Storytime – Family holidays with the car

Hello fellow budget hunters

Today is yet another storytime – this one is also a mixture of stories from my childhood. If you’ve ever read the book The tent, the bucket and me, by Emma Kennedy, my family holidays are very similar to hers in many ways. For any of you who know me, you will understand what I mean when I say my parents are loud and somewhat crazy! (Sorry Mum)

My Dad is also quite fond of a DIY project, much to my mothers disgust – we’ve had bbq’s propped up on tool benches, a big hole around my Mum’s car radio and an insistence by my Dad that he could save us money by doing things himself. One December we had no heating for 3 weeks while he fixed it himself!

So you can only imagine some of the car related instances we had on our family holidays, in order to set the scene I should let you know that my parents are very fond of France. We could take our car on a ferry to Cherbourg and drive to somewhere in west France, normally a gite with a swimming pool. (And no civilisation around for miles or wifi) However I will tell those stories later – this is only about the car based adventures, or this will become a novel.


One year, before we took up staying in Gites, my parents still took us to static caravan parks in France which as a child were great. There was lots of swimming pools and slides, we had play areas, the fun of taking yourself to the shower block (despite having 2 showers in the Caravan) and most importantly there were the kids clubs.

However this holiday, dad had decided we were going to take our bikes with us. This was when I was still wobbly on a bike but not a the levels of hatred I currently have for bikes! He had bought a lovely new bike frame that held 3 bikes (My mum had sensibly opted out) and was attaching it to his giant metal car. We were leaving early in the morning, maybe 2am so we would be there for the 8am ferry – my mum liked us to be at least 2 hours earlier than the check in time of 2 hours…

We were driving through the roads in the west country, my sister and I were fast asleep when a big bump woke us up. My Dad stopped and went to inspect what he thought was a large stone hitting the car. It turns out we had gone over a rather large pothole and his new bike rack and slipped off the top of the boot and dented the back. As this car was fairly new, my dad was understandably quite cross and set about fixing it with straps, string and a pair of IKEA scissors. This holiday was quite literally getting off to a bumpy start. After 20 minutes of everyone else laughing quietly in the front of the car, we headed off towards to coast and a long ferry ride.

The car related issues on this holiday did not stop there, somehow on the first section of the drive in France we had managed to break the air conditioning. To this day we still don’t know how it broke, but I do know we had some very hot car journeys on the following 3 or 4 holidays.

The following year had passed by and we were getting excited for our holiday. Mum was making everyone help pack the ridiculous amount of clothes into the car (I had a bad reputation then for over packing – now look)  We had all taken boxes into the car of everything we’d ever need, including 2 cool boxes full of food and drinks – we were taking food to France! Then once it was packed, we all went into the house to sleep until the 3am wake up call for the drive down to the ferry in Portsmouth. When locking the car, nobody had checked that the doors were actually shut – it turns out one of the side doors was open and had kept the lights in the car running all night.

So when we came to leave the car wouldn’t start, the battery was dead and it didn’t have enough power to start it. My mum, who as mentioned, likes to be at the ferry hours ahead was getting stressed while my Dad was swearing and attaching the battery to charge. All I can imagine is anyone who saw us in the street at 3am, using hushed raised voices, swearing about batteries and my sister starting to get upset about not going on holiday. About 30 minutes after we told him we were leaving, the car started and my mum was reassured that it would start when we next stopped. Thankfully we did and the year the car wouldn’t start as well as the year I missed the family holiday, where the car alarm got stuck on will be recounted soon.

I think this enough of my crazy family stories for this time but I will make this a series if it’s popular!

Hope you enjoyed!

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