Liverpool Road Trip – An epic journey

I was to be working up in my home city of Liverpool for the weekend, and so we decided that it would be nice if the three of us were to travel up together from London as a family, so that my parents could enjoy some time with their granddaughter, and similarly so that Sophie could enjoy being spoiled by them.

I packed the car, as I always do, for reasons I’ll explain. Basically when we travel anywhere there isn’t really a great deal that I can contribute towards the practical efforts whilst we are on route, beyond being in charge of music, which is mainly just the sodding Frozen soundtrack on loop, and riveting conversation of course.

So I at least like to try and take charge of all car packing when at home. So much so that if anybody dare interfere with the impeccable tessellation of our cargo that I manage to achieve – I used to be bloody great at Tetris when I could see it – they will undoubtedly receive an earful from me telling them to place their items on the ground, raise their open palms in the air, and back away from the car slowly!

You see, it is unfortunately often the way that when we go places, a great deal of the actual doing of stuff falls squarely at the feet of my wife Patricia. Let’s ignore the fact that Sophie, as cute and adorable as she can often make herself, often refuses any help from Daddy at all, demanding that Mummy does everything for her. I won’t lie, at home when the football is on, this is pretty damn handy, but when we are travelling at 70 miles an hour up the M40 and she won’t even let me hand her some grapes because she wants Mummy to do it, who is driving, it can be a pain in the arse.

Patricia has to do all of the driving for entirely legal reasons, there’s no sharing the burden or having a break from the monotony of our British motorways when you are married to me. Until we get one of these Google self driving jobbies so that we can all just sit in the back and play Buckeroo, there’s no real alternative to this.

But it’s not just the driving. When we are on route, any toilet breaks for Sophie have to be handled by Patricia. Well durr. Firstly I don’t know where the toilets are to find them and can’t really be relying on the navigational skills of a toddler can I. Also I don’t want to sit her on a pissy seat or any one of another hundred different horrible things that are more than possible if we were to venture out alone.

If we need to get some food, then Patricia also has to be in charge of procuring that from the service station. On top of this, I am an extra body that needs to be steered through all of this, at times feeling like an extra larger child that costs a lot more to feed, and who won’t stop playing the bloody Frozen soundtrack on his phone over and over and over!

My point here is not to give you the impression that my wife moans about all of this, I mean lot’s of people do long journeys on their own with carfuls of kids – God help them! – and don’t get me wrong, my wife likes a moan as much as the rest of them.

This is entirely self pity, as I often feel quite useless – queue the tiny violin, it’s packed in the boot, level 2 row b – and sometimes guilty that I am unable to do my share to help out along the way. And never more so than on this particular journey, when our predicted four hour trip turned into a whopping seven and a half hour ordeal. Parts of both the M40 and the M6 were closed and traffic was horrendous. Patricia was totally knackered after about five hours, and the toilet requirements were numerous and becoming increasingly frequent, including a couple of emergency toddler relief stops on grass verges along our diverted country route.

Sophie had slept for a couple of hours along the way, but had slowly been losing her patience, as each toilet break resulted in her being buckled back into her carseat and told that we’re nearly there, not too much longer now. For the last hour she really was beginning to lose her shit, so much so that not even the Frozen soundtrack was having any of it’s usual placatory benefits.

After seven and a half hours we finally arrived in Liverpool, all a bit knackered and shaken up by the last hour or so of toddler meltdown. Sophie had just one shoe on. We’ve no idea where the other one went but it’s my guess that it’s on a grass verge somewhere in Cheshire with wee on it..

The next day, once we’d all had a chance to recover from the journey, I sat Sophie down and I said to her – “Well done for being so patient in the car yesterday, it was a very very long trip because one of the roads was closed, and it took ages and wasn’t very nice but you did very well and were a very good girl, so well done Sophie!”

Sophie, not one to take all of the credit, replied with “And well done Mummy for driving a long way.”

“Yes”, and Well done Mummy for driving a long way” I said, “and for taking you to the loo all those times!” I added.

“And for buying my fish fingers” she said.

“Yes and for buying your yummy fish fingers” I agreed.

There was a brief pause before she added, “And well done Daddy for sitting down.”

Yep cheers for that. Trust a bloody toddler to remind you of your shortcomings – I did pack the car you know!!

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