On a sunny August morning when powder blue skies stretched out as far as the eyes could see, the Stanley family were commencing their annual summer vacation. Bags were packed and crammed into the boot of their car including a large beach ball.
Mum Stanley and dad Stanley were tired from a year of toiling at their low paid jobs. Dad Stanley worked as a hospital porter and mum Stanley worked as a cleaner at the local school. Kids, Toby, Lily and the family dog Bruno, were seated in the back raring to go.
Fair to say everyone was looking forward to a week by the sea. All were super excited. Except maybe dad Stanley. He was short fused by nature, a burley man who perhaps worked too hard for his money. Truth be told, the family budget couldn’t really afford this break away, but he wanted to give his kids some happy memories. You see, dad Stanley’s childhood wasn’t too happy and his family couldn’t afford a getaway – ever!
So it was on this hot day in August that the family saloon rattled along the busy streets of London, leaving behind all manner of hustle and bustle for a week of sea air, fresher food and lots of ice cream.
Mum Stanley turned out in her best jeans and cotton top, now gave her kids clear instructions.
‘Toby and Lily, when we are in the car, whatever you do, don’t bother dad too much. You know what he’s like. So best behaviour please.’
‘Yes mum,’ Toby and Lily replied in unison.
‘And whatever you do, don’t say those four words,’ she added, ‘you know how much it annoys your dad. Got it kids? We don’t want him to cancel the trip or anything.’
‘Yes mum,’ the Stanley children replied again obediently.
Even Bruno the dog, ears pricked was listening attentively, as his grey tail wagged from side to side.
‘Anyone need to stop for a toilet break?’ dad hollowed to all and sundry after a couple of hours on the motorway. ‘There are some service stations coming up soon at the next junction.’
‘Yes please dad,’ Lily Stanley said in a small voice.’
‘Ok, there in five minutes, but don’t take too long, we don’t want be late.’
Ten minutes later, the family saloon pulled away from the stop and was back on its way to the seaside. The car had seen better days, but it was all they could afford for the moment.
By now, after several hours of driving everyone was beginning to get restless. They were so looking forward to being there now and eating their first ice cream.
So when a tyre blew out, it was to everyone’s annoyance. Their groaning was very load and resounded around the vehicle. Luckily they were able to stop so dad Stanley could replace the tyre without too much trouble. But it added to the journey time.
Toby and Lily looked on as their dad lumbered back to the car, their faces full of crumbs from the crisps and sweets and sandwiches they were eating. Mum Stanley hadn’t done much eating or drinking and was in fact nodding off in the passenger seat.
It was hard work cleaning schools and the journey seemed to be taking forever!
Then, when the Stanleys were approaching their destination, there was a diversion along the motorway taking them away from the most direct route. It added another hour to the trip.
‘Blast,’ dad Stanley muttered, ‘I don’t need this.’
The kids and Bruno looked on perturbed, silence befalling the car. They could almost smell the sea air. Just then, Mary Stanley’s eyes opened with a look of disorientation on her frazzled face. She turned in her seat and looked at her husband and said:
‘Are we there yet?’
The Stanley children gasped and gulped their eyes like saucers. They looked from one parent to the next, horrified.
‘Oh no mum, you said it!’ Their voices were scared.
Dad Stanley, gripped the steering wheel, his eyes bulging angrily.
Mary Stanley shrunk back in her seat, as the car came to a shreeching halt. Amos Stanley looked like he was about ready to explode as he turned menacingly to his wife.
They were moments from the seaside…
Thanks for stopping by!
Happy holiday season!
Until next time, Sharon.