Monday 26 September 2016


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We packed the car and set off half an hour later than planned, but by midday we were on the road. The online route service stated it would take three hours and forty minutes to drive all the way to Withernsea just north of the Humber on the east coast. When we hit the first patch of slow traffic just fifteen minutes into our journey on the A47 I did not know it was a warning that worse was to come. When we then got stuck behind a large digger on a single lane stretch of the road whose driver refused to pull over and let the massive tailback of cars that had built up behind to overtake; I started to think that maybe it would take more than the time allowed. As soon as we got onto the A17 we hit a wall of traffic and crawled most of the way to Lincoln. As we stop-started our way through that cities rush hour traffic five hours had already passed.

I had kept my cool so far during this arduous drive, although for four and half hours my lower back and left leg just ached continuously with drivers' cramp. But like I say there is always a but in life. After six hours in the car with all the family crammed in with our holiday bags, and attires, we had left the sunshine behind in Norfolk as the rain started to fall when we headed over the Humber Bridge. I asked my navigator sitting next to me, for the first on the journey, my wife's advice on what exit I needed to take as we approached a roundabout. She had the road map on her lap and the pages I had printed off from the online route planner.

She looked at me and said, "I don't know. Just keep going around the roundabout."

I was in the wrong lane to do this without putting the family in serious danger. I took the only exit I could, and was confident I had made the right decision, but then we hit another roundabout, and when I asked my navigator her advice again she looked at me and said.

"I don't know."

Around and around the second roundabout we went until she made up her mind. As we headed along the motorway I was looking for a sign-post stating how many miles to Hull, and when I saw one with the mileage to Leeds I knew instantly I had been sent in the wrong direction. When I asked for the third time the advice of my navigator, her response was not what I wanted to hear to my question.

'I don't think we should be heading towards Leeds, should we?'

She looked at me with a blank expression and said, "I don't know."

Well, that was it, I exploded with frustration. The wife exploded back, and my youngest started to cry.

Six and half hours in the car without a break, in the rain, why traveling down the wrong way of a motorway is not a good way start to a holiday. I had managed to make it ninety percent of the way without having to ask the wife for any help with directions, and now in just a few short minutes we were lost. I made an executive decision and pulled into the first petrol station we came across to ask for directions. The staff reassured me and once I called the family in and bought them some refreshments everyone's mood improved. By the time we were traveling in the right direction we were all friends again, and we could see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Eventually, after seven and a half hours of traveling, we arrived at our Park Resorts caravan in Withernsea after spending what seemed an eternity crammed in our small car.

It was gray, damp and by the time we had booked in, and then unpacked our bags, the family was hungry as an easterly wind whistled its way around our caravan and through any gap it could find. We headed over the bar to have a drink and order some pizza's to take back and enjoy in our new home for the next week. The bar was packed with northern families and very noisy. The camp children's entertainer was whipping them into a frenzy as music boomed across the room. It was too much for us in our tired state and we were glad to get back to the caravan, and stuck into our meal.

That evening we watched the highlights of the Olympics in Rio, although we didn't have much of a choice as the television only showed channels from the BBC. Finally, as we all went to bed we were exhausted, and as the caravan rocked from side to side with the ever increasing power of the storm as it whipped in from the Sea, I did lay there wondering if we had only started badly, or would it be like this all week?

Stay tuned to find out.



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