Amazingly, it is possible to have a successful family day out.
A day out that doesn’t involve incessant moaning, getting hopelessly lost to the sound of an apocalyptic screaming match or sprinting back to the car as the rain hammers down like stair rods. Last Sunday I offered to take the family to Jodrell Bank in Cheshire, home of the giant Lovell Telescope, where New Order – yep, that New Order – were playing a special one-off show.
The weather forecast said the sunshine would be cracking the flags all day, one of the most iconic bands in the history of British music would be rattling through their back catalogue and me and the boss could relive our dim and distant youth listening to songs we grew up with.
But hang on, what’s this? Some murmurings from the cheap seats? What’s that? Don’t try and press gang us into your idea of a good time? Just because you like standing in a field watching bands doesn’t mean that we do? We’re not going? So there?
Oh, I thought that’s what you said. After I was sent packing with my tail between my legs the boss came up with a Plan B – not the singer.
Now for a while I’ve thought that this country is tolerable unless to want to do anything or go anywhere. The roads are logjammed, the trains are expensive unless you book years in advance and bus tickets cost roughly the same as a taxi ride. So we did what we always do when the sun shines. Put the kids’ bikes on the back of the car, filled a bag with a picnic and drove to the beach at Heysham.
Now I’m no flag waving, drum beating, Sand Grown ’Un but if there’s a more idyllic spot on earth than that stretch of sand on a sunny day then I’ve yet to see it.
So we ate our picnic and ligged around in the sunshine for hours to the sound of toddlers running their mums and dads ragged. Ha! I’ve pushed my last pram, we’ve done our bit, now it’s your turn.
Then the kids rode their bikes down to the Midland Hotel in Morecambe, slurped some funny looking blue goo in a cup, we bought a throwaway barbecue and just before the burgers, bangers and chicken was ready Andy Murray won Wimbledon. As days out go, we’ve had worse.