george saves our holiday (1) world outside the villa

For me, the first couple of days of a family holiday abroad, renting a car and getting in a villa, are always the relaxing of the year.

There is so much to learn and get to all at once: learning the local rules of the road, getting used to the strange currency, finding out where the shops are and when they are open, asking people what to do with the rubbish, and how to with the cooker and the lavatory tank. And all this to be mastered under the hot Spanish sun.

During those first couple of days, every time I enter the world outside the villa the whole experience turns into a . It's difficult to be driving a strange car on the unfamiliar side of unknown roads, switching on the windscreen wipers when you're trying to indicate left. It's exhausting when you have no idea whether you should be turning left or right, and the boys are hungry and in the back.

This year, I made things hard for us because I was too to buy a Spanish road map at the airport. I was sure that there would be plenty of maps in the villa – there always are - and we had sent clear directions how to get to the house from the airport. Well, they looked clear on paper.