Last weekend we went away to see some friends in Suffolk. J is best man at their wedding next year, so needed to be measured up for his suit, and it was our friends birthday. We were looking forward to a mini break, and had the best intentions to be on our way fairly early on the Friday morning so that we could make the most of our weekend. Anyway our attempted 9am start creeped to 11am. Everything was packed, multiple snacks and drinks were in the car, sat nav ready, and our 4 hour journey from Dorset to Suffolk could begin.
4 hours! I could not have been more wrong. We always have to stop at the services on the way for lunch, toilet stops etc, and that adds some time on to our travelling, but we were expecting that. Unfortunately Friday 29th July was apparently the worst day for travelling, as it seemed pretty much everyone in the country decided that was the day to be going on holiday.
We were fairly slow moving and stopped an hour and a half into our journey for lunch, we had only got to Winchester. Me and J take turns to drive, and he continued to drive on to the M25. This is mostly where our nightmare started. The traffic was pretty much stop start the whole way round the M25. BB and LP were being fairly well behaved and we could at least appease BB by playing spot the plane, with me saying ‘look can you see the plane, or, look there’s another one,’ over and over again. We liked to guess where the people could be jetting off to, with me dreaming about some far off exotic location and sunshine.
After getting past the airport location, we just continued to trundle on, with the radio on and some great tunes. With regular travel updates, it felt good to know that many other people were also in a similar travel situation.
LP though was getting to the point where he had, had enough, and so started the screaming of a very overtired baby. He screamed for what seemed like hours. To be honest after a while it just blurred into the radio, and I couldn’t actually hear him. There wasn’t anything we could do, and finally he fell asleep.
It seemed like we were hearing the radio news fairly often, it was the realisation that another hour had passed, and that we had not moved very far. For such a long time in the car, we were in fairly good spirits. We would look at people in their cars looking grumpy. One particular guy was playing air drums and air guitar in the passenger seat of a car driving past, which was quite amusing.
After some more time we decided we needed another toilet stop. We pulled into South Mimms services at 4.30pm ish. Bear in mind we had been travelling since 11am, already 6.5 hours! We were fairly quick, and decided that we would swap so that I could drive. This is really where our downturn started. I get much more grumpy about these kind of things than J. It took us 1 HOUR to leave the services car park. We would inch forward, only to have to let another car out. Everyone was in the same position, but I was starting to get a little frustrated. By the time we got to near the exit, I decided I wasn’t letting anyone out, also I was starting to stress about LP and BB’s dinner. We got back on the motorway and continued with the stop, start traffic right round to our junction, which was a little hair raising when I edged into the queue, only to be honked by a flipping lorry driving too fast, who had to swerve around me. I mean come on, there is a massive queue of traffic, everyone is going slowly, and the lorry has decided he is in charge. I was now a little upset, thinking I had been a complete idiot, putting our family in danger. Plus the boys needed dinner! Ahhhhh. We escaped the motorway finally and found a small McDonald’s to stop at. I had a ready meal for LP, but they couldn’t heat it up and could only give me hot water. The container would not fit in cup of hot water, and J (at a later stage) told me that I looked a little crazy using my hands to gesture that the heart shaped container wouldn’t fit in the cup to a young boy who was only about 17, who just looked scared at this deranged woman trying to explain the finer points of her baby needing dinner. In the end LP ate it cold. (He didn’t really like it).
J drove after this, I was stressed, upset and much like LP earlier, overtired. We finally got to our friends house at 8.30pm. That’s 9.5 HOURS of travelling. We have never experienced such a hideous journey before, well with the kids.
Some of my first words in the door of their house were ‘ I need a drink,’ our friends – ‘Wine,’ me – ‘Yes.’
We did have a lovely weekend, and we got to spend time with our friends and their lovely families. It was all totally worth it. The boys were very well behaved. It was actually only me who was predominantly stressed by the whole situation*rolls eyes*. I’m totally dramatic.
Fortunately our journey home took the expected 4 hours. Until next time…