One day, all 5 woke up feeling like they wanted an adventure. “I know”, said Mummy, “Let’s abandon the beads to the neighbour, pack all of our unneccessary clutter into an unfeasible number of small bags and go and drive on all those roads that scare me until we reach the very bottom of the country.”
So they did 🙂
Excellent drive down; i’ve beaten my M25 fears, which menas i will now be able to use it to visit The Portico too and therefore miss my hated Northants road and cut off 30 minutes of driving time (though not perhaps sitting in queue time!) and we very much enjoyed the Dartford Bridge, even if i did nearly get us mashed by a Superdrug lorry (oh the horror of something so cheap and nasty) while going at 10mph in the booth queue). However, otherwise it was a really easy, if wet and miserable, journey and we didn’t get lost at all, nor even end up at the wrong house. Do think AARoutefinders estimate of 2 hours 45 minutes was a bit optimistic though, as it took 4 hours!
Once arrived, the kids abandoned themselves to the extensive wardrobe department and Fran got obsessed with army costumes. Not sure any of mine were at their best reallyÂ ut they did have a lovely time. Was slightly alarmed when Amelie asked me where the toilet was 26 hours after arriving 😯
Nic and i managed to tag roughly an extra days worth of gossiping on to the end of each day and drink a certain amount of wine while twiddling with bits and bobs and i foisted a large bag of muddled up beads on to her 🙂 I expect creations for flickr please 😉 Enjoyed sitting for them while Nic worked, 6 children not significantly harder than 4, thoguh films and biscuits were essential tools and i got to bond quite a bit with Teeny who seemed to like me 🙂 Was lovely to see Lucy and co too.
The journey home was something of an epic. Decided to go back the other way round the M25 to avoid the bridge/tunnel which i figrued was bound to be closed and i had a vague recollection that if the bridge is closed they reverse flow in the tunnel so i assumed it was be horrific. Plus i’m hugely uncomfortable with being underground (which i can in fact trace back to lots of childhood Dartford Tunnel trips as we lived near by and i used to hate seeing all the walls wet and slimey as i was convinced the river was breaking through. See i was just the same at 5!) so i didn’t fancy sitting in a jam in it.
Got to Dorking through trees on roads and flying branches;one hit the top of the car and we came round a bend, slowly thanks to lots of people flashing lights, to find a a tree hanging at bumper level out of a garden and right across our side of the road. Decided at Dorking that i needed a wee but would go to the first M25 services, having no idea that there weren’t any! Was therefore slightly alarmed when the signs immediately announced that they were 54 miles away, which i figured must be South Mimms 😯
I got, quite quickly, quite a bitm ore alarmed as the windy picked up, the sunshine disappeared and people started to get blown across the road so i was sort of relieved (though not in the bladder sense!) when i went into the back of a traffic jam just before the M4. That was then pretty much the last time i worried about the weather as we largely went at 10mph for the rest of the journey.
Toyed with diverting to see The Portico but remembered they had Chicken Pox so if i too Joey in there i then wouldn’t be able to go to Melrose or K’s wedding, flirted with ringing A and asking her if her mum would put us up but then decided that as Sally Traffic was not reporting traffic on our side of the M25, it couldn’t last long. She was though, bizarrely, talking about Truckfest, which happens over our back fence!
3 HOURS later (with me finally truly grateful for the lack of bladder feeling inflicted on me at Joeys birth) we got to South Mimms; our traffic (15 miles worth) had been caused by absolutely nothing more than people slowing down to look at a blown over lorry on the other side of the road. The traffic jam was shorter on the side of the accident. Bloody rubberneckers!!!!! Sat in South Mimms for a while, having seen traffic jams stretching up the A1 and conversed with a policeman or two about whether to divert off the A1 or not but they said that other roads were covered with trees and i’d be best off just sitting out the A1.
So we did. 15mph tops from the M25 to Hitchin by which time i knew i was no longer safe to drive as i was having to pinch my eyelids to try and keep awake. Cold makes yawn anyway, so opening my window didn’t help, i ran out of Red Bull and the only services i went past, intending to stop, the lorry driver to my left steadfastly blocked me from turning off at. Bastard. Hope he knows his determination not to let someone out of the middle lane into the inside one could have cost 5 people their lives if i’d fallen asleep.
Anyway, thankfully i had Michelles phone number on me and even more thankfully she had got back from Portugal the night before and she took us in, fed everyone, let me snooze and gave me caffeine and we finally got in at 10pm last night, having left at 1.30pm. 🙄
Oh well, Kate is still pregnant and i’m mentally cheering her as apparently they refused to give her a 3rd dose last night because they were too busy so she told them she was going home! So she got her 3rd dose. Hasn’t worked though, so next is ARM. Poor girl, this is really tough on her after S being a spontaneous 3 hour job. She so needs this little one out though so i know that this is still probably the best way forward for her; she couldn’t have gone another 3 weeks. So i am still on standby for doula-ing. 😆