I’m from beautiful Cornwall, and with my lovely family still residing there (well, my sister’s controversially moved across to the dark side AKA Devon), I journey back frequently.
At least once a month, I take the exhilarating car journey down the M5, either to my dad’s, in Chilsworthy, on the Cornish side of the River Tamar or my mum’s, in Camelford, north Cornwall. The journey can take anything between two and three hours. Due to the weather, traffic and general uselessness of some motorway drivers, it’s pretty unpredictable.
But some things aren’t. Here are 8 things which happen on every car journey down to Cornwall, from Bristol, with Harley.
1- Disney karaoke
Obviously, inevitably and predictably, I have a three-disc Disney album in my car. Until I pimp up my Citroën (she’s called Éponine) with a sound system, I’m happy to make do with my car’s CD player. My last car (a loyal Ford KA called Satine) only had a tape player and a more-than-dodgy radio, so this is really an exciting upgrade.
Anyway, back to Disney. Every journey back to Cornwall, without fail, involves powerful Disney music and *world-class* karaoke. If you’re connected with Harley on social media, you may have seen a clip or two. He tends to film me sneakily when I am fully engrossed in the hardcore notes of Pocahontas’ Colours of the Wind or Frozen’s Let It Go. Don’t be fooled! When the camera’s off, he’s more than involved in A Whole New World duets. (He always ends up singing Jasmine’s part instead of Aladdin’s though, the weirdo).
2- Glaring at middle-lane hoggers
The worst kind of people are middle-lane hoggers. They’re the same people who take up two parking spaces on a busy, one-way Bristol road. The same people who stop walking abruptly on busy pedestrian streets, nearly causing a human collision. They’re the kind of people who don’t give you a heads-up that the toilet you’re about to use is out of loo paper.
Middle-lane hoggers rile up a hatred in me more than anything else. If you’re one of these annoyances, have a read of this REALLY SIMPLE guide to motorway driving.
3- Hunting down McDonald’s
You’d think we know by now, but somehow, mine and Harley’s journeys down south always end in frantic hunts for services – which must be home to a McDonald’s. There’s nothing more disappointing than reaching the services your heart’s been racing for, to discover it’s merely made up of a Greggs and a Costa. Devastation.
When you’ve dealt with middle-lane hoggers for an hour, a McDonald’s brekkie is a must.
4- Car tourette’s
I wouldn’t say I have road rage. I can be a calm driver – I am a little anxious sometimes, especially driving in busy, central Bristol, but I give way accordingly, signal fellow drivers to pull out when they’re seemingly stuck at a junction, and am generally quite forgiving on the road.
But at least once on every journey down to Cornwall, my awful condition of car tourette’s emerges. I rarely swear out of the car. Buckled up, behind the wheel, I become foul-mouthed. I’m the scary green Hulk of profanities. If you overtake without signalling, a few naughty words will be omitted at a significant volume.
Tip: If you also suffer from car tourette’s, watch The Good Place series on Netflix and try and do they as do – replacing swear words with similar, but non-offensive phrases.
5- Aussie sat-nav direction
This is pretty simple. I’ve set my sat-nav to direct me in an Australian accent. It brings such joy to mine and Harley’s journeys when we desire to know the ETA or a road closure looms ahead.
6- Disney/Harry Potter trivia
When non-hungover or woken after 10am, Harley’s a pretty good passenger. When the novelty of music wears off, he’s great at firing Disney and Harry Potter questions at me to pass the time. This comes in particularly handy in M5 traffic (which is depressingly frequent). There’s a seemingly endless list of quizzes available online for these moments of boredom.
7- Enter Shikari
Enter Shikari always make an appearance during mine and Harley’s car journeys down to Cornwall. Despite being a Disney-lovin’, Little Mix-jivin’ Lady Gaga-adorin’ music fan, I really like their music. From our very first date, Harley blasted out Enter Shikari from his car sound system, and I don’t see this changing, ever. He’s an uber fan, and he’s definitely converted me into a fan too.
Tip: Some Enter Shikari songs really help eliminate car tourettes. SING THROUGH THE ANGER!
8- Cat withdrawal
One night, two nights or three – it doesn’t matter how long we’ve planned to stay in Cornwall for, the cat withdrawals kick in pretty fast on these car journeys. Me and Harley adore our two beautiful cats Lines and Aurora and we feel insanely guilty leaving them behind, even when we know a friend or family member’s going to spoilt them rotten while we’re away.
At least once on the journey there, one of us will audibly ponder, “I wonder what the cats are doing right now…”. Which leads to lengthy discussions on their eating, sleeping and being-naughty habits and our predictions.
For more on these cuties, catch up on my blog: “10 things I learnt from my cats in 2017.”