We took the advantage of having a different half term to the rest of the country and went on a 2 night stay to the New Forest this week.
We weren't sure we would actually get there as we went self catering so had to load 6 people, a double stroller, luggage and food into a 7 seater car. Eldest daughter happily resigned herself to the seat in the back row and boy in the middle had the seat fitting to his name - the middle seat in the middle row. Dear husband was convinced that everything would fit in to the car and to give him credit everything did fit in. However when we opened the door next to Baby A, a blanket and bottle of milk fell out, when we opened the door next to Baby E, boy in the middle's trunky tried to escape and when the passenger door was opened a bag of snacks and some tin foil trays fell into the gutter. We didn't dare open the boot!
Going away in this country means spending a considerable amount of time in the car which is always fun. There is that fabulous initial period of time when the babies sleep, and the eldest two can entertain themselves with a book/computer game. Five minutes into our journey eldest daughter piped up from the back and asked "Are we nearly there yet?" An hour into the journey we had to delve into the snack bag and found ourselves telling the children that they couldn't have the tuna sandwich they wanted as it would make too much mess so we handed them chocolate instead.
We managed to avoid any major fights on the first day but this was the kids gearing up for the following day. Setting off to explore an owl and otter centre approximately 8 miles from the hotel, we were entirely reliant on our friends who were with us as they had all the directions on their iPhone. We set off for the short journey and boy in the middle decided he would entertain us all with a song. He doesn't really do singing though, most people would describe it as shouting. So he was sitting in the middle of the car shouting, I was trying to keep up with the silver toyota in front, Baby A and Baby E having had their morning sleep were munching away on crackers and eldest daughter in the back clearly felt left out and wasn't enjoying the shouting so she decided to whack her brother on the head to make him stop.
This then provoked a solid 5 minutes of screaming and crying from boy in the middle. Meanwhile I was trying hard to follow our friends who were now 4 cars in front of us. Needless to say we had to stop the car to check boy in the middle's head and to stop him from sobbing. We lost our friends but figured we would catch up with them. However all the roads in the new forest seem very similar. They are all flat with fields on either side and lots of wild horses meandering about. I then spotted a silver car that had turned onto another road and wondered if it was them. With no reception we couldn't contact them so I took the decision to follow the silver car. Obviously it wasn't them and the short 8 mile journey turned into a 45 minute disaster. I made 3 u-turns, asked 4 people for directions, almost drove the wrong way down a one way road, had to stop once to let a horse slowly cross the road, had to stop again to find pasta for Baby A and Baby E and then by some miracle we stumbled across the owl and otter centre in time for lunch.
Blaming the older two kids entirely for this unnecessarily long journey I had a plan for the way home - the new version of 400 green bottles hanging on the wall - that should keep us going!