Well, this weekend we did a slightly bonkers thing, we went to see the Tour De France, in Yorkshire.
Despite not actually having to go abroad, it was still a fair trek. We normally get the train up when we visit Yorkshire but for flexibility this time around we booked a car. We couldn’t leave until 4pm as the kids were at school, we didn’t arrive until midnight, it was a frustrating drive with heavy traffic, roadworks and tailbacks a lot of the way. Oh and some rain. And the boy slept for the last half hour only and then they both woke up on arrival and were too excited to go back to sleep. Not that that stopped him waking up at 6am.
The drive back yesterday was as long too. We didn’t manage to leave until 4pm again, as getting back to our car took longer than expected (getting seperated for 20 mins didn’t help). There was less traffic and roadworks but more stops as tired children kept bickering and shouting. Again it took 8 hours (despite being downhill on the way back 😉 ) and this time they slept for about an hour and a half and they did transfer to bed ok.
We stayed at our friends and spent a little (not enough) time with them on Saturday and met hubby’s parents for dinner. And Sunday was spent mainly in Hebden Bridge, soaking up the atmosphere, eating, finding a place to watch. Waiting, waiting, more waiting. And a brief glimpse of some fast cycling.
So, long journey, boy who slept badly, meeting up with in laws, hanging around for ages, sounds bad doesn’t it?
It was fantastic, we had a great time. The boy was extremely well behaved despite having so little sleep. It was really nice to be able to stay with our old friends (as normally we end up staying with the in laws instead to avoid offense). My in laws were on good form, and managed not to tell the kids off for next to nothing or say anything annoying to us (ok, I’m biased and not being fair on them, I make them sound terrible, they’re actually quite nice when they’re not being rude, but this is my blog) and I only caught them whispering in front of us once. We went for a drive to see part of the course in the Saturday evening sunshine and got out to admire the stunning view and get up close and personal with some wind turbines. We found a lovely WW2 theme cafe to have brunch at in Hebden Bridge, a table outside in the shade (I hate sun), the kids could run around the square and watch the live acts nearby whilst we were waiting and everyone had something they liked to eat.
The wait to see the race felt long at times but was bizarrely fun too. We amazingly managed to find an ok spot at the front and there was a friendly dad who chatted to the boy lots and kept him entertained. The tv coverage doesn’t show you the sponsors vans that drive through first, like a low key high speed carnival (they’re going 20-30 miles an hour I guess) with people in harness leaning out of the side of vans, or standing on top and occasionally throwing merchandise at the crowd. Our haul was a Yorkshire Building society wrist band and a drink sample each for the kids, a frisbee and a packet of herb seeds from McCain’s oven chips (?) for them to share and a small special edition box of Yorkshire The (my computer skills are not up to typing an e acute) that hubby has taken in to work. Plus there were organiser vans blaring out music and cheerleading, and lots of police and gendarmes mainly on motorbikes and some helicopters going overhead.
The best bit. The best bit was the Carrefour vans going past. In Yorkshire, hundreds of miles and a stretch of sea to the nearest branch of the French supermarket, a couple of vans done up to look like a meat counter (display of presumably plastic meat on the side) and a cheese counter (likewise) drove past with people waving from the top. The bizarreness of it really tickled us and I stood there laughing, I couldn’t stop, a proper belly laugh. I can’t remember the last time I did that.
Oh and we saw the cyclists, albeit briefly (they go at a fair lick). Hubby got some good shots though. And over the weekend we heard lots of friendly flat Yorkshire vowels and saw lots of big green hills. And barely touched a computer (I left my devices at home). Instead I did lots of knitting and hubby and I managed to sneak in a mainly uniterrupted hour watching tv together.
And despite the long drive, we got back in one piece. And the kids got to school on time today, fed, with teeth brushed today (that was an achievement, the boy was very unsurprisingly very reluctant to get out of bed this morning, he was awake, he just wanted to roll around on bed).
So, we wouldn’t want to do it very often, but one successful family road trip done, something a little bit different and I think we all had a good time.