03:07 - Youngest daughter wakes up screaming "Help! Help! Where am I?" for third night in a row.
03:07 and 4 seconds - Jump out of bed, only to discover that youngest daughter has fallen back asleep.
03:50 - Finally fall back asleep myself.
08:00 - Wake up with genius plot idea.
08:01 - Discover that notepad, pen, smartphone, laptop and all other writing materials are in caravan locker above our bed. Briefly consider scrawling something using wife's eyebrow pencil.
08:02 - Both daughters join us in bed, talking/whining/fighting.
08:03 - Have forgotten genius plot idea.
08:30 - Breakfast. Youngest daughter reads the back of the cereal packet in a loud voice, while eldest daughter attempts to secretly read copy of the Dandy that is hidden in her lap.
|Do I really have to stop talking while I'm drinking?|
09:15 - Stumble into campsite shower block. Am highly amused by conversation from the next cubicle, as a Welsh father tries (and fails) to get his four-year-old son to wash his hair, but have nothing to write it down on.
09:45 - Back at caravan and family nowhere to be seen. Go inside and pick up notepad.
09:50 - Crying from outside - youngest daughter has fallen off scooter into a bush. Put down notepad and go outside, cursing under my breath.
10:15 - Completely uninjured daughter has only just stopped crying. Wife comes back from posting letter and asks if we are having fun.
10:20 - Really should write, but decide to make a cup of coffee and read a book for just ten minutes.
11:20 - Realise I've been reading for an hour. It's a good book. Put it down, pick up notepad instead.
11:21 - Start writing.
11:23 - Decide to check email on smartphone, in case agent/editor has sent a message saying how much they love my book.
11:24 - No signal.
11:30 - Decide to walk up cliff overlooking the sea to get signal.
11:45 - On windswept cliff being attacked by seagulls. One bar of signal.
11:46 - Look over edge and realise this is a bad place to be if I have an email from agent/editor rejecting my book.
11:47 - No emails.
|Trying to get a signal|
11:49 - Check Facebook, but phone only downloads half of enormous LOLCat picture before mobile signal vanishes. Walk back down.
12:10 - At the bottom. Realise that blog will have auto-posted by now. Walk all the way back up again so I can tweet about it.
12:40 - Back at caravan. Step in mud stew that children have been making right outside the door.
12:45 - New socks and grumpy children who claim I have ruined their holiday (and stew)
|A selection of the finest mud cuisine|
13:00 - Eldest daughter has read all of the books she brought on holiday even faster than last year, and is eyeing the one that I'm only halfway through. When I move it away, she huffs and makes comments about how we should buy her a Kindle.
13:30 - Lunch. Youngest daughter reads leaflet about owl sanctuary in a loud voice while eldest daughter attempts to secretly read my book over my shoulder. Wife is onto seventh Mills & Boon book of the holiday.
14:10 - Time to write. But first, ice cream!
14:34 - Worry about work for approximately 12 seconds, then forget about it for the rest of the day.
15:10 - Reading again. This book is really good.
15:50 - Heart-stopping climax. I clutch the seat cushion with excitement.
15:50 and twelve seconds - Squeal of pain from the left makes me realise that I am actually digging my fingers into wife's leg.
16:05 - I read the last page, wipe my brow and hand book over to eldest daughter.
16:08 - Eldest daughter reads five pages of book, puts it down and goes back to The Dandy.
16:10 - Decide I will go outside to write, as that will help conjure up my muse.
16:15 - It starts pelting with rain. Go back inside.
16:20 - The children have made a new friend. Said friend pokes around our caravan for some minutes, commenting on how much smaller it is than theirs.
16:30 - Daughters and New Friend are colouring. I pick up my notepad and make some plot notes in the back.
16:50 - Discover that New Friend is colouring the tabletop instead. Confiscate pens and turf children out of the caravan.
|The colouring in question|
16:55 - Start writing.
17:05 - Wife asks me to wash up as there's no room for her to make dinner. Living in a caravan with one set of plates and cutlery makes for a lot of washing up.
17:30 - Finish drying and putting away. Wife asks me to find children for dinner.
17:45 - Children nowhere to be seen. I wander around the campsite calling their names.
18:05 - Eventually find daughters in New Friend's caravan. It is bigger than ours. Daughters are totally oblivious to the fact I've been trying to find them for twenty minutes.
18:10 - Sit down to dinner. It's delicious. Briefly marvel at how wife has produced this feast using only two gas rings and a frying pan. Then we all tuck in with gusto and no-one reads anything.
18:11 - Decide that one small bottle of beer with dinner can't hurt and might even enhance my creativity.
18:15 - Completely unable to do anything useful for the next hour and a half.
18:45 - Reading Treasure Island to the children. Villainous things are happening. This is good.
20:00 - Can I write now? No. Wife says I have to spend some more "quality time" with the children. This means Scrabble.
20:45 - I win Scrabble with a ridiculously long (and frankly rather fluky) word. Youngest daughter begins to cry uncontrollably.
20:50 - Put the kids to bed and slide their bedroom partition across.
20:55 - Spend some minutes sliding partition back and forth until it provides "just enough light so it isn't too scary, Daddy."
21:00 - Try to write. Children are moaning about too much light coming into their bedroom.
21:20 - Think the kids are asleep. Manage to finally start writing in earnest.
22:20 - Have written about four hundred not-totally-wretched words. As I stretch, hands behind my head, I realise that the kids are giggling behind their partition. Still, as long as they're not bothering me...
22:40 - Kids finally asleep. Clear up and get ready for bed.
23:00 - About to get into bed, when I remember genius plot idea that I forgot this morning. Open caravan locker above bed. Notepad, pen, smartphone, laptop and various assorted writing materials fall out onto wife who was half asleep.
23:30 - Fall asleep. Perchance to dream.
03:14 - Youngest daughter wakes up screaming "Help! Help! Where am I?" for fourth night in a row.