Funny how conversations go. I remember when the Black Panther was at large I was staying in a Caravan with my cousin in a field beside her Mums kennels we were about 10. We got ourselves in o such a state that when my Auntie Wilma came up and banged loudly on the window for a joke and we both became completely hysterical and had to decamp with tour sleeping bags back onto the floor in the house. So as were driving south I was retelling this story when we heard on the radio that there as an escaped convict on the loose.
“He’s called headbanger” said Mum in a most authoraritive tone. “Or is it nut cracker ? Or the big stabber? What was his name? ” pause forebrain to engage again ” I know Hammerhead!”
This went on for a while until eventually Google saved the day Skull cracker!” I announced triumphantly. So we agreed we should be keeping our eyes peeled for him on our way to Yorkshire – our first night away. It was a lovely place delicious food, comfy beds and dangerously great wine.
The General Tarleton Inn in Ferrensby. A delightful, delicious, comfy, friendly, warm, open Yorkshire hospitality. Fabulous food, comfy beds and somewhere I would go back to in an instant.
As we settled in the bar I texted the long suffering husband the wine label.
“Oh God” he said “Beware first night away syndrome, I hope they don’t have a piano or a banjo ukulele”. Well we have been together 20 years he knows me too well. Luckily for them they had neither.
The food was superlative. Delicious. Brilliantly cooked and we didn’t hold back.
More details about that later for now…………..the skull cracker is back inside and all is well with the world………packed and ready to roll tomorrow …
So we’re off. Mum and I are heading off to Europe today in the car. In preparation last night we drank a lovely bottle of wine and toasted the next few weeks of driving, travelling and “mindfulness” Yes the buzz word for the middle aged crisis sufferers the world over of which I am one. Obviously. Mum is neither middle-aged nor neurotic so that must have come from my Fathers side of the family. The mad, hairy, ones. Ah yes there’s the clue. Still back to the trip.
The first hurdle in leaving is pictured here. The dog.
Nellie the lurcher. She got a bit twitchy when she saw Mum pack her bags and spent last night pacing the flat then when we got up this morning she was glued to Mums bags displaying her doleful eye.
I took a different approach as my dogs are 15 and 13 respectively if I had said goodbye to them it would have taken 2 hours and involved a lot of wailing and snottering so I gave them a biscuit a cursory scratch on the head and they walked off rewarding me with a lazy wag.
As they disappeared off into a bushI ran in and gathered the next armful of extraneous goods to stuff into the boot before leaving the flat for the last time tears threatening.
For those considering taking a car. First revelation.
Travelling across Europe by car is a joy. No one to winge about the size of your cases or the number you have of them. So we have spread out…..there’s just us and over the boot and back seats we have:
The Library; Selection of books to read on the road. Travel books, thrillers, sci-fi-romance, history it’s all in there. NO WE DON’T HAVE A KINDLE and NOW WE DONT WANT ONE.
The larder. Food for stuffing into the face in times of desperation which we plundered on day 1 more details to follow…..
The digital radio – yes I must have @BBC6music at all times when in transit
The footwear. Shoes, flip flops, trainers, wellies, boots, flippers.
The rumbley rolls of clothing. Warm stuff, sandy, old summer stuff, winter stuff, spring and Autumn stuff – fully prepared for all eventualities.
The drugs. Not illegal ones but the ones you end up accumulating. Ibuprofen, aspirin, paracetamol, a couple of back supports as my back as been chronic recently, vitamins, Nytol for the insomnia and then Mums array of stuff for blood pressure. I wonder when you see Posh Spice (Yes I still call her that) swashbuckling through Heathrow with all her bags if they are filled with Berocca and painkillers in case of a cracking hangover after a wild night out with Gordon Ramsay and his wife Tana.
But seriously to the untrained health freak we probably look like a couple of dealers. There are a serious number of bottles with pills in them in the boot. I hope we don’t get stopped at customs.
Shampoo. I ordered it twice by mistake on Amazon and thus have 12 bottles of shampoo in the car which we can sell if we run out of money, or petrol, or the will to carry them round Europe.
Lotions and Potions required for maintenance. This is a biggie.
You know the sort of things Cleanser. Moisturise, Veet, conditioner, body moisturiser, deodorant, anti-pespirant, perfume, my make – up which we did consider putting in a separate trailer. Mums make up – pictured. Is slightly less high maintenance.
Laptop. Phone. Chargers. Camera. Batteries.
Vital equipment: Maps. Addresses of where we are going. Instruction on how to use the Sat Nav.
By now there is barely enough room for Mum and I.
If it doesn’t just burst I will report back tomorrow…..
So the road trip plan is going on – and on – and on. I am the culprit. I could organise I piss up in a brewery but other than that organising anything confuses my brain completely.
I need to drive from Edinburgh to Barcelona by car.
I can’t fly. It’s not that I don’t want to. I can’t so I have no choice.
So I look at the map.
I can see where I am and where I want to go but how do you plan it?
How do you know where to stop?
When to stop?
How many miles you can realistically drive on a day to day in a right hand drive car in France or Spain?
A pal told me I need a breathalyser – thanks I said – no he meant legally in France you must have two in the car. Oh. OK
Also on the list are two high viz jackets.
Where do you get those? I said arriving to buy some tea lights from IKEA and instantly stumbling into a huge pile of high viz jackets for about 90p each. Weird.
But as it’s IKEA not only is it weird – its a bargain.
Though I do get distracted with why one earth do IKEa sell high viz jackets?
Is it for people who fall asleep half way through building a flat pack so their family don’t trip over their prone exhausted bodies as they go about their business. Anyway it was a happy coincidence whatever the reason.
So I bought 2 for me and 2 for him and so he got the breathalysers so all we need now is the route.
Even the drive to Dover is confusing.
Drive all the way in a day or stop over somewhere and if so where?
Or get a ferry from Newcastle?
And so it goes on so prevarication wins out as usual.
Speaking of which it’s Good Friday – Happy Easter – I am off to stuff my chops with chocolate eggs in the hope the rush of sugar to the brain will effect a shift in my capacity to plan…
I can’t fly. No that is not a comment about my personal feathered wing situation. Fact is I am not permitted to fly on a plane due to an ongoing health condition – yeh I know – yawn yawn. Don’t worry I wasn’t going to splurge out all that stuff – I was just telling you all about it cos I am in the process of planning a road trip with my dear Mum.
Road trip consists of
Her – passenger seat.
Me – driving seat.
Her – old crumpled map. See below.
Me – GPS
I would be lying if I said I didn’t laugh when I saw this map proving my suspicion that she is no Christopher Columbus.
Her – finely tuned destinations decided and confirmed.
Me – fly by the seat of the pants. Oh I do fly! By the seat of my pants I forgot about that.
My Dad once navigated his wee sailing boat round the coast of the north of Scotland with an AA Road Map. It didn’t end well. So I do understand why she is pushing for some definitive answers as to where we are going. She thinks I take after him. I do too.
In May we are off to Spain.
So I am reinvigorating this blog to tell the tale of a road trip with me and her.
Or as she would say “You and I, Alison! Not Me and her”. Yes the travails and travels of this middle aged daughter and my octogenarian Mum on the road.