It’s holiday time again, and I am required to sit on the sidelines while Mrs Hextol packs our cases for our fortnight in the sun.

I don’t have a clue how to pack a case, as on the one occasion I tried, every item came out as though it had been used as a floor cloth in a greasy spoon cafe.

For her part, Mrs Hextol folds and tucks, rolls and wedges things in so tightly that they simply cannot move in transit, and they emerge at the other end as though they have just been lifted down from an M&S rail.

For that reason, Mrs Hextol always does the packing, and for me getting to our destination is a bit like Christmas, as I never quite know what she has put it my case.

There is usually a considerable overspill from her case into mine, and I have to tunnel down quite a way before I come across my own handful of holiday garments

These include t-shirts which must be over 30 years old, but which remain as good as new, as they are only worn a couple of times a year.

My only part in the packing procedure is weighing the cases on our bathroom scales, which have to be converted from stones and pounds to kilograms for the occasion.

The limit is usually 20kg, but last year, we had to make do with 15kg, which in my opinion was more than enough, as much of which Mrs Hextol packs never comes out of the case

She somehow managed to restrict our load to 15kg each, but coming back, even though we had used all the shower gel, sun creams, shampoo and the like, we were almost five kilos overweight even though Mrs Hextol insisted in wide-eyed innocence she had added nothing extra to the luggage.

The hefty fine used up all the Euros I intended to spend in the duty free shop.

We also take two hand luggage bags, purchased from Tesco years ago for a fiver a piece on the grounds they met the exact specifications for the maximum size allowed in the overhead racks on most aircraft.

I’m sure we need not have bothered, for they are always dwarfed by the vast trunks and backpacks stowed by fellow travellers.

I am by nature a man who travels light, a throwback to childhood days when as a family of seven we used to go away for a fortnight with one large suitcase between us.

We boys had one pair of shorts and a tee-shirt each, and a fine pair of white plimsolls stamped with the legend Avro “borrowed” from the aircraft factory where my father used to work, building Vulcan bombers.

That was more than enough for our requirements, but Mrs Hextol believes in taking clothes to cover every eventuality.

Mrs Hextol and I once went on a rather posh cruise, for which I had to take a full evening dress suit.

Mrs Hextol somehow compressed it into a tiny holdall, a feat which I regarded with some trepidation, fearing I would look like a downmarket Freddie Frinton when I took my place at the captain’s table.

I need not have worried, for when we got to our cabin – or stateroom, as the cruise company rather grandly dubbed it – it unfurled immaculately, the only creases being the knife edge ones in the trousers.

Things did not go entirely to plan though, for once the suit and dicky bow were on, I found I couldn’t get my shoes on.

They were rather dashing slip-ons, but my feet had swollen rather during the flight to foreign climes to rendezvous with the ship.

I usually take a shoe horn to deal with such a situation, but it seemed Mrs Hextol had forgotten to pack it.

I briefly considered chastising her for this careless omission, but the look in her eye persuaded me that might not be a good idea.

I spent half an hour trying to cram my feet into the shoes, breaking down the backs of both shoes, and almost severing my fingers, before giving up and going off to meet the skipper with my black trainers peeping out from beneath my shiny trousers.

If the captain noticed, he never said so, but when we returned to the stateroom and flopped on the bed, there was a tinkle as the missing shoe horn emerged from a fold in the covers and fell to the floor.