A road trip with four kids requires some ground rules.
It’s half term and we’re on a road trip. Experience has taught us that it is best to set down some rules before we leave.
One, keep bags to the bare essentials. Two, agree the seat planning the night before. Three, take a barf bag in case of sudden occurrences of norovirus. In the days of yore, when people were pre-teen, they used to love an early start. They would be up two hours early in the pitch dark giggling. Nowadays, you virtually have to drag them from their beds. Only son was the only one halfway awake at 5am. I had, however, caught him the night before packing an inordinately sized suitcase with DVDs and other essentials, thus breaking rule one entirely. I managed to squeeze everything into a backpack. Daughter two virtually packed nothing; daughter three’s case was creaking at the seams.
The seat planning all went awry. Only son had agreed to going into the middle section of the car in the middle seat with a duvet at 7pm the night before, but forgot all about this and climbed into the very back of the car at 5am where daughter three had set up an exclusive, pillow-lined cabin. Only son had to be persuaded out and stated that it was “already the worst holiday ever”. Daughter one had been on earlies for work all week and was not in the best of moods. By Dover she was appealing to daughter three to let her sleep in the back due to not being able to sleep next to a lively only son. Bribes were involved.
We had packed an extra plastic bag in case of emergency sickness. Daughter one also announced that she felt a bit sick as she got in the car. Only son having had the norovirus at the weekend, it was not worth taking any chances.
We hit the road and got to the continent vaguely on time, despite a delay on the ferry, during which we momentarily lost daughter one who went off in a huff while we were trying to win daughter three around to the seating switch. I searched the whole boat. “Maybe she has jumped off,” suggested daughter three. Only son and I made a sweep of the outside section of the boat which only son compared to Titanic and we located daughter one in a nearby toilet.
We then got stuck in a huge traffic jam in Belgium, made a diversion and got onto a road with virtually no petrol stations. Which would have been fine if half the car had not suddenly needed the toilet. After around half an hour we eventually came across a parking area, but there was no toilet, just trees. Daughter three got out the car with me as we were the most desperate. The trees were fairly thin and there were no bushes, plus rather a lot of cars parked up. Daughter three decided she could hang on for another two minutes or so. I tried to find a strategically placed tree. When I returned to the car people seemed more upbeat than before. Some were even laughing. It emerged that daughter two had caught the whole affair on camera. “I’ve told her to post it on instagram,” said only son…Three hundred metres further down the road we came across a petrol station.