They say that getting there is half the fun. In which case, this trip should be a real blast.
I’m away this weekend, down to Yorkshire to collect a table, see my folks, drop in on my mother-inn-law to watch Doctor Who on Saturday night, stuff like that. Taking Thing Two, eldest son, with me for company on the drive and some father-son bonding. The journey is scheduled to go something like this:
Stage 1: Overnight boat from Lerwick to Aberdeen courtesy of Northlink Ferries. Y’see those blue blobs on the map there? That’s where we start off. Aberdeen’s a good 12 hour crossing from there. That’s assuming a good crossing. It might be a nightmare. I’ve had ferry crossings where the captain has warned us to be in bed before we reach open water. That was a fun trip. I’ve had crossings that would’ve made a good ride at Alton Towers! With 3 kids in the cabin, all proclaiming it to be the best night’s sleep they’ve ever had. Go figure!
Stage 2: Drive to Dundee, get the pox-ridden handbrake fixed on the car. This is where it could all go horribly wrong, depending on what the Renault main dealer finds. Hopefully it’s just a case of hooking everything up to the computer, explaining to the car that yes, it does actually know what this new handbrake unit is for, and off we go on our merry way. I’ve got an awful feeling that it isn’t going to be that simple. Not by a long way. And that the garage I’ve had it with up here on Shetland has caused more problems than they’ve fixed. Not that I’ll be able to prove anything.
Anyway. Let’s assume Stage 2 goes to plan.
Stage 3: Drive from Dundee down to Yorkshire. A five hour drive, given reasonable roads and traffic. And assuming the car doesn’t do anything stupid. AA membership on standby.
Once we’re actually in Yorkshire, things will relax. A lot. Get to see one of my brothers, pick up this dining table and start the slog back north, do the whole thing in reverse except with an overnight in Corbridge and a stop by the indescribable Cairn o’Mhor winery. So basically, it’s a weekend of journeying with a few little things in between. This is where I’m lucky.
My kids travel well. All of them have, pretty much from day 1. It’s a luxury I’m very grateful for, living where I do. The worst of them so far is the latest addition, he did not like being driven around Lanzarote last October and was pretty damn vocal about the whole thing. We won’t know how well he copes with another long trip until the summer.
Thing Two will act as chief navigator, OIC telephone, I’ll teach him Twitter so he can provide updates whilst I’m driving. He’ll also be in charge of snacks and changing the CDs. Apparently we’ll be listening to Jeremy Brown, Secret Agent for the drive south, maybe Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire for the rest of the time. If he goes to sleep I may just sneak on Hugh Laurie’s blues album.
We get to do great things whilst we’re south! We get to put fuel in the car at almost reasonable prices (rather than the £1.52 it is for diesel up here at the moment). We get to drive for hours and hours without running out of road (or land). We get to see trees! You lot down there just take trees for granted, all big and green and sticking out of the ground. We’re definitely short of them up here. Bloody sheep. Above all, though, we get to spend time with each other and just chat. And that’s just magic. We’ve a plan B in case the car is completely borked, and that’ll be just as much fun.
So that’s my plans for the weekend. Drive to Yorkshire to get a table. What’s everyone else doing?