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S03, Episode 5: Road Trip (pt1)
That blood-curdling yell was Daisy.
‘LOSSSSSTTTTSSSSS DOLLLYYYYYYYY!’ Violent sobbing ensues.
‘Maybe best I pull over,’ suggests Ross with remarkable calm. A foghorn level of screaming in his ear whilst travelling a modest speed on the highway isn’t perhaps the safety feature he anticipated.
Here we are in a car packed to bulging. A mini-hatchback straining at its Japanese paintwork, a vehicle more suited to town shopping than a 600-mile round holiday trip. Thankfully the children are whisps of tinyness and I need no legroom at my majestic 5-foot-nothing.
‘Dolly’ sniffs Daisy.
Ross and I exchange glances, a good 60 miles from home we don’t have the time, petrol or inclination to return to gather the lost dolly.
‘Darling, are you sure she’s not in the car?’
‘Perhaps she’s tucked up at home waiting for you, keeping the house nice and safe.’ I feel smug and slightly cunning. Daisy wipes her tears with a gleam of hope in her eyes.
‘Nah, last I saw her she was lying in the car park.’ states Lily.
‘Well, why didn’t you pick her up!?’
‘You always tell me not to touch Daisy’s dolly!’
‘Well that was because you tried to decapitate it…but really! Lily!’
As if this trip isn’t nerve-wracking enough. We are off to see ‘the clan’. Ross’s extended family meet every few years for a bit of a holiday and get-together. It’s my first time and therefore major introduction. Bag of gut-wrenching terror anyone?
My previous experience of family clans has typically consisted of infighting and power struggles worthy of Mafiosi. Often with bonafide death threats chucked in for good measure - my ex-mother-in-law once held me against a wall at knifepoint. Whilst I understood that was abnormal; I was apprehensive. I did take solace from the fact that Ross’s parents and brother were delightful. Hopefully, there would only be the usual tribal simmering resentments and not all-out death.
‘Look sweetheart, why don’t we go to the next town and get some lunch and maybe find a toy shop?’ Ross suggests.
The next hour and a half is spent alternating between Daisy’s emotions: from
‘Oh looky mama, I like dis toy.’ to ‘I want myyyy DOLLYY!’
I long for wine and a lie-down.
Eventually, we return to the car with armfuls of comics, sugary treats and frazzled patience.
The next hundred and fifty miles go something like this:
‘Mama it’s stucky’ Daisy points to a comic with some plastic delight attached to the cover. I don’t know what industrial-strength glue they use to stick on these lightweight toys but it feels a little overkill.
Lily grabs the comic and brutally rips the toy off taking most of the cover with it. ‘There’ she triumphantly hands the mauled comic back to Daisy who promptly screams. Daisy likes things pristine and unmauled. Lily doesn’t give a rat’s arse, especially when it doesn’t belong to her.
I try to soothe the situation down only to have Daisy throw her shoe at Lily. Death threats abound. Oh. My. Life. I love my hell beasts, I really do, but not when they are killing each other while travelling in a car smaller than a Kinder Surprise egg.
We regain some calm by turning on the stereo and playing AC/DC’s Back in Black at full volume. Daisy’s favourite tune.
We passed through lovely villages and the English countryside where I revelled in the sudden peace. Only to have it destroyed by Lily stealing her sister’s chocolate. And then taunting her about losing ‘Dolly’ as the cocaine effect of the sugar struck. I didn’t think anything could drown out AC/DC but apparently, I was wrong. Daisy let rip the loudest wail that likely registered on the Richter scale.
Even Ross lost his cool at this level of chaos. We had finally arrived at our destination, ready to meet the extended family but this wasn’t the aura of calm, family order I wanted to project. We both turned to give the girls the biggest telling-off when the normally non-violent Daisy twisted in her seat and gave Lily an enormous thump on her head. Lily burst into tears, mainly at the shock of her normally passive sister giving her a dose of her own medicine.
I was about to explode when suddenly there was a laughing coo-ing happy sound.
‘OOoo hello, Dolly…where have you been?’
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