Travelling with kids can be challenging, and travelling with kids when it’s raining is even more so. Travelling to an unknown city when it’s pissing down and you get lost en route to the car rental yard is a bitch.
We were heading to Nottingham to pick up a car and drive to Stanton Lees, a village just outsidede Matlock Bath and about 10 minutes from Ripley, the setting for the weekend’s main event, Indietracks. A portent of doom was the weather report that morning which was forecasting heavy rain-right in the area to which we were going.
Getting to King’s Cross was a breeze, and we headed to St Pancras to catch our train. It was due to depart at 10.30 and we arrived with about 20 minutes to spare. At 10.25 the departure board finally announced the platform from which the train would depart. It was a mad scramble to get on with our luggage, the kids and Mr BG’s guitar, locate our reserved seats, kick out the people who were sitting in our seats, and stow away our luggage, along with the 150 or so people who were doing the same thing.
The trip to Nottingham was pleasant, with a little toddler taking a shine to the kids. Despite it being a crowded train, it was new, the seats were spacious, and it only took us about 2 hours.
And then we arrived in Nottingham. It was raining steadily, as it had been all day. I knew where we had to go, but I did not have a printed map. Asking directions from a policeman somewhat confused the matter. We head out in the rain, trying and failing to avoid the numerous puddles,and feeling our jeams get wetter by the minute. A particular low point was getting splashed by a passing car, my jeans thoroughly soaked from the knees down and hearing laughter from behind me. Mr BG insisted he was simply laughing at the inanity of the situation, but I didn’t see him with his jeans soaked.
Honestly I really felt like grabbing his bloody guitar, flinging it into the path of a passing car and going back to London to a nice hotel where they did my laundry for me, where I didn’t have to make my own breakfast, or anyone else’s breakfast for that matter, and where I didn’t have to schlep about in this f#£%ing rain looking for Europcar.
We took shelter and Mr BG went to get correct directions AND a map. I was quiet, and when he plucked up the courage to talk to me, I unleashed hell. I don’t remember much in my white fury, but I think the whole driving malarkey in highly inaccessible places on tiny roads was mentioned. Nottingham looked considerably bigger than what Google maps had displayed, and I did not relish driving in an unfamiliar city in bad weather.
We resumed looking for Europcar and finally located it, about an hour after we had left the station (Nottingham, if you want people to like you, could you please put road signs which say the street name?)After the usual palaver of form filling, trying to fit everything in the car, with the guitar nestled at the kids’ feet as it wouldn’t fit in the boot with the rest of our bags,we were off.
The directions from Europcar to get to our nearest town turned out to be useless, and it was from memorising the road numbers that we finally managed to get out of Nottingham. Once out, it was a good run to Matlock, and finding the village of Station Lees from the extensive directions given by the house owners was easy peasy lemon squeezy as Miss BG would say.
So now I am in Derbyshire, sitting in front of a fire. Since we have arrived, the sun has come out briefly, the clouds have started clearing and fingers crossed, it will be a nice day tomorrow. We will be going for a walk to see some standing stones (for which we DO have extensive directions printed out), and going to Indietracks, where Mr BG will play.
At least it won’t involve me driving toNottingham.