I booked the 7.30am boat home. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I only slept for an hour or two and felt shocking. Thankfully yesterday's raging gale force winds had died down and it was just blustery and wet. When we got on the boat I tried to get my head down for a minute or two - but couldn't relax because the kids can't sit still, EVER. They were up and down like yoyo's, then the boys started asking for money for the games machines. This happens every time. It doesn't matter how many times I say no, they keep on asking. It's a kind of child chinese torture. I'm sure they think one day I'll beg for mercy and hand over my purse.... The constant nagging wears you down, but one thing I have learnt is it's so important to stick to your guns - especially when you're on your own.
The stretch of road from the boat to Carlisle is horrendous - it seems impossible to avoid getting stuck in a slow snake of traffic. The dual carriageway signs give a moment of hope - but any optimism fades pretty fast because they're only a mile or two long - and EVERYONE speeds up on these bits only to slow down again. It doesn't matter how you think you've done, it always takes two hours.
The motorway was also grim. It was busy and rain and strong winds meant driving conditions were awful. At one stage everything looked grey and there was so much spray on the road - I had such a tight grip on the wheel I got pins and needles in my hands! Scary.
I felt like bursting into floods of happy, grateful tears when we got home at almost seven - it was like finishing a marathon. I imagine. The very first thing the kids wanted to do was open presents. I had left a few here so they had something to look forward to when we got back - and to give me some leverage. It makes such a difference having a carrot to dangle. I told them they could open them if they helped me empty the car. Ten minutes later everything was done! - you can't beat a bit of bribery....