You know the story, you’re setting off for a few days away, excited for a break but the prospect of 4 hours in the car fills you with dread. You think back to your childhood and the phrases used by your parents on such journeys and, with horror, you realise that you too have uttered the fateful words to your own little ones on more than one occasion.
‘Don’t make me turn this car around’ this is often accompanied by the paralysing fear that you might actually have to carry it through….. we have done this once, it wasn’t as dramatic as it could be, given that we had to drive a good four miles to find a suitable turning spot, and then driving for nearly an hour back home before we felt calm had been restored long enough to continue on our merry way.
Various forms of ‘Are we there yet?’…. ‘When will we get there’ and ‘How much longer’ run riot. I refrain from giving set times, something which infuriated me as a child. Yet how can a 7 year old comprehend the following: A misguided satnav, a misguided map reader (normally me), 3 lanes of stand still traffic on the motorway or that stopping for a toilet break adds 30 mins on to a journey while you locate the services, park 2 miles from the entrance, negotiate fellow weary travellers and have the ‘service station shops do not sell boiled sweets’ discussion. Those packets are for display purposes only, no self-respecting outlet would add a 200% mark-up bon bons… surely?
My eldest didn’t quite understand why we wanted to go the ‘pretty way’ home last week.
On deciding he was fed up of miles of concrete and bored of the licence plate game….. (also needing fresh material for eye spy having exhausted: car, road, sky and tree for the last 2 hours), my husband, and our out of date satnav, took to the country lanes for an adventure. No sooner had we found ourselves on a beautiful (but winding) B road then we heard the ill-fated words… ‘Mummy, I need the bathroom’, Cue a race against time…. After 20 mins (and some close shaves, involving 3 sneezes and a quaint waterfall), we arrived at a picturesque village on the edge of the Devonshire moors.
This was the kind of village where each house had a beautiful array of hanging baskets and the local shop was decorated with bunting. Tiny cobbled side streets led to a traditional church yard with a noticeboard to local events and newsletters detailing bingo, craft fayres and choir practice….. It also had some public loos….. With sigh of relief the eldest made it to the cubical in time…. Scott and baby Roo explored the area while H took a longer than average amount of time in the stall. The boys returned concluding it really was an award winning location.
I can only guess, that in such a perfect village no one thought to check the plumbing system of the public toilet……… I can just see the hurt, bewilderment and confusion at the next village meeting when someone asked… ‘Just who WAS that slummy family who came to our village last week? Did you know, they came, they pooed and then they left…..’ Yes the flush was broken…. Sorry elders of Looville! We promise we’ll stick to motorway services in future……