Thursday, 29 January 2009

Anyone Bring Food?

I was on a very rare midweek night-out on Tuesday.

I am not the most frequent of social gallivanters in any case, but they are very scarce in the week, as it takes a lot for me to arrange elaborate baby sitting, and to not mess too much with the routine.

This week’s offer was of sufficient magnitude, and my baby sitting ducks lined up quite nicely, it was like logistical poetry.

Max was to be collected from nursery by a village chum, for tea and play, with their kids, and then I arranged for my folks to collect him from their place, and come back to mine and stay overnight.

They like doing that.

One of my friends can sometimes arrange corporate hospitality at football games, and this week was such a time.

Sadly it was also such a time that some numpty had chosen to spill LPG between junctions 15 and 16 of the M1 motorway.

What a very silly thing to do.

It meant our journey south came to an abrupt stop, at around 5.30 pm, no need to worry, the UK motorways are notorious for their stop-start nature, especially around rush-hour.

We had just passed a reduction in lane, and road works indicator, and naturally assumed the two things were linked.

Which, they were not.

The next three-and-a-half hours, yes that’s 210 minutes, were spent attempting to find out information, whilst also finding enough to keep us entertained.

I was pleased to have my new phone, and internet access, I twittered my misery, even getting to grips with twitpic, and got information back via that medium, and some from the Highways Agency site.

My chum also had some interesting stuff on his Ipod, including some old Mark and Lard clips, perfect for a boys’ night out.

We even took a walk down to see all the action, which was just a load of flashing lights and fireman.

More appropriate for a girls’ night out.

But it was on the walk back to my car, that I stopped to think what if I had got Max with me.

I do carry water, de-icer and anti-freeze in the car, but apart from what I grab on the way to our wagon, I do not have an emergency entertainment, or toddler survival kit.

The furthest I have gone is to have a reasonably sized receptacle, just in case my boy decides his bladder is too full to wait until our next planned stop.

We are a little better prepared for longer journeys, and for trips that I know will include a sleep, but we still use the motorway for short trips too.

So, what happens if we were stuck for that long, with nowhere to go to?

OK, he is not a baby, so can eat all sorts of things, things I could have probably scavenged from other drivers.

However it has still stuck in my mind a bit.

I do not think entertaining him would be too difficult, as there is always stuff in the car, or whatever bag I have with me.

We more often than not have a drink with us, and I am always hiding sugary things in my pockets, so I think we could survive.

This is the first time this sort of delay has ever happened to me, one there is no way out of, stuck.

Usually you can just turn around and give up, but this, was sadly, not an option.

I think I might just put back my picnic blanket in the car, I took it out at the end of the summer, initially to wash it, and create room for our wellies and the huge plastic carrier I keep them in.

But it could double up as a blanket for warmth and to preserve having to run the car just for heat.

The Highways Agency have their own ideas.

I am just glad I did not have my boy with me, and hope, just hope, that the law of averages means that it will not be happening again anytime soon. Share/Save/Bookmark


Sandiegogal2000 said...

I just found your blog and love reading it. I have a snack box/lunch box that I keep in my car of items that won't spoil. Juice boxes, healthy snack and apple sauce for the just in case times like you where talking about. I live in southern California and traffic is more than likely to back up than not. I also have a small box of toys and books that my daughter can reach and play with in the car.

Roads said...

Yep, 210 minutes would have been a very long game of I-Spy.

That recalls my (un)favourite clue of all time:

'Something beginning with 'D'
-- Someone who hasn't died yet.'

Laura said...


Heavens did you reach the destination in time?

This happened to a friend of mine a few weeks ago - ok not 3 hours - but I had kids and she had her 3 in the car!! Was not fun!

christina said...

I have an emergency kit in the car trunk, but no emergency food kit. I do, however, always make sure I have at least three books (thin, paperback), and a couple of fruit bars (those cereal-ly multi-grain fruit in the middle, wannabe healtful kid snacks) in my bag just in case the traffic is horrendous. But I am inspired to keep an actual emergency food kit in the car now...three hours is a very long time to be stuck on the road.

T said...

Yep, that happened to us last fall. We were stuck in traffic for nearly 4 hours... me and my two girls. I figured they would handle it OK if I did - just like everything else in life.

I like that you took a potentially very upsetting situation and decided to learn something from it. You used it to prepare for something else.

