City to county:
It’s holiday time for the Matthews family
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