Four and a Dog

A blog about family life

The Journey Home

I wrote about our holiday to Devon the other day but I did not include the tale of our journey home. This may be because it has taken a few days to become funny. There was nobody laughing at the time.

On the Friday morning we packed up ready to leave before they came to kick us out at ten o’clock. We had originally thought that this would not be a problem. Four adults and two kids all awake by seven o’clock and only packing up what we brought with us- what could possibly go wrong?

Of course we’d failed to factor in all the food that had been left and our ability to spread clothes, toys, electronics, toiletries and towelseverywhere!. We’d also forgotten our children’s ability to sense moments of stress, and their superhero power to magnify it. Bruiser wailed every time he was put down and Diva decided to refuse to do anything except run around shouting. Needless to say, we finally left the house just after ten with a very patient cleaner at the door.

Instead of heading straight home we thought it would be a good idea to visit Clarks Village and get Diva some new shoes at a bargain discount. Unfortunately we hadn’t realised how far off the motorway this place is and how many great shops there are. I had to assume an ‘eyes front’ attitude and focus on shoes or we would never have made it out. I’m not going to lie, it did hurt a little. Our brief detour was as brief as possible when trying to buy shoes for a three year old and resulted in an hour delay.

Next stop was Bath to visit Hubby’s aunts. We usually love Bath. It’s pretty, full of history (especially Jane Austen history) and the shops are great. As a bonus, Hubby’s very lovely aunts live there. However, on this particular day we discovered a hatred of Bath like no other. Don’t worry, the lovely aunts were not to blame- we still like them, just not the roads around them. From the second we crossed in to the place traffic stood still. At one point a set of traffic lights turned green three times and only one car managed to make it half way through. In every car window there was a face of anger and frustration. Ours was no exception.

We tried to stay positive. We tried a different route, but Bath doesn’t let you try different routes. It has a one way system that must be obeyed. Even our Sat Nav, Patricia, tried to warn us, but we wouldn’t listen. Patricia kept urging us to turn around but we just switched to Google maps and defied her. Twenty minutes later we were forced to apologise to Patricia- Google maps didn’t know about the one way system- and allow her to guide us back in to the traffic once more. I swear her voice became more smug the second time around and there was definitely a hint of, ‘I told you so’, when we returned to the same queue of traffic fifteen minutes later.

For well over an hour we did battle and only moved metres. Bruiser was screaming for food; Diva was screaming because Bruiser was screaming and she doesn’t like to be left out; Hubby was ranting about poor Internet connections and ridiculous traffic systems and idiots panic buying petrol; and I was slowly going insane whilst trying not to stall the car. Things really began to escalate and melt downs were imminent. Then, at the height of Hubby’s frustration, Diva suddenly pipes up from the back, “You need to let it go, Daddy.”

She had a point. We made a random turn and looked for any route out of Bath. Eventually we found ourselves on a road to Bristol and stopped at the nearest pub with a kids play area. We all had some food while Diva played. We felt awful about not going to visit Hubby’s aunts but we just couldn’t take anymore, and we needed to get home to collect Uncle M from the dog sitter.

The rest of the journey home was bearable. After a further half an hour of screaming from Bruiser he went to sleep, and Diva entertained herself with her new Wonderpets toys. We finally made it home around five pm. Hubby then had the enjoyable task of driving in to Oxford during peak traffic to collect Uncle M…who had been rolling in poo.

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