We needed an early start in the morning, if there's one thing I hate, it's traffic jams, so I intended to make sure we set off in good time.
The camp site office was open from 8am onwards, and I had the journey planned to the last detail.
I meant to ensure that our drive down went with military precision. About four hours, I reckon, so to miss out on the bank holiday traffic, we would be setting off from the house at 4.00 am precisely.
The kids were already tucked up in bed, I thought they might have been too excited to sleep tonight, but, no, they had gone to sleep within minutes. The little darlings were going to have a whale of a time down there.
Lovely green countryside to look at, rolling hills, gentle walks along woodland trails, good clean country air to breathe.
Oh, I could hardly wait...
The site was highly recommended, and it looked absolutely fantastic in the brochure.
A fishing lake, children's playground, on-site shops and bar, the clubhouse laid on entertainment every night, and kids were allowed in there until ten o-clock, which would be fine, as we usually went to bed early anyway.
No point sleeping in and spending half of your holiday in bed, is there?
The wife was already in bed too, she hadn't been sleeping too well lately, feeling a bit stressed I think, well, the holiday would do her a power of good, take her mind off things for a while.
She had taken one of her sleeping pills about half an hour before going upstairs, good, it would ensure her a decent nights rest, she would probably sleep most of the way down too, the pills were quite strong ones, and sometimes after taking them she wouldn't wake until nearly lunchtime.
Everything was already packed into the estate car, couldn't be thumping about with the camping gear in the early hours, could I? The neighbours would have a fit.
Well, better turn in myself, I needed to be sharp tomorrow, I was the one that had to get us all there.
* * * * *
2:59. I woke up just in time to flick the alarm clock switch to the 'off' position before it went off, I wanted the wife to get as much sleep as possible. My intention was to leave waking her until the last minute and bundling her more or less straight into the car, that way she would most likely just drift off back to sleep again. The pill would probably help with that.
I crept quietly into the bathroom, and showered making as little noise as I could, wandering downstairs naked, I had left my fresh clothes on the armchair the night before, so that I wouldn't disturb her when I was getting dressed.
Thinking ahead. Planning. Planning. Up there for thinking... Down there for dancing...
3:30 I quietly went through the adjoining door into the garage, I gently lifted the up and over door, climbed into the car, released the handbrake and rolled it forward onto the driveway, getting out and leaving the door open, I gently raised the bonnet and latched it open.
Coolant level? Check!
Brake fluid level? Check!
Windscreen washer bottle? Full!
Quietly closing the bonnet, I sat back in the car and turned on the Ignition. All warning lights working okay. Fuel gauge? Full!
I started the engine, and whilst it was warming up, checked that all the lights and indicators were working, which meant leaning in and out several times to flick the switches, a few minutes well spent, preparation was the essence of a successful journey.
Lifting the tailgate I had a good look inside the back. Tent, box of tinned food, those site shops were notoriously expensive, so we trimmed a bit off the cost of the holiday by taking some supplies with us.
Four large holdalls with all our clothes in, fold up stools, yes everything seemed to be there, and why shouldn't it be? I had loaded it in ticking off each item on my checklist as it went into the car, not to mention a re-check at eight o-clock yesterday evening.
Planning. Planning. Up there for thinking... Down there for dancing...
I turned off the car engine, locked it up, and retraced my steps back through the garage into the house, locking both doors along the way.
I couldn't wait to get started...
* * * * *
4:03 I drove quietly out of the driveway onto the street, didn't want to wake the neighbours at this time of day, did I?
I was right about the wife, she had barely opened her eyes as I helped her to put her clothes on, shepherded her down the stairs, and out to the car.
She was dozing off again before I even had her seat belt fastened.
The only cars we saw on our way through the neighbourhood were stationary ones, the roads were absolutely dead, brilliant.
39 mph all the way round the ring road, wouldn't want a speeding ticket to spoil our holiday would we?
An occasional car, and heavy goods vehicle rolled past in the opposite direction as we neared the motorway, still making good time, I was a happy bunny, everything was going to plan.
I flicked on the CD player, turned the volume very low so I could just hear the gentle strains of classical music. Oh yes. A brilliant start to what was going to be a brilliant fortnight.
4:47. We turned onto the motorway only two minutes later than I had planned for, no problem, I increased the speed to 71 mph to make the time up. No traffic cop in the world would bother about the extra 1 mph on a motorway.
The motorway was slightly busier than the ring road, but still very quiet yet. More lorries and vans than cars, we were still making good time.
“I love it when a plan comes together” I said under my breath, smiling broadly.
The wife mumbled something to herself , and shifted slightly in her sleep. Bless her, she so needed this break.
7:14. We turned off down the sliproad at junction 23, I was ecstatic, we were actually four minutes ahead of schedule.
Planning! Planning! Up there for thinking... Down there for dancing...
Along the country lanes now, I was behind a large 4 x 4 for a few miles, keeping up with him, even though it was travelling 3 mph above the speed limit. No worries, I didn't expect to pass any speed cameras on this road.
7:51. I saw the first signpost for the camp site, 3 miles.
8:01. We turned into the camp site gate and pulled up at the office just as the lady was flipping the sign from 'closed' to 'open'.
The wife stirred slightly, opened her eyes, and looked around her with a confused expression on her face.
“Where are we? She asked, blinking the sleep from her eyes.
“We're here Darling, we're at the camp site, two gloriously relaxing weeks away from all the cares and worries here we come.”
I smiled broadly at her as she glanced over her shoulder at the back seat.
She spun round to face me, her face a mask of horror...
“What's wrong Darling?” I asked gently.
“THE KIDS ?” She screamed at me. “ WHERE THE HELL ARE THE KIDS?”
©2010 Stephen. J. Green.