AS you read this I will be on holiday. Or, more precisely, squashed in a car with an irritable husband, four squabbling children and lots of luggage for hours and hours and hours on end. And this is just the beginning.

The journey will be fraught with difficulties and delays. Because it always is. We will have at least one huge row before we get there. And, after weeks of writing lists and packing enough for a small army, I will realise several hours into the journey that I have forgotten something vital.

This is all part of a family holiday. Because there are a number of things we know are guaranteed to happen every year:

One/all of the children will scream that they need a wee, or that they are going to be sick when you are stuck in a traffic jam on a busy motorway. This will happen at regular intervals throughout the journey.

You will take a wrong turning when you are close to your holiday destination. He will blame you, you will blame him and you will drive around, lost, in circles for an extra hour before you get there.

When you arrive, your accommodation will not be quite as it was described in the brochure. I suppose it would be "spacious" if you were a hamster, you can see the sea view if you crane your neck and use a telescope and the "colourful, lively" location is actually the local red light district.

On the first morning, you are woken up at 5am by four energetic children, demanding you get them breakfast/take them to the beach/get ready for the pool.

A tummy bug will work its way round the family.

By day three, someone will have thrown their husband's mobile phone/laptop into the swimming pool. There will be at least three other phones/laptops in there at any one time.

Everywhere you go, you will bump into crowds of people, desperately trying to escape from the crowds. You, like all the other tourists, will constantly remark on how lovely it would be if it wasn't for all the tourists.

Your husband insists on showing off what he has learnt of the local language when you eat out. So the children end up with deep-fried sheeps' testicles instead of fish and chips.

Somebody will lose a favourite hat/toy/sandal on the beach and you will all waste several hours searching for it.

You will have to visit the local casualty department with one/all of the children.

You will end up staying next door to the family from hell, who will adopt you for two weeks and insist on swapping phone numbers and addresses when the holiday's over.

After working out in the gym every day for three months before your holiday, you will return home half a stone heavier.

You buy a few caseloads of the local wine/spirits, which tastes so good sipped in the sun beside the pool. When you get home you realise that you have actually been drinking paintstripper.

The children have spent the holiday money they have been saving all year by the end of the first day. Every day after that there is a constant background chorus of "I want, I want, I want".

You will get through at least five packets of aspirin/paracetemol.

Any teenagers with you will look constantly glum and complain when you drag them to anything vaguely cultural. A teenage daughter will strike up a holiday romance with a totally unsuitable Lothario.

When anyone asks you if you had a good time you will reply: "Yes, it was fantastic". And, in a funny sort of way, of course, it will have been.