Meanwhile, Nick's wife Laura has a biological clock louder than Big Ben--and she is determined to become pregnant. Nick is equally determined--by foul means or fair--to avoid fatherhood, and enlists an array of unconventional contraceptive methods, including sunburn, a saucepan of Horlicks and a loaded turkey baster. None of these, however, cause quite so much chaos as Anthony Spiteri, the debonair Maltese businessman claiming kinship with Nick's family.
Harding has crafted a witty and original plot which tackles the awkward aspects of old age in a voice that is refreshingly honest. He paints a touching and sensitive picture of a couple in their final years, but avoids sentimentality. Nick's mother is 18 stone and worries she will waste away if she misses breakfast. His father meanwhile, terminally constipated and rarely intelligible, wields the word "toilet" as his one remaining weapon. The humour--centred around funny foreigners, bowel movements and sex--is very British, but this is far from a cosy book, and its conclusion is as moving as it is unpredictable. --Matthew Baylis
From the Back Cover
Nick could have a great time on Malta if it weren't for one thing. His family. His wife Laura, biological alarm clock ringing, is desperate for children which means a nightly test of Nick's ingenuity to resist her amorous advances. There's Dad, afflicted with Parkinson's disease, scarcely able to walk or talk, unsure which country or decade he's in and obsessed by sex and lavatories. And there's Mum, weighing in at a formidable 18 stone (although she's convinced she's size 10) with a personality to match. Then there's the ghost from Dad's wartime past, come back to haunt them all...
Tackling a taboo subject with sensitivity, compassion and a total lack of sentimentality, What We Did on Our Holiday is about the time in our lives when we find ourselves looking after the very people we'd always assumed would be there to look after us. And it is also almost certainly the first novel in English literature to begin with the word 'toilet'.