As many of you know, we’ve moved a little further out of the city, although we are still in Bristol. One thing that marks me out as very un-Bristolian is that I do enjoy having a car, and always have. Passing my test at 17 was a thrill, being able to drive, to leave, to arrive, to flee, to explore – they are essential in my book.
After my recent c-section, being passed as fit to drive was as thrilling as passing my test again. I wanted to hop in the car, put some music on, and drive to see my mates. And then I woke up in reality and remembered I can’t just do that. Getting two kids in the car, getting on the road with two, it’s even more of an adventure!
What’s different with two?
Most notably, choosing where they sit. Tibbs is usually my co-pilot, sitting up front (airbags off, obviously). It totally changed our in-car relationship, she’s helpful, communicative, and we have proper chats about things going on around us. We’ve recently been practicing colours (the changing leaves, traffic lights, etc), shapes (what the big lorries are carrying).
Flinders is of course relegated to the back, in his MaxiCosi, rolling with the rear view. We’ve all been very concerned about his well-being in the car. For some reason, we worry more about him than we did his big sister, possibly because she would sleep at the ignition and wake up at the arrival, regardless of length of journey. Flinders is more discerning. He loves a traffic-bound wail. He loves a furious stare at the back seat for half an hour. God knows what he’s thinking. Maybe I’ll get one of those mirrors.
I worry about how to keep them safe. What would happen if we were in an accident, or got stuck somewhere in the cold and dark? Two children, terrifying. When you run into scenes like the below, on our way to school in the mornings….urgh.
I got caught doing 34mph in a 30 zone in our village and went on a driver awareness course. It’s literally changed my life. I stick to the limit. My phone is in the boot. I pull over if I need to reach for something. Barrelling up and down the A37 on a daily basis, you see some horrendous stuff. Side note – don’t be a dick if you use the A37 – it’s a dangerous road!
I am also way more conscious of the state of my car. I broke down once on the M5 with Tibbs in the car and it was the scariest hour you can imagine. I had to get out, the AA said, but she had to stay in. I was touching the window and imagining all the hideous things that could happen, as the lorries thundered by. Never again. My oil, water, tyres and petrol are always as checked as they can be.
Recently, we had the tyres changed on our bigger car and were alarmed at how worn they were. I think it’s really important to have your car checked in weather like this, which is why I’m working with Point S today. They enable you to find the tyres you need for your specific car online, and then have them fitted by a local dealer. Have a look, you can get your car tyres locally fitted from Point S depots.
The AA has a great resource on car tyre safety, which you can find here. It mentions the importance of spare tyres, which I found out the hard way when I got a puncture last year. The lease type I have on my car meant i didn’t have one at all – just a tube of foam to help me get to a garage on the punctured tyre! I also found it interesting that you should have your newest tyres on the rear, not the front. I would have thought it was precisely the opposite.
Enjoying car journeys
When Flinders is sleeping or settled, there’s nothing I like more than to be chatting to Tibbs en route to a playdate or to the shops. I love the things she points out to me. I love her bizarre requests for music. No word of a lie she keeps asking for Classic FM, which is immense smug parent points! However, she also knows the difference between Simon Mayo and Chris Evans, which tells you all you need to know.
I always take a water bottle for me, and one for her. I clear out any chocolate wrappers I may have been eating to avoid awkward questions. And there’s a sticker book in the back in case I need to deploy entertainment.
What do you do to enjoy car journeys? And, in the interest of all staying safe, when was the last time you checked your oil, tyres, and brake fluid?
In collaboration with Point S.