They’re a faff. Holidays, though always a good idea at time of planning and booking, are invariably a pain in the stress nodules – particularly as departure date approaches.

It’s not something you’re supposed to admit within earshot of anyone who could shoot you down later. Because they surely will. Someone always does.

If you can get away for a break from routine, you’re lucky and should be grateful for your good fortune.

But it’s still true. Holidays, however fabulous, are a faff.

Admitting dislike of all the pre-vacation bother is bit like calling Chinese VIPs very rude or Nigeria fantastically corrupt.

It really shouldn’t be done… not out loud, anyway.

I’m in the thick of it, which means I’m making to-do lists and ticking nothing off them, because in customary response to anything inescapable, I’m... erm, faffing.

If it’s possible to procrastinate busily, that’s what I’m up to.

I know I’m not alone, nor even especially unusual.

Like most people, I keep a smile on my face and sound excited when asked “How long now?” While screaming internally, mentally rerunning those unticked lists. Insect repellent, camera charger, currency, new knickers. Can’t possibly go away with old knickers.

“You’ll be going on holiday soon,” I said brightly, chatting in a small-talk way with an acquaintance in the fruit and veg shop.

“You must be looking forward to it.”

“Oh yes,” she said through a forced smile.

“It’s just there’s still a lot to do, you know? I’m sure I’ll be all right when I get there.”

That’s what my mum used to tell me when I didn’t want to go to school on PE days or when there was a maths test.

“You’ll be all right when you get there.”

Mums don’t do that these days.

They keep their kids away from tests and call it a political protest.

Probably kinder. At least in the short-term.

“I blame airports,” a visiting friend suggested last week.

“Airports have taken all the fun out of travel. Dreadful places.”

That’s certainly part of it. But not the whole picture, by any means.

The bigger scenario is more complex than that and has to do with overload of expectation, requirement to plan minutely, procrastination tendencies and starting to wonder why you (I) bothered in the first place.

Especially now the A591 has reopened and I could drive, at leisurely pace into the Lake District to pig out on cream teas.

They’re advertising foreign holidays for summer 2017 already. Can you believe that?

Probably under the misconception that it’s better to look forward to a getaway than actually set off on one, they want us to commit early.

Maybe they’re right. It’s when the adventure is imminent – and you’ve forgotten you’d intended to lose a stone in weight – the pressure mounts.

Is there still time to add starvation to the to-do list?

“The trouble is, we’re of a generation able to recall when train travel was the exciting thing,” my visitor continued.

“Remember how standing on a railway platform as a child meant you were going somewhere wonderful – the seaside perhaps – in comfort, the countryside passing by your window?”

“Yeah but now they’re making railway stations look like airports, there are too few trains and they don’t wash the windows.”

Don’t get me wrong, I will enjoy it. How could I not?

For a start, I’ll have blessed, if brief, relief from all this bitter and twisted EU referendum bile.

Not that it won’t be discussed in Italy. It probably will.

But, with luck, I won’t understand most of it – and the bits I do, I can pretend not to.

Like the lady in the greengrocer’s shop, I need to focus on the lists; shop for knickers, sun cream, Jungle Formula and all those essential bits and bobs nobody ever finds a use for on holiday.

There’s still a lot to do.

And, as my trusted, kindly friend pointed out with confidence: “You’ll be all right…” When I get there. He’s right, of course.