We had some surprising news before Christmas.

Yes. My eldest (by two minutes), Bruce, has been selected to dance for England in Portugal in July. The Dance World Cup (yes, there is such a thing) kicks off on June 30th, which means we will need to take time out of school to attend.

Initially the idea was that Ceri and Bruce would go, along with a grandparent. However, that would leave me with two girls to manage single-handed, plus tear them apart from their mother for two weeks. Ceri and I have never been apart that long, Bruce and his twin Erin-rose have never been apart that long, and we have a younger one who would be beside herself without her mama.

So, we decided that we would all go, plus a grandparent.

This is quite a big deal. Ceri and I haven’t been abroad since 2008 (coincidentally to Portugal) and the twins have never ventured further than Cornwall (or crossed any border other than to Scotland and Wales). Consequently, booking has proved to be quite a new experience, with all manner of charges and new rules that weren’t previously required.

Hand-luggage size rules have been a revelation.

Passports have had to be applied for (and renewed in the case of the grown ups) and accommodation sought, and flight booked. So far, we’re still to settle on a place to stay, but everything else is arranged or in progress. (It’s incredible that it still takes 12 weeks to process a passport. It’s the 21st century – something like that should be achievable within a week including courier!)

So, later this year we head abroad for the first time in over a decade, and the first time ever for the children. It’s a big undertaking; the location is in the north of Portugal, and while package trips are available for the Algarve still, there are none suitable at the other end of the country. It’s an expensive venture, too, which has resulted in quite a bit of cloth cutting (not to mention panicking over some commitments!). I’ve already cut back on some interests and subscriptions in favour of taking more work, and plan to push some other projects into a more lucrative stage by the end of the month.

But, wow! Our son, an amazing young dancer full of heart and energy, is essentially taking us on this trip. Hopefully we can book somewhere it is easy to chill out in, and give him the best preparation while also enjoying the holiday. We’re so proud of him at the best of times, so bursting with pride that he has been selected.

Typically, he has taken it all in his stride.