Growing up, we never managed to go away with the whole family. My mother, Lesley, would take us to a seaside hotel in Devon or Cornwall with my grandma, and my father, George, would come down at weekends, as he was busy with work. I loved those holidays – the hotels were the sort of places where they had activities for kids – but I probably spoilt things by fighting with my siblings. I was the middle child, standing my ground, and there were five years between me and my older brother, Geoffrey, and younger brother, Roger. When I was about 11, we went to Italy, and then Portugal. Being the middle child, I lucked out, but it was never the three of us boys at the same time. Either Roger was too young, or Geoffrey was off doing his own thing, or it was too expensive for all of us. We did a lot of sightseeing, as Mum liked to shove culture in us, and we’d never stay in one place. We went to Rome, Naples and Pompeii. Neither of my parents were the kind to lie on a beach for two weeks. Italy was my introduction to Mediterranean life. Holidays until then had meant Mivvis, strawberry splits and pasties in cellophane, and suddenly here was someone asking, “Would you like pistachio or dark chocolate ice cream?” I was a bit greedy, and the food seemed to me the ultimate child’s diet – pasta and ice cream! I have this memory of seeing a family, with the balding old chap at the head of the table, kids running in and out of the restaurant and everyone clinking glasses. It was so different, from the way the adults drank wine to the relaxed attitude of the fathers, happily hugging their kids. My dad, who was of Romanian origin, had never been comfortable with the whole English stiff-upper-lip thing, and suddenly I could see other people like him who seemed to be more in their element than he had been in England. I’d look on with envy when I saw these extended families lunching in the sunshine, and it gave me a yearning for that kind of holiday.