Monday, 28 August 2017

Road Trip: Day Something Or Other

Those of you who have been eagerly following my day-by-day account of my adventure to the Jurassic Coast with LittleBear will have been devastated to notice that I didn't write anything yesterday. This was for two reasons.

Firstly, I was absolutely exhausted. Properly, properly exhausted. I had thought that LittleBear's night-time rotations had run through all possible permutations, but I had not fully appreciated that there are times that, labrador-like, he seems to chase rabbits in his sleep. His little legs flail up and down as he runs wildly after little bunnies (or perhaps Lambeosaurs) and he grunts and wurtles to himself. This would be mildly distracting if he were simply lying beside me. And it was. It was more than mildly distracting when he was lying with his feet on my stomach.

Secondly, I was relishing the opportunity to put LittleBear to bed and then retreat to a different room, sit on an actual piece of furniture and speak to another human being. GrannyBear and I sat on a sofa and did a crossword together*.  This was a distinct improvement on the previous three evenings, where I had tucked LittleBear up, switched the light off and then sat on the floor in a dark corner, lit only by the ethereal glow of my laptop screen. Blogging in the dark is challenging. I can generally find all the letters by touch alone, and can stare at the screen as I type. If I want to do anything radical, like use punctuation, then I need to angle the screen downwards so it lights up the keys, at which point I can no longer see the screen. You can imagine it was a somewhat laborious process, because I'm quite fond of punctuation. And I was sat on the floor. Normally I don't mind sitting on the floor. I do it quite a lot. But after spending rather more time than I'd like, carrying rather more rocks in my back-pack than I'd like, up rather more hills than I'd like, my back was rather more painful than I'd like. Sitting on the floor was like twisting the knife in the red-hot agony of backache.

So, I didn't feel like writing last night.

But now LittleBear is happily watching a recording of Match of the Day**, and I can sit on Actual Furniture and type where I can see and all sorts of other luxuries.

Yesterday was a long, but enjoyable, stage in our road trip, back on the road again.

To avoid Further Incidents, I moved LittleBear's car seat into the front of the car, and I forbade the consumption of soft fruit at breakfast. The two-pronged attack was entirely successful, and we managed 95 miles, mostly on small, windy roads, without any complaints. Once again, I have no idea where we went, simply putting myself in the hands of the satnav. I can tell you we went past a village called West Camel, which was definitely our favourite for the day. Better even than Middle Wallop. And we also passed Stonehenge, which I attempted to explain to LittleBear. I'm not sure I managed to convey the full historical and cultural importance of Stonehenge... "but why would you travel thousands of miles just to come and see that Mummy?"

Nonetheless, we made good time, and before we knew it we'd arrived with the Bear cousins Somewhere In Hampshire. And I was able to relax into the warm embrace of family, enhanced enormously by the presence of BoyCousin, to whom LittleBear attaches himself whenever he sees him. I barely saw him for several hours as his (very tolerant) older cousin played lego with him, and played football with him and smiled and nodded as LittleBear became tired and deranged and talked nonsense. BoyCousin is nearly ten years older than LittleBear and yet is infinitely patient and kind with him. One day, I hope, he will realise just how huge a difference it makes to me to be able to talk to my aunt and (grown-up) cousins without constantly supervising LittleBear. It's almost like being a normal human being again. If I'm lucky, LittleBear will grow up to be as delightful a boy as BoyCousin.

And then, finally, the last leg of the day, a mere 45 miles back to GrannyBear's house. A bed to myself. Bliss...

* Actually, we attempted a crossword, and became slightly vexed when we discovered that the Grauniad had managed to publish a mis-print in their prize crossword. I suppose we should be proud of ourselves for being good enough to have solved enough to identify a mistake, but still...

** A 1-1 draw for Burnley against Spurs at Wembley, which, in the words of BigBear, "feels like a win to me".

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