I was a little nervous when our niece phoned and asked if she and her family (husband and five teenagers) could visit us for a week after Christmas. They had left it too late to get a booking for 7 anywhere and they wanted to show the children Cape Town. They live in Pretoria - about 1200 miles north. Although we do have 4 bedrooms, two with queen-size beds and double bunks, I did wonder how we would all fit in - as all my children also announced they wanted to see their cousins and would thus be coming too. In the end, the Northerners have proved to be the easiest house guests I have ever had. The matriarch (my niece) organises her brood with casual (but firm) precision e.g. "We are all having muesli for breakfast tomorrow" - and no-one argues! She shopped for groceries - surely enough for a small army - and I haven't had to provide a single meal. In fact, hubby and I have snacked on their food as well and they have taken us all out for dinner. Even with such large numbers, I have been amazed that e.g. today - they piled into their RV before 7.30 am (all having eaten muesli) and were off to see Cape Town, an hour's drive away. They are all pretty fit and half wanted to walk up Table Mountain (too much wind for the cable car today) and the other half headed for the mall. They are all polite and delightful young people and every single one offers to help with chores and they make their beds and clean up after themselves. Even the bathroom is spotless. Something to be said for large families. They can visit us anytime. NB Small son is coming back tomorrow with more friends to spend New Year with us all: I hear tents will be erected in the garden.