WE have been arranging our menus and food choices for our Molineaux family holiday in Wales.

This may sound easy to those that don’t know my beautiful family, but there will be 15 of us including kids and we have a mixture of carnivores and vegetarians.

You are no doubt familiar with the phrase ‘herding cats’ but this doesn’t do justice.

In a bid to escape our working-class roots we have booked an in-house chef for one of our evening meals. It is surprisingly good value compared with eating at a restaurant and saves one of us (me) acting as a babysitter.

Mrs Molineaux’s youngest is the project manager for this herculean task and it is not straight forward.

No sooner does it look like we have landed on an agreed menu that everyone seems to forget what they have chosen and we start again.

One of Mrs M’s sons-in-law expressed what we were all feeling when he admitted that he regularly turned up at social events, weddings etc, and was shocked at what he was being served. “When would I ever order salmon parfait!” he would exclaim, “What was I thinking?”

We all felt his pain especially when we considered how much work was involved in a relatively simple holiday meal.

One of Mrs M’s youngest’s WhatsApp messages was actually:

“The first choice was the mango and passion fruit, but mum and dad had it as 3rd & 4th places. Two people wanted baked ganache, but the chef said it would need to be for a minimum of three.”

I think from this single comment you can feel our pain.

Taste in food is such a personal decision so trying to bring everyone together is more complicated than it should be.

I think personality types is an issue here too. We tend to think that our decision making is rational and reasonable but on further discovery we find it just doesn’t work that way. Mrs M’s approach tends to be more thought through and processed, whereas I am far too impetuous for my own good.

Essentially, I am a nightmare on eBay. I tend to see the pretty photo and make a bid only later to discover that we would have to drive down to Cornwall to collect the item.

If you think I am bad, I once had a colleague who bought her own tent on the selling site. She was a regular camper and decided to get some new equipment, so in the middle of the week she put her own tent up for sale. When it came to Friday, she decided to look for her next set of camping gear. After a couple of well-earned glasses of wine, she went through the list of available items and saw one that was really good value. She made her bid and won it for £300, only to realise the next day it was her own tent.

This shows the kind of problems we face when trying to get group decisions to land. In our own family we have introverts and extroverts, reluctant decision makers and impetuous types, socialisers and solo operators.

Deciding which food starters to have should be easy but it isn’t because everyone approaches it in a different way, whilst convincing themselves they are acting rationally.

We see this played out when we have all six of our grandchildren together. Granted the age range doesn’t help, 11-years-old down to two, but you can see their personality types coming through. Which games should we play? What food do you want to eat? What songs do you want to hear? And then when we have a short TV break it becomes even more problematic.

The trampoline in our garden seems to be the great leveller; it’s as if all personalities like to bounce. I sometimes wonder whether companies should hold their team meetings on one.

When we finally arrived on the holiday the kids (young and grown-up varieties) ran around the house to check out the bedrooms on offer before we settled down to a vegetarian chilli that I had made at home and brought with me. I didn’t give anyone a choice; I went for the easy route of just making it and presuming they would be hungry after their long drives.

On the second night we had a whisky tasting session arranged by the family member who orders salmon parfait and forgets. It was fun but showed how little we all knew.

I say ‘we’ when of course I mean the adults. To create inclusion, I arranged a crisp tasting session for the kids. Three flavours of crisps from different brands. The children had to taste and grade each type. I won’t tell which brand won but the lower priced products did well.

The rest of the holiday was filled with fun and compromise; two things that make a family event work. The family meal was excellent, and we laughed about the choices.

Mrs M’s youngest did a great job and we were all both grateful and aware of how difficult it is to get the family to land on a group decision. Herding cats indeed.

In fact, I believe that in a parallel universe the feline community regularly use the phrase “Herding Molineauxs’” to describe the complexities of getting common agreement.