On the road with Abba Gold


We’re on the road to holidays. Everyone is in good form and singing Abba very loudly. What more could you want? We were up at the crack of dawn, daughters two and three having been up from 3.30 because they were extra excited.

Daughter two’s phone was going off every 10 minutes because she put it on snooze. Only son was in our bed because he had thoughtfully decided that it was best for him to be there to avoid me having to walk all the way to his room to wake him up in the morning. Even daughter one was up on time. We set off with the first round of Abba [only son has converted from One D]. By Dover, we had listened to Abba Gold several times over.

Naturally, after the ferry we went astray around Rouen. We have done the same route for the last six or seven years and we always miss the turning off for the motorway to Le Mans. Still, we had a very scenic journey through ElBeuf again.

We stopped for lunch soon after and the kids spent the time feeding kittens in the bushes. “Can we just adopt one?” they asked, inevitably. My partner was still cross that daughter three had smuggled an illegal suitcase into the car so a kitten would have been one step too far. He tries to limit people to one small bag each due to space in the car, but he has not come to terms with the fact that two of the contingent are teenagers and one is a planning genius. Daughter three had a planning chart on her bedroom wall for the holiday.

There followed a session of Communards and The Smiths, with the vegetarians in the back singing along heartily to Meat is Murder. Then we were back to Abba Gold. “Number nine, please, mum,” shouted only son from the back.

We arrived fairly on time at the hotel and went to a local restaurant which does not appear to acknowledge vegetarianism and refused to serve just chips and salad. We found another and then it was back to the Ibis Budget and to bed.

Only son and daughter three were in with us and on the top bunk. They were listening to Evantube doing the chicken nugget challenge. “It’s Chick Fil A,” shouted only son.  As soon as I turned most of the lights off, I heard the sound of only son’s feet on the ladder. “Can I come into your bed?” he asked. “The bunk bed is very high.” Three minutes later daughter three loomed, looking a bit lonely. She got into the bottom of our bed. By 3.30am I was pinned into the centre of the bed. I decided to swap our bed for the bunk bed. Fortunately, over the years I have become accustomed to sleep deprivation.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk.

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