Now, contrary to the nature of my ‘Bad Idea’ posts, family days out aren’t always a hideous experience. Yesterday, for example, we had a glorious day out courtesy of the Fairyland Trust, with Boo prancing around as a fairy, particularly vile pirate tales, Noodles getting his groove on to some live music and thanks to a lot of help from some woodsmen we even made a passable fairy den in the woods. And the sun shone. What a day!
But the the thing is, with nearly 20 years of parenting experience I know when a day out is a VERY BAD IDEA. I knew a shopping trip to Norwich was going to be a bad idea. I even tried to rope Husband in to share the pain. And when that failed, tried to get out of it myself.
What I didn’t predict was how much of an epic fail of a day out today would be. Or how little shopping would be involved in a shopping trip.
My sister needed a dress to wear (as a teacher) to her school’s prom. I had visions of her taking an eternity to find anything and Noodles having his usual allergic reaction to shopping, the symptoms of which manifest themselves in a loud and persistent shriek and a lot of thrashing in the buggy. Still, if I could put up with the dirty looks of total strangers I could justify buying a new lipstick.
My sister has no prom dress and I have no lipstick. Although, fortunately for them, the shoppers of Chapelfield still have their ear drums in tact.
As we headed for Norwich the heavens opened. The rain we avoided yesterday settled in for the journey. On the bright side, my new windscreen wipers work like a charm. But it was a deluge. Driving over the speed bumps in the park and ride car park felt more akin to riding the world’s smallest log flume.
We parked up side by side. Hairy jumped into my car to discuss tactics.
Hairy: I wish we had Walkie-talkies. I’d have aborted our mission and turned around well before here.
Me: I told you it was a bad idea. If I’d stayed at home there’d have only been one car and you’d have been able to turn around whenever you wanted. But what do we do now? I’m wearing Fit Flops.
Hairy: I don’t want to get wet.
Me: Me either. How about we head right into the city, see if we can park at the mall car park? And if we can’t we turn around and get some lunch?
We hadn’t failed. We only needed 2 car parking spaces in the dry of Chapelfield mall. How many people would be out on a miserable day like today? Surely they’d all be at home uploading yesterday’s sunny bank holiday pictures onto Facebook and reminiscing about happier times?
First we sat in lakes where the road used to be.
Then we sat in traffic at roadworks.
Chapelfield car park was full.
After a quick phonecall (on speaker – no laws being broken here, officer, honest) we agreed to rendezvous at the always salubrious surroundings of KFC on the outskirts of the city. Yes, I know, but we were hungry and desperate. Don’t judge us.
Judge all the people in front of us in the queue. Despite having gone 2 o’clock, it was heaving. Perfect timing then for Noodles to have his obligatory meltdown. Marvellous.
To be fair, if I could have pulled off the streaming nostrils look I would have. I’d pretty much had enough too. We’d just travelled 45 miles (and 2 hours) for cheap chicken that we could have got 10 minutes down the road at home.
Needless to say, we stuffed ourselves silly. Poor Teddy could only look on and watch the carnage.
And to top it all, only a month after the MOT, the engine warning light is back on and the bulb has gone in the passenger-side headlight.
And thanks to a packet of chocolate buttons (thanks, Hairy) I now have to clean the inside of the car too.
I swear, next time I’m staying in bed.