Just two hours drive away

I took six of the children on a bit of a road trip yesterday. It was the last day of the holidays, DH was working, the weather report was inconclusive and I decided it would be nice to visit family.
So bright and early we headed north- the trip from Hertfordshire to the Black Country takes about two hours, but with six children in the car ( and a woman who has carried seven kids and now accepts her bladder is not what it used to be ) toilet stops are inevitable.
And about half way it was in fact me who needed a "rest stop" so we all piled out of the car. Smiled cheerily at the people watching (we can always see people counting blonde heads when we go out en masse) and headed into the services.
Sign for the Men's WC at Meryemana, Turkey
Sign for the Men's WC at Meryemana, Turkey (Photo credit: Alaskan Dude)
We gathered like a tourist group in front of the toilets. "Right" I said;"Who needs a wee?" A variety of children put hands up. Not including grumpy toddler. So I specifically asked him. He said no. I asked "Are you sure?" He insisted quite vehemently that he did NOT need the toilet. I reminded him that when we got back in the car he would have to wait another hour. He gave me the sort of look that withers plants. OK then.
Loaded up with treats for cousins and nanny we piled back into the car. Fastened all the seat belts. Checked they were all in the right position on the varying car seats. Yes. We drove off.
A little voice from grumpy piped up.
"I need a wee."
Huge sighs all round. Luckily we hadn't quite made it out of the car park so I parked up and DS ran him back into the services.
We had set off in sunshine. I was wearing sunglasses. The further north we went the darker it got. And colder. And windier. By the time we got to my cousin's house it was just starting to rain. And a couple of hours later when we got to my Gran's it was torrential with a howling gale and what looked suspiciously like sleet mixed into the rain.
So I was somewhat surprised to get a text from my friend back "dahn sarf" inviting us to a BBQ. I popped into a Tesco grabbing dips, Prosecco, crisps and sausages and chatting to the cashier told her I was off to a BBQ - she peered doubtfully out of the window at the storm outside and looked a bit confused until I told her it wasn't local!
Sure enough as we headed back down the motorway the sun came out, we spotted people wearing shorts and t-shirts and the temperature guide thingy in the car climbed steadily from 10 degrees to 18!
Traditional Sunday roast (Day 357 of 365)
Traditional Sunday roast (Day 357 of 365) (Photo credit: Gene Hunt)
It constantly surprises me how different things are just 2 hours drive away. Weather, prices, accents, way of life all so different. DS spotted a sign outside a pub near my cousin's house - four courses for £7.95. I have paid that for a coffee and a pastry in my local town.
McDonalds was empty. Two weeks ago when I was ill DH took the children out for a Maccy D Sunday lunch in Herts to give me some peace - he had to drive to three different branches and still couldn't get a seat so they all had to sit in the car to eat lunch. We wondered if since the franchise prices are the same north or south maybe that's a comparatively expensive lunch in the Midlands? Why eat burgers when you could have a lovely pub Sunday lunch in the Midlands for the same price?
We ended the day BBQ-ing back down south - I love the Midlands and all my family there but I'm still happy to be Home Counties based, if for no other reason that we seem to get more sun!

Enhanced by Zemanta