WE’RE in Scarborough. Having woken up to bright sunshine and double checked the forecast on my phone, I had decided that for once the Missus wasn’t being wildly optimistic when she suggested a trip to the coast.
I must admit that the prospect of astonishing the children by taking them somewhere that wasn’t the local park also appealed.
I wasn’t disappointed. They hadn’t looked so surprised since I swapped their standard issue Weetabix (the lowest salt and sugar cereal on the market, as their mum always reminds me) with Shreddies for those three, madcap days when the Missus had gone to visit her friend in Germany.
We have built sandcastles using the new spade purchased to replace the one I accidentally broke on our previous trip away by closing the car door on it.
We have laughed at daddy’s rather hammy shivering after we dragged him into the sea with us.
We have been relieved to realise that the dodgy smell was actually emanating from the droppings deposited on the beach by the donkeys, and not our children.
But most of all, we have watched the pair of them run around the beach like demented labradors who have been finally allowed off their leads. And it has been a joy to behold.
Now, however, it is stick or twist time. Do we stay here and have fish and chips? Or do we start to wend our way home?
Having had fish and chips the previous weekend, the Missus insists we need to have something healthy at home.
This announcement doesn’t prove particularly popular with my son or daughter, who (much like their dad to be honest) clearly believe that going to the seaside and not having fish and chips is a sin against nature.
Their resentment is intensified by the fact that we haven’t yet paid £15 for a 15-minute trip up and down the bay in a ‘pirate’ ship.
After a great deal of coaxing (and chasing and catching) we finally manage to get them on to the bus for the park and ride site.
Several loo trips and the retrieval of two squashed bananas from the children’s Batman and Peppa Pig backpacks later, we start the drive home.
We are about 20 miles down the A64 when we hit the traffic jam. The road ahead is closed, it turns out, because a lorry has shed its load of mashed potato. Is this divine intervention?
The policeman suggests a detour via Thirsk. It is going to take us ages and we’re going to need to get dinner on the way. As we pass through Helmsley, we stop to investigate the options.
“The fish and chip shop looks decent,” I tell the Missus hopefully.
She sighs. “Would you like fish and chips for tea?” she asks the children.
They’re at the point of exhaustion, but it’s impossible to miss the look of triumph in their eyes.