Anyone who’s lost their temper on the school run or been the target of sustained harmonica playing or crisp munching from the child seats while trying to navigate the North Yorks Moors in driving rain and mist should thank their lucky stars they didn’t share Ben Hatch’s odyssey.
Ben, his wife Dinah and two young children agreed to complete a travel guide that meant they’d be cooped up together for 8,000 miles in their Vauxhall Astra while ticking off tourist attractions and leisure activities often at the rate of half a dozen a day.
The result is detailed in Are We Nearly There Yet? and makes for hilarious reading.
What Ben captures brilliantly is the temper tantrums and the moments when we’re so shattered, so worn down and so desperate we simply don’t care how we lash out and who’s in the way of it.
In the Wedgwood Visitor Centre near Stoke Ben bravely ushers his family into the demonstration area as an anxious PR executive looks on..
‘As Phoebe paints a ceramic plate, Charlie attempts to sweep £5,000 Asprey Collection teapots off the shelves while munching through an assortment of modelling substances like he’s at an all-you-can-eat clay buffet.’
There is sadness and tenderness along with the humour as Ben deals with his father’s terminal illness and breaks off his journey for family visits.
Ben is also great on the insecurities that arise and the blagging of free trips and accommodation. This was my first read chosen from my Christmas presents. Fully recommended and very funny.