It is Sunday, Father’s Day Sunday and as I am so keen to be more spontaneous ( I’m approaching Midlife Crisis, I think ) I decide I have to just wake up, look at the weather, plus weather forecast ( as I live in England after all, we have 4 seasons in a day ) and if the weather looks promising for the whole day, pack and go to the beach. Why the whole day has to be promising, is because my favourite beach is about 2 hours away. I cannot do two hours of driving, only to get there in rainy weather.
So after a few weeks of boredom, work, school run, housechores, rain, and repeat, I decide we are going to Sandbanks. The weather is perfect, it is hot and the sun is shining. I have to grab this opportunity with both hands as the next weekend, like the previous weekend, could be a thunderstorm day.
I pack some sandwiches, crisps and nuts for the road trip. The children pack their travel bags with books, activity books and their Nintendo 2DS ( which comes out of storage very rare, usually only during the school holidays )
The journey starts well, the M25 is slow, but moving slowly, at least, traffic is moving.
Our luck changes when the M3 is closed and we have to find an alternate route. I love alternate routes, as it means using scenic routes and discovering quant hidden little villages and towns which we would have otherwise never gone thru. I love photography so I am always up for new scenes.
Indeed the routes are scenic once we leave the M25, but with us, a long trail of cars has to follow the same route. This amounts to non moving traffic, yet again.
The sandwiches are devoured, we run out of water. The plan to stop at a service station, something we do regularly on road trip, is scrapped.
We cannot buy more water, we cannot stretch our legs, and to make it even worse, the children are starting to whine. Usually, I can deal with traffic, even non moving traffic, but when the children start to moan, that is it, my resolve to be patient with traffic flies out of the window. DS and books are forgotten. I have my camera, and I am busy taking photos of cottages, fields and anything that attracts my eye. I try to lighten the atmosphere as I love road trips but I also have a husband who gets so impatient in traffic. So add impatient husband to whining children, and me trying to make everyone happy. So I play some games with the children, like I Spy With My Little Eye, guess countries’ names starting with A, B ,etc etc.
After what seems forever, we come off the scenic routes and join the non moving traffic on the M25.
Now I know why we always go to that beach in August only, not on a school night, in the middle of the school’s term. In August, people travel a lot, so not everyone is driving to Sanbanks. And usually the weather in August is a bit more consistent so not everyone will choose to go to the beach on the same day, especially a day experiencing Heatwave.
After 3 hours, we finally reach a service station, where a trip to the washroom has become somewhat a case of emergency, to avoid any unwanted wet accident in the car. Also, in this heatwave, we need to buy drinks.
After a 5 hour journey, a journey that should have taken only 2 hours, we finally see the sea, a glimpse of hope. OH, OH, the roads are packed to the brim, cars are parked on both sides of the road, wherever it is legal to park without blocking anyone’s driveways.
We just about, manage to get into a car park, as some cars are leaving on the exit side. Now time to find a parking space. It’s hot, it’s late afternoon, I am thinking about school the next day, and what time will it be wise to leave Sandbanks, what a journey, when I spot a car leaving. The car leaves, but a man in a tiny pants is standing in the parking space, unwilling to move for my car to take that space, as his wife further down the parking lot is driving back to that particular space. And I know that the wife must have found a spot further down already as there is no car coming my way. Everyone is in a queue going ahead only.
The funny bit to this is the man asks me, with hands on his hips, and in his tiny pants,
“Why do you think I am standing here, to be pretty?”
I only manage not to look down at his tiny pants and laugh. Eventually, he works out that his wife must have found a spot as she is nowhere to be seen, and he has enough of looking pretty standing in a spot reserved for cars only not for men in tiny pants and he decides to leave.
My mood is a bit frayed by then, but the sight of the sandy beach, the hot sun and the blue sea makes me forget everything. What makes it even more worthy, is the children running on the sand, getting their beach toys ready and saying how they love only this beach.
Even though the beach is busy, we find a spot to set up the beach tent. I unpack, slap some more sun lotion, and breathe in the moment.
The children play in the water and build a house, not a castle, surrounded by a river. They keep going to fill their bucket with water to fill in the river.
What a lovely day.
One of my favourite part of coming to the beach is eating fish and chips. A hot takeaway at the beach is awesome. Early dinner as we have to make a move soon enough, to be on time home, shower and bed.
Needless to say, all those parked cars on the road can mean only one thing ; more queues at the takeaway place. By the time I get to order the food, the shop is nearly closing.
I pack everything away, with the children not wanting to leave but due to school, we have to.
Bye Sandbanks, next time, I will only come in August, the peak of Summer and when everyone is in Spain.
I cannot believe the routes are even worse than on the way here. This time, I even go delirious in the traffic, trying not to worry about school the next day.
The positive side to this is I get to witness as well snap some sunset photos. The traffic is so still, that I get down, snap away all I want before getting back in the car.
The motorway is closed again, for different reasons this time. The back routes are full of impatient drivers, fed up ones, some drunks ones and an idiot in a van too. The idiot ( must be a drunk idiot ) who nearly ran into the side of a Porsche next to me.
We get hungry again, and thankful for a McDonald on the way.
We get home after midnight, with two fast asleep children in the back. A quick rinse of the body and everybody.
So much for spontaneity. I wonder if I will be spontaineous again. Maybe not, as we are all very tired and I don’t think it is wise to start the week in that state.
How wrong was I about the children? They are so resilient after all. The next day at school is fine. Yes, they are tired in the morning, but after a hearty breakfast, they bounce to school and even say that they were absolutely fine at school.
Good memories made after having fun times, the time spent in traffic is irrelevant and are soon at the back of the mind, and also become a funny story to tell.
Sandbanks in Dorset, Poole.