Mersey Ferries - 2 adults, 6 kids, 1 great day out
A trip up North with four kids is always an experience.
Thankfully, despite being aged between 7 and 13, they are generally very well-behaved kids. That stands true even on a five-hour car journey.
Thankfully, thinking ahead, I’d packed the kids into the car with various bits of technology and they were all glued to iPads, tablets and other bits and pieces for varying parts of the drive.
I even allowed my youngest to spend longer than usual on Youtube, where he is normally restricted to a short period each day. This is normally spent watching Minecraft videos though I noticed he was also looking at what his sisters were watching.
The girls seem to love professional YouTubers, and as such have their favourite accounts. All of this is completely alien to me and despite attempts to follow what they are watching I tune out quickly. This prompted my seven-year-old son to announce his intended career when he grows up.
“When I grow up I want to be a YouTuber,” he announced, before continuing mischievously, “One that farts!”
Through a barely concealed smile, and via the medium of a rear view mirror, I suggested politely that he’d had enough time watching YouTube now, and that he should try something else. I’m still not sure if it’s a valid career path though in this day and age nothing would surprise me.
Visiting Liverpool to see my girlfriend is still a relatively new experience for the kids, and one they look forward to. This past weekend we took the opportunity to take the ferry across the Mersey (which kept that tune in my head all weekend as a result)
As we waited for the ferry to dock, my seven-year-old piped up and asked “Is that the Titanic?”, and his thirteen-year-old sister took the time to explain that it wasn’t, and why it couldn’t possibly be before anyone else could tell him.
The weekend seemed to fly by. Having arrived on Friday evening where dinner was consumed and a game of Smuggler took up the remaining hours before bedtime, we were up early on Saturday. Breakfast for eight people (two adults and six kids) is messy and noisy, and remarkably time-consuming.
Eventually, we were able to get on the road, and by the time we’d taken a trip down the Mersey and walked past Albert Dock, it was time for lunch. Once we’d pretty much destroyed Pizza Hut, we were on our way back (via Costa and an “urgent” stop to buy a replacement iPod cable for the eldest who had a face on after her charger had failed to work.) to the ferry.
In Costa, we sneakily snuck Capri Suns to the kids whilst we bought two coffees. Just as well really, as from entering the shop to getting our drinks took more than fifteen minutes and more than assuaged the guilt I felt by not buying drinks for the kids there.
My seven-year-old squeezed his drink a little too hard, making it shoot out of the straw like a fountain. “Look at me, I’m a squirter!” he said gleefully. I caught my girlfriend’s eye and we both giggled childishly at the sexual connotation he’d uttered in all innocence.
One more stop and a couple of hours later we had completed our day out at Spaceport on the Wirral, before having a race home in the two cars, where local knowledge soundly beat sat nav.
I can’t even begin to describe how tiring the day was, and although the kids had enjoyed it, I think everyone was glad to get indoors. The conclusion to Smuggler was played and my loss in the race home was avenged by victory in the game. A Chinese takeout followed, and an early night was had by all.
A 7 am start beckoned the following morning, and the first sentences of the day from each child varied only slightly from “are we going home today?” to “I don’t want to get up” and “I hardly had any sleep because I had a headache.” I won’t reveal what the girlfriend’s first words were. Suffice to say that she is not a morning person.
Breakfast was consumed and we were in the car by 8 am. The entire time in Liverpool amounted to just 39 hours. Halfway through the long journey home, my son revealed his contemplative side again. “If we could have teleported here, I would have done that.”
This then led to a conversation between my eldest and myself about the possibility of teleportation, with me revealing to her that it had been achieved in a very small-scale and that hopefully the science behind it would be used to make it a possibility in the future.
Unfortunately due to my vague memory of the subject and therefore inability to explain the experiment clearly, my thirteen-year-old remained unconvinced.
We made the first of our stops on the way home at Knutsford, shortly after the youngest turned a funny shade of green and declared that he felt unwell. A walk around seemed to help, as did a travelling tablet, and we were soon on our way again.
Snacks were consumed mid-journey, and my 11-year-old commented about some food or another that “It reminds me of bacon, but without the bacon taste.” which blew my mind for a few seconds before I decided that in a roundabout way it actually made sense.
This reminded me of a conversation we’d had on the way up, where the eldest revealed apropos of nothing “When I have bacon sandwiches, my poo smells like bacon.” When pressed further, it was revealed that it’s only bacon sandwiches and not bacon alone, that does this.
When I told her that this was a gross revelation my 9-year-old daughter reminded me that I had previously told them my wee smells of Sugar Puffs throughout the day when I have Sugar Puffs for breakfast. I guess the Apple never falls far from the tree.
The last couple of hours were spent playing a favourite game of mine that I have played several times with my good friend Tasha.
It’s called Catch Up, and it’s a rare event when two people are driving the same stretch of motorway and both are aware of this. The idea is for one to catch up to the other. Easy enough.
In the past with Tasha we have both been on hands-free and have had long conversations as we have played. Firstly you need to determine where you each are in comparison to the other, and then one needs to slow done and the other speed up.
This time around, Louise Kay revealed that she was heading back from Birmingham. I Whatsapped her from the services (stop number two of the day thanks to middle daughter needing a wee) and realised she was seven miles ahead. The game was on.
“She has a bright yellow car with her Twitter name, @misslouisekay, on the back”, I told the kids.
Making up seven miles on a stretch of motorway takes much longer than you’d imagine, and after a couple of false spottings, there was finally a correct shout of “yellow car!”
We pulled into the same lane and flashed Louise, who acknowledged us.
“As we drive past, make sure you stick your tongues out at her!” I told the kids, pulling into the middle Lane and overtaking. Seconds later a foot appeared in my peripheral vision as thirteen-year-old waved her leg in the air.
“What are you doing?” I asked
“Sticking my toe out, like you said!”
“Tongue. Stick your tongue out!”
“Oh. I thought that was strange.”
By this time we’d gone past Louise who had laughed at a car full of idiots, some of whom were sticking their tongues out, another who had their foot in the air.”
At midday we got home. Tired, but happy, and already planning the next trip.