!

Come the next day however, you wake up, the sun is shining, the kids are playing Monopoly because there isn’t a telly, and there’s no rush over breakfast because they can eat mini multi-pack cereal until it comes out of their ears.

And you don’t have to worry about lunch because the pasty shop ticks all the boxes, or whether they get their five-a-day, do their homework, practice the piano or get to football practice. Instead, you just pack up your beach bag and head off to the sand.

Towel out, phone off, book open, newspaper sorted, kids playing, heaven. And just like that you remember what holidays are all about.

It still takes a while though doesn’t it to relax properly, for the shoulders to unclench, the smile to reappear, the teeth to ungrind, your mind to switch off from work preoccupations and the niggles that keep you awake at night? So you sit there like zombies for a few days while the kids rampage around you, oblivious to your stupor.

But it’s the little things that help – eating fish and chips on the sea wall, waking early to watch the dolphins swim round the coast, playing Cluedo with grandma, taking the whole family out for curry, drinking lager in the pub garden on the way back to your holiday home, staying up late, going to bed early, and more than anything else, never having to rush.

And imperceptibly the colour returns to those strangled parts of your brain suffocated by timetables, agendas and schedules, where time just flows by in a wonderful stream of sand and suncream.

You have time to talk, think, plan, dream, laugh, enjoy the moment for what it is rather than frantically worrying about what next, where now, how and why.

Inevitably, it all comes to an end too quickly, but after that everything is easy – the journey home, arriving back at your own house, catching up with friends, getting ready for school, returning for work, the stuff which usually haunts you.

So what did we achieve? I think it’s called peace, and as I sat on the A34 this morning, stationary as usual, I noticed that instead of gripping the steering wheel and cursing, I was actually humming, my mind still up there on the cliffs looking at the sea, taking it all in, breathing.

You never know how much you need to get away until you go.