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This week I decided to go for a night away and swap the scenic countryside of Wales for that of Derbyshire’s Matlock. A well-earned rest was in my mind when I booked the night away, but I knew it was about as likely as winning the lottery without entering the draw. After all I was going to be travelling with not just my own two children, but with my good friend Kate and her daughter Gracie.

The day of the trip had arrived and whilst my sat nav. told me that the journey would take just over four hours we set out at eight in the morning in order to arrive for the two o’clock check in time, on account of Gracie’s tendency to suffer from car sickness and of course all those stops to retrieve the missing teddy, toilet emergencies, hair pulling scenarios and mint imperials lodged up nose traumas etc.  With the car packed to the halt with suitcases, toys, boiled sweets and all sorts of other just in case essentials, we began the journey and much to my surprise we drove a whole hour without any complaints of queasiness, probably on account of the fact all three children were far too busy squabbling.

An adult sanity stop was in order after an hour and a half of being stuck in the car with three equally bossy girls all singing, ‘do you want to build a snowman’ at the top of their voice. So off with the seatbelts and we bundled all three girls into the nearest café for cheese on toast.  After gulping down their toast the littlest, Libby wanted the toilet and so I escorted her to the ladies where she decided to be fiercely independent and fight off any offer of assistance I gave her. This particular toilet was quite high and at just three years old it was a long way up for little legs to reach, but with a determined grimace she wriggled up onto the seat, but then for reasons only known to her she decided to wriggle off a bit too soon, whilst still doing a wee. Now I had a pair of soggy knickers in my handbag and a half-dressed child.  Meanwhile in the café all was going well until Gracie and Hattie spotted a toy box in the corner and suddenly decided they both wanted to play with the same naked Barbie. A fight ensued and I couldn’t help wishing that I had packed a dog whistle ; in the absence of a time out bell or whistle it was time to round them all up and bundle them back into the car.

IMG_1706 (Small)Once back at the car there came the drama of strapping three children into their respective car seats.  Putting seat belts on children doesn’t sound like a difficult task, but the fact of the matter is that fitting three car seats into the back of my car is a squash and squeeze.  As I fiddled about trying strap the middle child in, I decided to climb into the back to get a better idea of where the seat belt connection was hiding, as I did so I slipped on a Peppa Pig drinks bottle, lost my balance and fell into the foot well with my legs akimbo; much to the entertainment of the children and passers-by. I quickly scrabbled back on to my feet and ten minutes later we were back on our journey.

It wasn’t long before the traditional cries of ‘’are we there yet’’ were sounded in unison from the back of the car and there were many toilet stops, sickness stops and squabble stops as we embarked on what felt like a never ending journey. Finally we arrived at the hotel at just after three o’clock and I was looking forward to a hot bath before a good meal in the hotel, however, Hattie, Libby and Gracie had other plans, after all there was so much to quarrel over and so little time.

IMG_1770 (Small)Next week I will tell you the story of the musical beds and other stories from my night away, until then a fond farewell from West Wales.