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A road trip down south to visit the family during the Easter holidays had seemed like such a great idea. My daughters really miss their cousins since we moved back to Harrogate two years ago.

When we lived down south we lived quite close to my brother’s family and saw a lot of each other. Close bonds between cousins were formed in the early years of life as my sister-in-law and I between us had four daughters within four years.

It is the only tiny little pang of regret that I have ever had about re-locating our family back home to Harrogate, and a trip down to see them is a lovely treat.

Unfortunately the reality of a road trip by myself with just two pre-schoolers is never a stress-free experience.

It is funny how times have changed. When I lived away from Harrogate in my twenties I would think nothing of jumping in the car and doing a “quick” four or five hour journey home. Maybe I’d be popping home for a night out with friends, or maybe during my university years just to sample a bit of my mums much missed home cooking.

Even when I had my first daughter, I took it for granted what a good traveller she was. I’d time the trip precisely between feeds and she’d sleep most of the way. As she got a bit older we’d make sure that we travelled at night time.

We’d get her bathed and in her jammies at one end. She’d be loaded in the car and most usually would be fast asleep by the end of the driveway.

Two years and another toddler later, things have changed significantly. I’m not sure if it is the lure of Harrogate which has changed my outlook; since moving back here I seem to rarely leave this lovely town. When once the promise of a night-out in any city would be enough of an excuse for a mini adventure, nowadays even a day out in Leeds feels a bit exotic!

Perhaps it is the reality of doing a long car journey with two kids that has burst the bubble? These days a three hour journey takes at least four and a half hours.

We always seem to forget a mission-critical item, such as a dummy or ‘I-can’t-possibly-sleep-without-it’ toy. This means we inevitably get to the outskirts of town then have to detour back home. I long for the days pre-toilet training as now it seems I have to stop at every single service station on the M1.

Nowadays the children refuse to fall asleep in the car, even if travelling in the dead of night, as they egg each other on and end up over-tired and wired.

I even went to the expense of a portable DVD for the car but it has turned out to be a poisoned chalice. Firstly one of the screens gave up on us so there was a constant battle about who gets to have the remaining one. When I found out I could wedge the working screen between the seats the argument simply switched over to the DVD choice.

Journey from hell aside, my girls were over the moon to be re-united with their cousins and the travelling was well worth it. Just the way home to look forward to now…

WHAT’S ON?

Thursday, April 11 and Friday, April 12

2pm Portmanteau at Harrogate Studio Theatre. Tickets: £8.50 Adult, £7.50 child Ages five to 12-years. You are invited to a special private showing of a spectacular new film…unless the projector breaks down. Be amazed by our usher’s imagination, gasp as our hero disappears into the screen, and laugh as moustaches, hats and disguises fly everywhere to tell a story of hero’s, heroines and baddies. All told entirely through Compagnie Animotion’s innovative mix of mime, movement and sign language, making it accessible for everyone.

Saturday, April 13

10.30am and 2pm The War of the Buttons at Harrogate Studio Theatre. Tickets: £8.50 adult, £7.50 child, family of four £30. Ages three -11-years. Running time 50 minutes (no interval) Suitable for all - contains sign language.
Welcome to a tale of squabbles, scuffles…and buttons! This is a world where you are invited to eat birthday cake, take sides and where a button can be a kiss, a wish, a present, or a trophy of war! Told through an energetic mix of music, puppetry, clowning, movement and sign language, The War of the Buttons distinctive non-verbal vocabulary creates a show accessible to deaf, hearing and international audiences.

Sunday, April 14

2.30-4pm (2.15pm for NCT members). NCT Nearly New Sale at Rossett Sports Centre. Come and dress your children, outfit your nursery, buy what you need for your growing family for bargain prices! £1 entry (This is the re-scheduled date following on from the previous sale on 23rd March which was cancelled due to bad weather)

Tuesday, April 16

9.30-11.15am Singamajigs at Kidzplay Harrogate HG2 8DS and 2pm at Killinghall Village Hall, Killinghall. Singamajigs is a fresh concept in children’s music. Help your child to learn, sing and jig, with exciting new songs and many familiar favourites too. Through the educational programme they hope to inspire young children and families to create a love for music. Classes for children up to age five. Baby Jigs 0-one-year old , Singamajigs one-three-years and Jiggy Jigs ages three-five-years. Classes take place in various locations in Harrogate, Boroughbridge, Masham and York. Please contact Karen Allen on 01423 552918 or email info@singamajigs.co.uk for further information or visit the website www.singamajigs.co.uk for further details.