Driv­ing abroad is only slightly less stress­ful than child-proof­ing a hol­i­day villa


Gloucestershire Echo - - FAMILY MATTERS - Richard IRVINE

FEAR can hold us back from ex­plor­ing far flung desti­na­tions.

Although, it never stopped Cap­tain James Cook and it’s thanks to his bravado, we had some­where nice and sunny with good beaches to send crim­i­nals.

Hav­ing said that, a lit­tle bit of fear might have stopped him from be­ing mur­dered by the lo­cals. This is ex­actly why we took the twins to Spain rather than trekking through the foothills of Ever­est.

We know Spain has hos­pi­tals, friendly na­tives and paella

but it’s still trav­el­ling for the twins and there­fore still a chal­lenge for us.

The drama started when we dis­cov­ered we had to col­lect and fit baby seats to the car in a dark multi-storey at a sul­try 30°C, while the twins screamed.

Even­tu­ally, the shout­ing and swear­ing died down and we left the car park, with lit­tle or no con­fi­dence the seats had been fit­ted cor­rectly.

Fi­nally, it was time to re­lax in a car I’d never driven with po­ten­tially un­se­cured chil­dren on a five-lane mo­tor­way. Vic­to­ria helped by bark­ing ‘RIGHT, STAY ON THE RIGHT’ al­ter­nated with ‘LEFT, LOOK TO THE LEFT’, on any round­about. Fi­nally, we ar­rived at the villa and it was beau­ti­ful with mar­ble floors, mar­ble steps, two bal­conies with views to the sea, a sun ter­race on the first floor and a pa­tio door lead­ing to a pool. ‘This is great’ I said to Vic­to­ria, while my in­ner

brain screamed: “Je­sus, this is a death-trap, some­thing very bad will hap­pen here’.

As we were hur­riedly try­ing to move break­able ob­jects from ta­bles, we no­ticed Thomas climb­ing the mar­ble steps.

It only then be­came ap­par­ent the steps had a 5ft drop to the hard mar­ble floor. As I res­cued Thomas, Emma ran past me hold­ing a knife.

I shouted at Vic­to­ria, who was busy lock­ing the pa­tio door, to dis­arm Emma.

It turns out Emma could reach and open the kitchen uten­sils drawer.

Every­thing set­tled down un­til I heard the shower run­ning and re­alised Thomas was miss­ing.

‘Per­fect’ I thought, they can open all the doors, so we are now un­able to trap them.

Within an hour, we’d blocked the stairs with the sofa, locked every­thing, se­cured draw­ers with string and Vic­to­ria’s dad ar­rived.

The mood was chang­ing, and it was time to en­joy a Span­ish beer in the gar­den. Ev­ery­one started chat­ting, while the twins en­joyed some fruit loaf.

It dawned on me, yes, there will be chal­lenges and po­ten­tial dan­gers but some­times all you need is al­co­hol in the sun­shine to make every­thing seem bet­ter.

There was no guar­an­tee the car seats were se­cure

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