Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Transport of delight

I have to write a post for the car-sick carnival today, and I can't find a single journey where anyone of us has been sick. Even me. Let me explain... Victoria (It's a Small World After All) put out an APB to all twitter units for a themed post on toddler transport nightmares. Rather foolishly, I volunteered. I say foolishly because, at the time, I had no idea what I would write. I had nothing as toe-curlingly amusing as this, nor anything as dramatic as this. I told Victoria I wasn't able to do sick and she very generously suggested any transport-related trauma was acceptable. But I was still left scratching my head.

Now if that makes it sound as if all our journeys run to plan, are comfortable, carefree and enjoyable, think again. We live in Lincolnshire. They don't have roads in Lincolnshire. Not like they have roads elsewhere in the country. For a start they're all single-carriageway; second they're all speed-restricted either by the tractor you are following or the veg lorry; third, you're likely to be stopped at any moment by the flashing of red lights as half of Britains AWACs or Typhoons depart from one or other of the many air-bases. Or is that just me?

Warming to the theme I decided to consult my diary. I'm rather a sporadic diarist. And somewhat vitriolic too. So any transport chaos would certainly have made it to onto the pages of my journal. Ah yes. At last, a cornucopia of car-related chaos, a torrent of transport traumas. There were the (many) occasions as a London student that I had to be AA-Relayed up the motorway having broken-down again; there were delayed flights to holidays, drunken fellow-passengers and hotel transfers that took us to the wrong hotel. There were the nightmare journeys by car, especially one's without the benefit of air-conditioning. And driving round the Paris peripherique at rush-hour. Oh yes, the words 'journey' and 'terrible' leapt out from almost every page. There was six hours queuing to get into Cornwall in 2006. And six hours queueing to get out again. There were the mini-bus trips to London concerts as a teacher when - thanks to my London driving experience - I ended up driving back from the Royal Albert Hall at midnight.

There was even the four-hour trip to Bournemouth one summer which included the sight of a bare backside as we ate our picnic lunch. And that was one of the better journeys. As I wrote at the time, it was "uneventful apart from the sight of naked buttocks in a lay-by (exposed by the shortest of short skirts, elevated on legs perched on top of red stiletto heels, and topped by an awful artificial blond wig). Had the buttocks been female, it might have been amusing. But it all looked suspiciously like a secret bank-holiday drag queen on a sexual away-day from the office." Sally's inevitable questions - and our answers - are not recorded. Perhaps we were all rendered speechless.

Or maybe she was so busy listening to her story-tapes she never even noticed? It can't be entirely coincidental that so many of our journeys were made tolerable by the genius suggestion of Sarah's that we buy a Sony Walkman and a stack of story tapes. And Charlie's at the stage when 'Mr Dum Dum' makes most things like a car journey tolerable. In fact, with his dummy in his mouth he often sleeps while we're traveling. I can remember only once - when he was just a few months old - when the fag-end of a journey was accompanied by ceaseless screaming. We were only a matter of twenty or thirty miles from home and his next feed. But it still took well over an hour to complete our journey as we wound around Peterborough and twisted and turned on the Crowland road. We weren't even stuck behind a tractor. And sometimes, that's the worst thing of all. Knowing that anywhere else, on any other roads, we'd be home in less than half-an-hour. Just not in Lincolnshire.

Of course, there's always a solution....


17 comments:

  1. Has that contraption got a working toilet? Hope the mudguards are handle the flush...

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  2. Oh yes, Steve - that's the point. No more hunting for a loo in the middle of nowhere for us!

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  3. You are a lucky traveller. And as we entered the Mont Blanc tunnel (do not stop under any circumstances) and the toddler shouted, I'm desperate for a poo, I'd have paid you good money for that contraption!

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  4. It'd be one hell of a thing to pedal through the Mont Blanc tunnel though... mind you, I wouldn't fancy the Gotthard Pass on it either!

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  5. No car sick issues? oh boy I dream of that. So fed up of clearing up barf. My poor hubby is relegated to the back seat cos it's the only way we can stave off the sickness!

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  6. I know... we're very lucky. Sally can even read in the car now she's out-grown story-tapes. It must be in the genes... on a fishing-boat trip to Fingal's Cave in four-foot of Atlantic swell I was the only passenger not to be sea-sick! Mind you, I sure felt it... especially with everyone else hanging over the sides!

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  7. Don't you feel car sick when you read in the car? Something I can't do at all. I think falling asleep for the journey would be the best bet.

    CJ xx

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  8. Well Kathryn, I'm normally driving so I can't say it's ever a problem. But Sally seems to manage it and Sarah is an avid map-reader... Mind you, on the rare occasions I am a passenger, I find sleep the best bet too!

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  9. We've been lucky too on the sickness front but have been stuck in horrendous jams as well. :0(

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  10. Well, they say that pride comes before a fall CM. And having boasted (above) about a lack of vomit, I've had plenty to deal with in the night. So watch out!

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  11. Excellent mode of transport, I presume you make the wife pedal?

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  12. I can read on a plane, a boat and a train but not in a car. As I am usually the passenger when we travel any distance, it is a good job that we have a sat nav! But I do enjoy watching the scenery.

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  13. I used to put my daughter in the car and drive her around to put her to sleep. It seems to be very soothing to some babies.

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  14. You've been lucky. My daughter could never travel further than 100 yards without feeling carsick which made travelling anywhere by car a complete nightmare. She seems to have grown out of it now, thankfully. Wish I'd know about that bike-carivan-thingy although it would probably tarnish my super-savvy image (cough)!

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  15. Well, Tim, we live ten minutes' drive from a major tourist destination and it can take ages in summer to get to work to retrieve my husband. He has taken to riding his bike to work in summer because he often goes faster than the cars! We are also routinely stuck behind tractors around here, but honestly, I'd rather the slow pace of the country road than the craziness of the city. Unfortunately it sounds like you live in a combination of both!

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  16. I have SatNav too CW.... her name is Sarah! And, as a geographer, she's pretty good at it, too.

    I've heard of many people who've done that Jen. What always put me off were the tales from dads who'd driven round for hours only for the babies to wake up the moment the car engine was turned off!

    It might have been the only way of getting to the Pancake party, Rosie... pity we didn't think of it in time!

    For the last few years of my commuting life I did the same, Rebecca. In fact, I still do. Cycling's about the only way to get across town quickly, so I've even got a seat on the back or Charlie. And he loves it!

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