Greenfutures' Nicola Baird feels every parent's pressure � and comes up with a radical solution: a holiday from half term. "Isn't half term meant to be fun?" You'd hardly think so, from the moans of us ungrateful parents, our work-life balance in tatters as we juggle short breaks and long days...

Not that having kids changes you, or your green-tinged principles. Absolutely not. It’s just the problem of having the darlings on your hands for f-i-v-e (count ‘em) days in a row. So out come the brochures, the maps and the credit card. Rack up those air miles, endure those car trips with stop-offs aplenty. Get embroiled in rows with partners/exes about who takes time off, who pays, and who removes the nits (another chance for a guilt trip, as you soak little Sammy’s scalp with organophosphates).

Most of us feel obliged to treat our kids to half terms planned like military operations, to pack in the self-improvement, granny duty visits and educational fillips. It’s ‘money well spent’ if you can capture their enthusiasm with a castle, a well planned learning experience attuned to curriculum basics in history, PE, science, ICT... When they wise up, you’ll be heading instead for money-drains like Alton Towers, the Tweenies on Tour, or the evening vigil outside Milton Keynes Superbowl.