In the summer before leaving for University, Ivy passed her driving test. For two years after this she had no car and hence no driving practice. I was worried that when she did get herself a car at the beginning of this summer, she would have forgotten how to drive.
It wasn't as bad as that. She was a bit rusty but she soon remembered the old mirror, signal, manoeuvre routine and everything that went with it. However, her experience of driving on motorways was very limited and something I wanted her to have some practice with before I send her back off to University later in the year. We decided to have a Road Trip.
Ivy and I both loved the idea of a Road Trip but neither of us were able to come up with anything very imaginative to base it on. In the end we settled for shopping and lunch in either Manchester or Birmingham. Both fulfilled the only criteria we had set which was to use Motorways but for student Ivy already living off her overdraft and for me, a self-confessed terrible shopper, neither had huge appeal.
Taylor has been out of sorts of late. After some gentle probing it turned out she has been worrying about her lack of direction when it comes to choosing which Universities and which courses she should apply for. Many of her friends (including her boyfriend) have very clear ideas about what they want for their futures and she was fairly clueless. She is incredibly bright (predicted As at A level) and leans towards mathematics as an academic preference. She had gone as far as to order a number of prospectuses from possible Universities but it transpired that said prospectuses have been sat untouched on her bookshelf taunting her for her failure to get stuck into them.
It seemed that there was a possible solution to the lack of direction for Ivy's Road Trip and Taylor's University dilemma. A good old fashioned killing of two birds with one stone. We invited Taylor to join us and set the sat nav to Warwick - home to a prestigious campus University with an interesting selection of flexible maths courses on offer. The route required the use of four different motorways.
My husband had filled the car up with fuel and provided us with sweets and water for the journey. We were ready for anything.
The journey to Warwick was uneventful. Ivy coped beautifully with the motorway driving. We had a good look round the University campus and Taylor began to feel the first stirrings of "I could study here".
We stopped for lunch at a little cafe. There was not a lot for vegetarians but a jacket spud and cheese with a cup of coffee was all we really needed. We were served by a most beautiful boy. He was tall and slender and had spiked his flame red dyed hair vertically upwards giving him the air of an exotic bird. He moved with the fluid grace and body awareness of a well trained dancer. I was quite fascinated by him (much to Taylor and Ivy's embarrassment). When I remarked about the size of our jacket spuds, his face lit up with a glorious smile as he agreed with a flamboyant flourish that they were indeed enormous! I thoroughly enjoyed that jacket spud!
After a little bit of shopping, we decided to head for home. This was where it all went wrong.
A journey that should have taken no more than an hour and a half, took four and a half hours. The traffic on the M6 was horrific. When we saw a sign saying that the M6 was actually closed ahead we made the decision to exit and use the A roads. We had a minor battle to stop the sat nav trying to direct us back to the motorway, but then the route home was fairly straightforward. Unfortunately it was also very busy. Poor Ivy certainly had plenty of driving challenges thrown at her and she coped with them all. I was grateful for the sweets and water and did get to listen to lots of music by bands that will be appearing at the V Festival I am going to later this month, so I will be able to sing along.
It may have been a horrible journey home but on a positive note, when we wave Ivy goodbye as she heads back to Uni with her life packed in her Peugeot, I can be confident that a capable and competent driver is behind the wheel.