We've all done it. Packed our bags, secured our homes, set off for the airport, the light of hope in our eyes. On the horizon the perfect holiday - be it a tropical clime, or a remote hilltop town in the Scottish highlands.
If you are of Hilary Whitehall's persuasion the itinerary has been carefully calibrated, the restaurants booked in advance and the sun tan lotion sealed and zip locked into the suitcase. If you are of Michael's you have selected an array of three-piece suits, matched your socks and ties and relied on your wife to stow them safely. And if you are like Jack you've just upturned your laundry bin into a bag and feel smug that you remembered a phone charger.
Whatever your version of holiday preparation the truth is always this: if it is with one's own family, no amount of sunshine, wine or holiday spirit will stop your worst character traits coming to the surface. You have just volunteered to spend a week in close proximity with the people who know you best and who will never ever let you forget a f***-up. No one survives unscathed.
Things are always going to end in tears, you can only hope they're of laughter.