This week it has been the half term holiday and we decided to go back up to Extremadura for a few days of well earned fun and relaxation.
Our fun and relaxation started on Tuesday with the joyous 6 hour drive to get there. Much of this was spent either listening to Henry whine, “I want to get out! I want to get out!” alternated with “Where’s our picnic? Where’s our picnic?” at varying volumes depending on his level of desperation (and judging by the usual volume he was mostly very desperate indeed). Or it was spent trying to reach uncomfortably backwards to reattach his headphones to his ears which had either slipped off (resulting in much wailing on his part) or had been thrown off in a fit of temper (resulting in much wailing on his part) which caused him to miss some of the film that he and his brother were watching (resulting in much wailing on his part).
Once we arrived at our destination the fun and relaxation continued. Our days were spent going out and about exploring castles, visiting lakes and admiring various other (previously) peaceful areas of natural beauty. As we drove through various small towns the local folk were treated to brief snippets of Henry as his wails of “I want to get ouuuuut! I want to get ouuuuut!” and “Where’s our piiiiicniiiic? Where’s our piiiiicniiiic?” reached their unsuspecting ears as they wafted out through the open car windows as we passed by.
Our fun and relaxation was set to continue when we went out for dinner. Every evening, from the moment we arrived at the restaurant Henry entertained our unprepared, fellow diners with repeated cries of “Can I play Angry Birds? Can I play Angry Birds?” until his dinner arrived, at which point this changed to “I want bolognese! I want bolognese!” (bolognese is what he calls mayonnaise) and “Can I have tomato sauce? Can I have tomato sauce?” until such time as he had finished eating at which point he resumed his cries of “Can I play Angry Birds? Can I play Angry Birds?”
But of course, no holiday can be non-stop fun and relaxation! Come night time and we were all exhausted and ready for sleep. So every night we squashed up cosily together in the double bed where I endured conditions which can most accurately be likened to trying to sleep in a tumble dryer full of unattached, small arms and legs on a vigorous spin setting. It was very hot as we had been expecting it to be quite cold at night time (it wasn’t) and we were in our winter pyjamas under a thick duvet because we had assumed the extra warmth would be most welcome (it wasn’t). I was routinely battered by randomly flailing arms and legs from both sides as the boys continuously tossed and turned and then at times I found myself with one or other of the boys cuddled up to my back, gripping on tightly, which at the time I remember thinking felt rather like wearing a backpack of fire while in a sauna or somewhere equally hot.
Eventually Saturday rolled around and it was time to head for home. The journey was surprisingly uneventful. The portable DVD player that had been a free gift with our new car years ago was proving to be a marvellously effective distraction from the boredom of the long drive. We did have a slight wobble in the short interval between ‘The Incredibles’ finishing and us reaching our ‘half way to home’ picnic site but fortunately the wobble steadied itself and came to nothing.
So now we are home. The boys are tucked up in their own beds and I can sleep easy in the knowledge that tonight I won’t have to endure The Backpack Of Fire, nor will I be subjected to the random, slapping discomfort that is The Tumble Dryer Of Limbs. But secretly I will miss it. I will even miss the wailing and the whining. Well, a little bit anyway. Let’s not be too hasty. I always find that the wailing and whining endured on a very long car journey is a little bit like the pain one goes through when giving birth, in that when you’re in the midst of it, it’s like a living hell that you can’t even picture ever coming to an end, but once it’s all over and done with you look back on the whole experience, safe in the comfort of knowing that it’s all over and you think, “Well now that wasn’t so bad. I could probably go through that again.”
And I will.
Probably many times.