The Title page was done with a thick felt tip pen because it was what I had. The album is beginning to show signs of age now, because it has been well used over the years. Now, let's get down to the start of the trip.
Oh, one more thing and then I will copy the journal entry. We didn't tell the children where we were going. We told them it was a top secret trip and national security meant they were not allowed to know until we had been travelling for two hours.We did, however, give the trip a code name (Mr Bluefunnel was an officer with the Army cadets) and we called it Operation Bournemouth - would they guess?
Oh and I will refer to shutups in the first journal entry. these are the junk food items that every parent carries in a car for that moment when you cannot take any more whinging and moaning and fighting and you say "For goodness sake have this and SHUT UP!" and you give them the toffee or the bag of crisps or whatever your favourite shutup is at that moment.
For this trip I gathered together an icecream container of stuff for each child. Exactly the same for each child, no matter what they might try to tell you. Right, let's get that journal open
Operation Bournmouth: Departure date July 6th 1979.
Departed Rhiwlas 19.30hrs. Stopped on Raglan bypass (four miles into the journey) for Wilmott to adjust his knickers. Repeated questioning from rear compartment (the boys) as to destination. Slight muttering from rear compartment over not being allowed to open shutups until one hour travelling time had passed.
A Quiz caused more trouble, then everyone had to guess where we were going. The first vehicle seen on the M5 north was a van on hire from Bournemouth. Radar insisted that we were really going to Bournemouth. DID NOT SULK.
Fairly uneventful journey to Birmingham where Wilmott adjusted his knickers. All asleep when we passed Stoke -on-Trent exit. Hilton Park the first Loo stop. Selwyn poured herself a drink of orange squash then tried to wash her jeans with it. this not being very successful she leapt out of the car and dried them with her pillowcase. Then she dried the seat as well. Result one soggy brown and blue stained rag. The look on her face made it worthwhile when Tattoo told her she had to sleep on that for the next three weeks.
The two gents in the rear compartment had insisted that they couldn't possibly sleep in that tiny space and then kept Wilmott and Tattoo awake with their snoring. The loo stop took longer than planned because them in the back had stripped off and climbed into their sleeping bags.
Waved to Carlisle at 2.30am Tattoo feeling very proud of herself for guessing correctly. When we passed the border Radar was the only one asleep.
Selwyn saw a house on wheels. "Look there's a whole street still awake there, oh it's moving! Look!"
We looked and saw a train.
|Waiting for the AA man|
At 8.20am AA man arrived and spent 40 minutes under the bonnet agreeing with Wilmott. Then we followed him to Pitlochrie.
General concensus of opinion was that he must be their first-aid-on-people man because he "Don't know nowt about cars!"
Garage man not helpful. Didn't know when he could do anything or how long it might take so we decided to push on to Inverness where there was a Ford depot.
Note from observant Tattoo: "It's all uphill in Scotland."
Reached Inverness safely and found the Ford dealership who said they could fix the car on Monday.
Note from Technical Wilmott: The probable cause of the trouble is the compression on no. two cylinder has decreased to 50% due to either an orifice in the cylinder head or a mulfunctioning valve.
Found a campsite at Bunchrew, nice site, clean loos and showers. Situated on the banks of the river Ness. Not much in the shop in the way of food. Sausages, fish, tinned meat.
Loads of hot water for 2p in the basins.
Had sausage, egg and chips for our first meak then Tattoo lay down for a while. Woke up sometime during the night. It was dark and everyone had gone to bed. Went back to sleep.
It was reported that Hotlips, Radar and Selwyn saw a swan. Tattoo refused to confirm this as she was unconcious at the time. This is marked as an unconfirmed sighting in the log book.