You could have knocked me down with a feather when I heard the news. It was a bitterly cold day in the middle of March, and we had all just come off the Maidstone bus after school and were trying to thaw out in front of the sitting-room fire, and Mother just sat there quite calmly and told us.
"Aunt Madeleine and Uncle James," she said, "want you to spend a week with them in Paris."
Clarissa said in a dazed voice, "Wants who to spend a week with them in Paris?"
"You four," said Mother, just as if she was talking about us going to Brighton for the day.
"Me too?" said Thomas. No wonder he was surprised, Thomas is only ten.
"All four of you," said Mother.
From LOOKING AFTER THOMAS, Chapter 1, The News.