But there were more sheep and lambs in the fields than any of us had ever seen before. Kath and I saw a newborn, it's afterbirth smeared on the grass and its mother licking it clean in the biting wind.
When I told my co-author of Plotting for Beginners, Jane Linfoot, that I was up in the Dales on holiday with the sibs, she said it would make a brilliant sitcom. That's true. But I'm not going to risk it. Although... I could draw an illuminating Venn diagram of some of the differences and similarities between us.
Here are a few superficial ones for starters...
Four sibs are keen ornithologists. One sees a bird that's been pointed out to them, and thinks: "Yes. And?"
One objects to a milk carton on the breakfast table, two think that coming down to breakfast in pyjamas is a capital crime, and the others are baffled by the strictures (although two protest at an electric kettle left on the table.) It's complicated.
Four like background music. One prefers silence.
Four are technophiles. One's a technophobe.
Four sibs are tough stoics. One is a wuss.
Three have cats, one prefers dogs, and one has hens and brought eggs for us all.
Two think Mrs Brown's Boys is funny. Two think Mrs Brown's Boys is beyond the pale. I forgot to ask the other one.
Three are foodies. Two consider cooking to be a tedious necessity.
Two are monarchists. Three are republicans. (N.B. the lower case r.)
Two sit in bed in the morning reading the news on their iPads and fuming about the current government. The others don't, but are nevertheless prone to the fuming bit.
I suspect that Venn diagrams drawn up by my sibs would highlight different things.
Our undisputed commonalities would be our love of Wensleydale and our love for each other. Priceless.