A holiday should be the time to relax and dispel the stresses of daily drudgery as you cast those winter morning school run memories aside.

Wearing Primark’s version of Canada Goose, the kids whine they’re cold as you run late for the doctor's for another Citalopram prescription… oh, and the car is nearly out of fuel as you couldn’t face the queues to fill up the tank, let alone afford to.

For sanity's sake, you get the kids to bed early as you huddle around the blow heater that evening and search holidays abroad, much needed after the shambles of Covid.

And then, after weeks of searching, you find somewhere that ticks some of the boxes, discounting the fact that half the reviewers became ill through ‘faulty aircon’, a bug from the communal pool, high levels of carbon monoxide or food poisoning. You take the plunge and deep clean the bank account, all for the pleasure of a week in a raging hot all-inclusive in Benidorm as ‘the kids will love’ splashing around in one of the six pools (four of which will inevitably be shut).

And then the panic sets in: what are the latest travel restrictions to Spain? The passports are out and will need replacing, but isn’t there yet another backlog of applications? And is there a post office open where I can get the bairns to sit inert for the most soulless of photos to put before the checkpoint Stasi?

Are we all vaccinated? What’s the current baggage allowance Ryanair are running with you wonder, while crudely measuring your Trunki to see if you will be granted safe passage airside.

Now stressed to the nth degree, you book an Uber. It shows up on time, but the driver won’t take ‘excess’ baggage despite not being able to explain what constitutes ‘excess’ as he drives off alone, in the knowledge that he has been paid and you haven’t got the energy to claim the money back as you book an Uber XL.

You arrive at the airport which, if it were as organised as it were secure, would be a pleasurable experience, but it is not - not by a long chalk. The queue is 16 miles long due to ‘unprecedented demand’, despite it being the peak of summer, post Covid and the industry being fully aware, having taken your money, as to the precise level of demand. The kids are moaning incessantly as you construct a makeshift shanty town on your luggage carrier while husband goes off to pay £16 for four bottles of lukewarm water.

During a lull in the griping, you log onto your news app to see that John Holland-Kaye, the Heathrow chief executive is, predictably, not blaming ineptitude on poor management or staffing shortages, but on passengers for "travelling with more than they normally would".

After a 10-hour delay and having spent your float on some fast food and a comic for the kids, you manage to get to the metal detectors, where your belt sets off the alarm, driving the paranoid staff into overdrive as they all but strip search you in front of 2,000 passengers queuing in a system designed for sheep dipping.

Conscious to not be rude despite their most valiant attempts to publicly rile you, they openly, and in dramatic fashion, throw your carefully packed baggage into disarray as your Dioralyte, sanitary products and hubby’s luminous budgie smugglers are held aloft as if exhibits in the High Court. Then you find yourself chided like a child by a hi-vizzed teenager with a clipboard for daring to put a minuscule bottle of hand sanitiser in the clear see through bag which isn’t ‘standard issue', before eventually getting through and being able to buy a 100 ml bottle of sanitiser at vastly overpriced rates all but a few yards yonder in Boots.

The e-tickets didn’t print correctly, and the stress magnifies as you reach the final hurdle after a 5km hike to the departure gate. Desperate for the toilet, you decide to wait in case you miss your flight and then, an hour later when you wished you had gone before, you dart for the latrine. Just as you reach the front of the toilet queue the tannoy booms out that the flight gate is now open and you shuffle hurriedly, cross legged, to see that the smug passengers who had paid an extra tenner for priority boarding are the only ones making their way, slowly, past the third degree manning the desks.

Hemmed in like cattle, you eventually reach your destination after questioning how the airline can charge you six quid for a sausage roll with no sausage and very little roll, before you are asked to ‘prove’ you and your family can spend £85 a day in Spain, under threat of deportation.

And for what? To spend a week by the pool with others who had gotten away to get away from people like you, as you did them. The thought of the return journey home is enough to raise the resting heart rate before you arrive back seven days later and wished you’d saved the money and ventured out for a weekend in Clacton instead.

  • Brett Ellis is a teacher