My family doesn't do road trips well, even the short ones!
When I think of the concept of family road trips I tend to think of Waltonesque images of a load of children crammed into the back of a car with Ma and Pa in the front beaming with pride and singing 'Country Road take me home.'
Let me tell you-That is NOT the reality. Not in our house anyway and I'm sure we're a pretty average family. Every car trip we make that is more than 15 minutes is fraught with arguments, tension and choruses of 'are we there yet.'
A 45 minute trip to Wexford at the weekend had us all fighting before we even reversed out of the drive. The Youngest decided to throw a wobbly because we'd packed her ipod charger in the boot. The fact that she couldn't actually use it in the car appeared to be beside the point. She wanted it beside her and when she didn't get her own way, spent the entire journey saying, 'Fine! I'll just be bored the whole way. With NOTHING to do. Ever again!'
Meanwhile there was almost fisticuffs between The Eldest and Himself over the way The Eldest threw his stuff into the boot, upsetting Himself's carefully compartmentalised packing system! I peer in the rear view mirror to see Father and son squaring up to one another.
'Don't use that tone with me!' says Himself with his best Strict Father Voice. 'Yeah, whatever dad,' mutters the Teenager provocatively. I get out and tell them to get in and then tell everybody to just shut up for five minutes .
A loaded silence ensues for about...five minutes after which The Youngest pipes up. 'Shall we play a game?' We all groan as we know the only game she wants to play is 'Who Am I?' a game that is amusing for the first twenty times, after that you just want to stick pins in your eyes.
We play it. We let her win. Then we put on some music. The kids want the radio, I want Now That's What I Call Classic Rock and Himself wants Newstalk. The kids get their own way. Of course they do. The rest of the journey passes in relative peace. The Teenager says he feels a bit travel sick, The Youngest says she's hungry. I wish I had earphones so I could just plug myself in.
Suddenly something dawns on me. 'We're going camping in France in July' I tell Himself.
'We are driving down to Spain for a week after that.' Himself looks confused. 'Yeah I know all that.'
'It's a 9 hour drive. How did we ever think that was a good idea and how are we going to survive it?'
Himself goes a bit pale. 'How did we not think of that? Do you think we could put them on a bus or a train?' I tell him we could but I think we might get arrested.
'Do you think you could get your hands on some Valium then?' he asks me desperately.
I'm working on it!