Just like everything else in life.

Good stuff.

Robert said...

Thanks for that story. It has prompted me to prepare my own emergency kit (toys, books & food), just in case I'm stuck somewhere with my 2 little ones.

Single Parent Dad said...

Sandigogal2000 - Thank you, and I'm glad you found it. I think I may fill a lunch box the same, I have MY old Starwars one somewhere!

Roads - Not good.

Laura - Did we boat. The game was at half-time before we moved again. We just pulled up at a TGIs and watch some game on the TV.

Christina - It is, and I think I will be doing the same.

T - Blimey and thanks.

Robert - No worries. Nice to know I inspired something!

Penelope said...

I have never been organised to plan ahead for potential driving problems. A guy I work wth has a full survival kit in his car at all times, including the means to make hot food!
I'm just grateful if I find a half full, 3 month old water bottle under a seat ;o)

The Dotterel said...

It was a rubbish game anyway. You missed nothing!

Red Lotus Mama said...

Oh lord ... long car trips are not fun for kids (or adults). Thank gawd for the portable DVD player, coolers you can pack with sugarless snacks, coloring books, travel toys and a portable potty! I hope you are never stuck on the road with your boy for that long!

Surprised and Excited Mum said...

Gosh, I think I need a trailer! I drive a mini, and you can imagine once you have the car seat and the pushchair in the back there isn't much room for anything else. One of the back seats is always folded down already.

But you are right, I do have room for a blanket at least.

Thanks for the reminder.

Momo Fali said...

I keep water bottles in the car for peeing, and I use a training potty (lined with kitty litter bags) for emergencies of a smellier nature. I always have a blanket in the car, water in my purse and snacks at the ready...even if we're only driving 20 minutes. And, my kids are six and ten.

Eddie 2-Sox said...

Mark and Lard clips????? You feckin beauty!

Can I pay you to send them on? I will.

M&L being binned off Radio 1 was their biggest cock-up.

MMMMMMMMMM Bay-beeeeeeee

Single Parent Dad said...

Penelope - Hot food? That's a bit too far.

The Dotterel - Too true, but I still think it would have beat a collective 6 hours on the motorway!

Red Lotus Mama - Indeed. As do I, as do I.

Surprised and Excited Mum - My best friend's wife drives a mini, when they stay here it is a struggle to say the least to get all their stuff in

Momofali - Wicked, you car has like totally got its own toilet. Now that is some optinal extra!

Eddie 2 Sox - Musn't grumble. I'll have a word with him, as to where he got the clips from and let you know.

Kevin Spencer said...

Wow, count me in with the survival kit epic fail crowd. I have *nothing* in my car for that. Mind you, I live in the city suburbs so usually don't consider my commute particularly survival kit worthy. Granted if we're going on a drive at the weekend a little further afield, water bottles & snacks would be front and center.

Part Mummy Part Me said...

What a good point, I haven't got anything approaching an emergency kit in my car. Unless a half-eaten, mouldy apple, 2 bags of clothes for Oxfam, wellies and chewing gum count?

The Highways Agency advice you linked to shamed me deeply..

Mama Nabi said...

Um. I have a travel potty. And... a pair of boxing gloves. Blanket. Chocolate. Gummy bears. Nothing to drink (but any liquid would be frozen solid ANYWAY in our frigid temps). Hm. FAIL. Must improve. Thank you, SPD, for the reminder.

I must check out Mark and Lara clips... sound intriguing.

Mama Nabi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A Modern Mother said...

Poor you. How are you doing with all this wonderful snow!

Working mum said...

Funny you posted that. Today was the day of the snow and even though daughter and I only go five junctions on the motorway to school (not far in these parts) I packed some food and a blanket today, just in case!

Single Parent Dad said...

Kevin - Agreed in the smoke, you can always abandon for sustenance elsewhere.

Part Mummy Part Me - The bags of clothes may actually be useful.

Mama Nabi - No worries.

mothership said...

I should really follow the advice of your first commenter and keep a snack box of nonperishable items in my car but I am nervous I would only end up eating it myself when the children aren't there.
I do, however, always have a tin of Altoids extra strong mints in the car. Not very nourishing but at least we'd all have nice fresh breath while we whined and argued.
Must say, the travel potty is quite the best purchase I have ever made. We do keep that in the car at all times - it works with ziploc bags.

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