I am not really a car person. My husband is a car person. And likes to pour over brochures and specifications and trims. And I am not. To me a car gets you from A to B. With the cello. Not much else.
However I have reached a point in my parenting life when actually I am more of a car person. And that is because I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time in it.
Driving in it. Sitting in it. Eating in it. Sleeping in it. Playing Solitaire in it. Reading in it. Highlighting programs of interest in the Radio Times in it. Planning menus in it. Generally living a large proportion of my life in it.
Take yesterday as a fairly standard example. It was Saturday. If it wasn’t then yet again I refer you to my scheduling habits for these blog entries. If you are still confused then you are clearly not a loyal reader. Please bone up. But anyway it was. A Saturday.
Youngest was playing soccer with her team away in Leighton Buzzard at 10am. Leighton Buzzard is a town I know well having spent my pre teen and teen years living there. My mother and one brother still live there. The journey used to take the best part of an hour. Then the powers that be built a new bypass and I can do it in 35 minutes with a following wind. Yesterday, however, I didn’t. One lane of that bypass was shut. I think some poor souls were litter picking. Or something. And then Leighton Buzzard hits grid lock on Saturday mornings.
So anyway that was my first hour in the car. Chatting to Youngest about life, Def Leppard and soccer. Mainly soccer.
There was a brief interlude where I actually watched football. In fact it wasn’t that brief. They kicked off late. And then played four quarters of 15 minutes with the obligatory team talks in between. This necessitated hubby taking Middlest with him to Eldest’s hockey match at school. As I was not going to be back.
Anyway we got back in the car. The traffic in LB had hit its lunch time peak. That lane was still closed. I decided in my infinite wisdom to drive straight to school to extract Middlest as he needed to be elsewhere too close to the end of Eldest’s match…which had also kicked off/bullied off/ whatever the hockey equivalent of kicked off is- off late too. It seemed to be a day for it.
I drew up in the bus stop next to the Astro pitch and hubby met me half way with Middlest. I set off home.
Clearly I am used to this journey as it is the school run. I set off on automatic pilot conveniently forgetting the flooded flood plains of the river in my village. Which I had commented on to Youngest merely minutes earlier on our journey from LB to school.
It was a shame I hadn’t thought about the implications of those floods on the river bridges in our neighbouring village which I needed to cross to get home. They were flooded and shut. Which I found out just as I approached them. There is another bridge over the river in a village about 10 miles further on. But I wasn’t prepared to risk that bridge also being closed. So we turned around and retraced our steps. Tyres.
We waved at school as we passed by again. And crawled through the traffic the other way. The way that I avoid at all costs. Bridges permitting.
Just as I was driving through my own village on my normal route which allows me to turn right into my driveway (I having learnt the hard way fairly early on the dangers of turning in left with loud children in the car and on a deadline) Middlest piped up that our road had been closed. At that end. Ah yes next door’s lead pipe replacement which seemed to have necessitated digging up the entire street. It hadn’t been closed when I had left home several decades earlier but it seemed the digging could not be accomplished with traffic signals alone and as hubby was leaving the road was in the process of being shut. I am glad Middlest remembered albeit not early enough for me to take the logical ‘other’ route.
I quickly changed tack and took a scenic route through the housing estates of my village to approach the drive from the left. We waved at our old house on the way. Turning into the drive left was made even harder than usual by the presence of an Anglian Water van and several workmen standing around looking pensive in the middle of the street.
So overall that journey took the best part of two hours. Which made us late for the rest of the day. I shoved food down Youngest and persuaded her into a shower and packed an overnight bag for her.
Then we set off again to town to drop Middlest at his party. Another crawl through that traffic that I avoid at all costs. Bridges permitting. And also road closures permitting. One critical road for this ‘bridge’ journey to town involves a street which has been shut for ‘essential’ gas works since February and isn’t due to re-open until May. Sigh.
So another 40 minutes of my life in the car.
There followed a rather pleasant interlude. I dropped Middlest at his Pokémon party in the local comic book store. And then Youngest and I had about an hour to kill before I needed to drop her off at the local pottery painting shop. We went to the library where it quickly became apparent why the multi storey had been so full. Some sort of event was in full swing blocking off the teenage fiction section. Anyway we had a browse and then a snack and drink in the café. Lovely.
I dropped her and plodded wearily back to the old voiture. At least on this journey I was alone and able to play Def Leppard at ear splitting volume and sing without being shouted at. Still the traffic was bad so yet again it took 40 minutes. It didn’t help that I had forgotten about my closed road until I had gone past the point where I could take the ‘other’ logical route. Again. More housing estate. Hi again old house (usual pang…).
It would be nice to say that was it. But it wasn’t. I went back out at about 5.30pm to collect Middlest from his party this time from his friend’s house. On the other side of town. The traffic hard calmed a bit so the whole trip took about an hour there and back. So not too bad. One half Def Leppard, one half Pokémon de-brief. I forgot about my closed road entirely this time but thankfully it had re-opened in the intervening period and was merely traffic signal controlled. I successfully negotiated turning into my drive for what felt like the umpteenth time that day.
And that was it. I turned off the cab sign for the day. A total of around five hours in the car. All told.
Poor hubby though. He had to go to get Eldest from his night hike at half past midnight. Yikes.
So there you have it. I guess I am a car person. By default. And the world’s worst paid taxi driver.