City to county:

It’s hol­i­day time for the Matthews fam­ily

EDP Norfolk - - INSIDE -

James goes up north

At dawn last Satur­day I was on my drive­way try­ing to shut my car boot. It’s how I start ev­ery hol­i­day these days.

Once again, I re­fused to ad­mit that I’d lost the game of car Jenga and I cer­tainly wasn’t go­ing to en­ter­tain the prospect of un­pack­ing and repack­ing it. So, I did what ev­ery proper man does – I slammed the boot just that lit­tle bit harder. Luck­ily this time it worked. So as long as there was no need to open it at any of the stops be­tween here and the cot­tage in the York­shire Dales we were head­ing to, I’d get away with it.

And we’d prob­a­bly need about three stops be­tween Nor­folk and York­shire. Hav­ing a two-yearold with an at­ten­tion span of sec­onds, and with lit­tle sym­pa­thy for the time in­vest­ment needed to trans­port him to his hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion, re­sults in a car jour­ney a good hour longer than it needs to be. The irony.

Five years ago, my wife and I would have been grab­bing our pass­ports, throw­ing some clothes in a week­end bag and hop­ping on the Lon­don Un­der­ground to the air­port in search of win­ter sun.

If we for­got some­thing, we didn’t care. We’d have time to pick it up at the air­port or pur­chase it from an over­priced lo­cal mini mar­ket when we got to our ho­tel. We’d stride through se­cu­rity with our hand lug­gage and join other trav­ellers start­ing their hol­i­days in the air­port bar – all of us ig­nor­ing the fact it was only 10am.

As we pulled out of our drive­way last week­end my wife went through our item check­list like a mil­i­tary roll call. Hav­ing for­got­ten our son’s favourite teddy bear and sippy cup on sep­a­rate oc­ca­sions in the past, we were all too aware what an or­deal it could cause.

I would turn the car around at King’s Lynn and do the length of the A47 back to Nor­wich again to get that teddy if I had to. But, for­tu­nately, this time our check­list was com­plete. Teddy was safely in the clutches of my son.

Five and a half hours (and four stops) later we pulled up to our cot­tage in the rain. I threw my hood up and started the first of 19 trips, trans­port­ing our cargo be­tween car and our home for the next week. Any­one peer­ing out of their win­dow would have as­sumed we were booked in un­til 2019.

And the rain didn’t stop for seven days. A vil­lage of 20 cot­tages and a pub be­came our pri­mary refuge from the driz­zle.

It was a far cry from the beach-side cock­tail bars we once en­joyed. But at least our son had a lovely time sit­ting there with his mum and dad – ‘cheers-ing’ with his favourite sippy cup and of­fer­ing a swig of juice to teddy.

ABOVE:York­shire – nice to look at, but by gum it can be wet

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