Middle Class Problems: People have no idea how much stress is involved in maintaining a second home

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School holidays are within sight and the two-home family is packing for summer at Casa Vecchia. This operation has been finely honed over the years, ever since Julia and David first bought the farmhouse (an absolute snip), and amendments have been made based on sometimes-bitter experience. No one wants a repetition of the occasion when, with house guests at Casa Vecchia, the Marmite ran out and Tobias was seen coating his soldiers with Nutella.

Into the car go instant coffee – because honestly, who does that hissy-steamy thing for more than three days? – raw cane sugar and Twinings' morning blend. Friends think it's all la dolce vita at the casa, but they have absolutely no idea how much stress is involved in putting together a breakfast that does not resemble, to all intents and purposes, afternoon tea, the Italian predilection being for nothing (adults) or biscuits (children).

There is room to pack some clothing, but where can it all be? Is the Gina Lollobrigida off-the-shoulder top that's just the thing for passeggiata hour already at Casa Vecchia, or in the laundry basket at 10 Vere Street?

And what to do about the vintage Alessi drizzler, lent to Vere Street over Easter, and now full of oil and really, nothing washes oil out completely, so it will have to go down in sealed bags. Where did they leave the Cluedo, the Monopoly, the dog?

Two of everything would be the easy answer, of course, but the cost! Julia and David, quite frankly, envy those with only one home.

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