Tomorrow, child 4 and I set off to Kenya for a week's safari with my mother. This is one in a long line of grandmother/grandchild holidays which have been running in our family for the last ten years. It will be a great adventure and one which, I hope, the smallest one will always remember - not just because Kenya will be an amazing, mind-blowing experience, but because grannies are precious and one-to-one time with them on a trip like this is something really to be treasured.
These multi-generations holidays that we go on are always an adventure. It's clearly not enough for my 82 year old mother to sit on a beach for a week - no, we have to go up the Nile and visit the Valley of the Kings (very glad we're not doing this in the current climate in Egypt!), explore the souks of Marrakech, go on a lightning tour of New York City and so on. This will be our second safari in Kenya (for my mother and me) and last time we took number 2 daughter. I can still remember the realisation that, in our camp in the Masai Mara, we were the ones who were guarded and enclosed - not the animals. It was an incredible and memorable trip and when my mother suggested doing it again, I thought, nine years on, she might think better of it. It does, of course, involve a lot of hopping into and out of jeeps and getting up at 5.00am to go on game drives and is therefore physically quite demanding. But no, she is a game girl and off we go again!
We do get some interesting comments when we are on these trips. Other travellers seem amazed that we can go off to places and all get along well. Of course, we all have our moments, but generally we entertain each other pretty well - and everyone else along the way. Occasionally, mum will decide that she needs some down-time and leaves us to head off camel-riding, shopping, ice cream hunting etc on our own, and usually, by the time we get back, she has struck up a friendship with another group and we can hear their laughter as we walk back in.
While we are away, we are leaving the men of the household to fend for themselves. Both excellent cooks, child 3's major concern was that he might weigh 22 stone by the time we get back due to the enormous amounts of fattening foods which will be on offer next week. My major concerns are, in no particular order, no-one will feed/walk the dogs/cat, wash-up, wash clothes and remember to check my work emails. But I expect we'll all survive the experience and we'll all be better for it.