LAST year, my wife and I enjoyed an idyllic holiday on our own in a beautiful bay near Dubrovnik.

We enjoyed it so much that we went back this year but this time she suggested that we should invite the “kids” to come with us. There are two possible reasons for this: a) she misses having them with us after decades of family holidays or b) it’s a bit boring when there’s only me to talk to.

I prefer to think it’s (a) but I suspect (b) might be a major factor.

The result was that three of our children - Hannah, 25, Jack, 23, and Max, 20 – wanted to come. Again, there are two possible reasons for this: a) they miss being with us after decades of family holidays or b) they’re not stupid enough to turn down a free holiday.

I prefer to think it’s (a) but I suspect (b) might hold sway.

Only Christopher, 26, stayed at home due to the fact that he’s a dad himself now and baby Chloe is less than a year old.

To be fair, we had a lot of fun together and, despite the extra cost, I loved having them with us too. Croatia is thoroughly recommended for its sunshine, friendly people and the clearest sea to be found anywhere.

Last year, my wife and I injected a bit of excitement into our time alone together by sharing a jet ski. We weren’t, however, what you’d call the most daring jet skiers in the Adriatic. With me steering, we reached a top speed of 26 miles per hour. When my wife took over the controls we tootled along at a spectacular six mph. Yes, that’s right – six mph. A turtle overtook us at one point.

Anyway, we decided to treat ourselves to jet skis again this year and, with treble the amount of testosterone swishing about, there was a lot of competition among the boys to have Mum as a passenger. We all wanted her, basically because the male of the species can’t resist showing off, but Jack won the argument.

So there we were, having a whale of a time in Lapad Bay: me, Hannah, and Max on a jet ski of our own, and Mum riding pillion on Jack’s.

Mind you, the experience turned out to be a bit different to last year. I still stuck to a maximum speed of 26 mph before losing my nerve and throttling back. As I did so, Jack zoomed past at a speed that would have beaten a torpedo in a race. I have no official verification but he told me later they were going 70 mph.

My wife has been through a lot in her time, not least giving birth four times, but I have never seen such sheer terror on anyone’s face. She was clinging on to her third-born’s waist as they bounced over the waves with spray flying. She had her eyes tightly shut, she was screaming, and begging to get off.

I think she might want to stick with her boring old man next time.


MANY thanks to Pamela Martin, of Croxdale, County Durham, who writes: “I love reading your Grandad At Large – a bit of humour amongst the doom and gloom.”

Pamela also passed on a little anecdote about grandson Owen, who was almost four when was having dinner at her house.

“Do you like stuffing?” she asked him.

“No,” replied Owen. “I always eat like this.”

QUAKER Pete, on Twitter, told me how his three-year-old grandson, Joseph, recently announced: "Grandad, I've got hairs on my arms . . . I'm a real man now."

MEANWHILE, on Facebook, Juliet Roche, of Darlington, reported that DD had been learning about gravity at school. “Gravity was invented by Elton John and his brother Einstein,” she declared.