Having taken Lawrence to Prague for his 80th birthday in 2008, we wanted to treat Eileen in the same way. Especially since Chris, Donna, Mark and I had been to the caribbean earlier in the year.

We decided on Venice, as we thought it would be easier for Eileen with her eyesight as there are no roads to cross and everything moves at a slow pace. Besides, we love Venice and wanted to show Chris and Mark the city.

Donna and I had been to Venice once when it had flooded. On this occasion it wasn’t exactly flooding, but was quite damp and certain streets and alleyways were underwater and impassable.

The accommodation, which was an apartment just off St Mark’s square, worked out well. Apart from being cheaper than three hotel rooms, I felt that an apartment would mean we could ‘do our own thing’ more, and kick off our shoes in the evening and enjoy a drink altogether in the lounge.

It was an excellent few days, and very enjoyable. I felt we had given Eileen a birthday to remember!