Being a fulltime working mum and married to a football fanatic, it’s not often we go out as a family. Although hubby’s team were playing away from home this week, he had to still be around to listen to the game in the comfort of his own living room, we had a small window of opportunity to make a trip out as a family. We could only travel locally as I obviously had the regular ‘end of week household chores’ to do first.
My daughter asked if we could visit a local retail outlet in the next village. It was converted from a mill complex in the 1980’s-90’s and by all accounts housed some very interesting boutiques and craft shops.
Well, as I live locally to the place, obviously I have never visited it before – well who does when it’s on your doorstep? It doesn’t feel like a day out if it’s so close does it? So, armed with thermos flasks and a ‘pack-up’ of sandwiches we set off on our long journey. (Only kidding – 5 minutes by car after we had lunch at home).
The mill complex, retail outlet is very snugly positioned in the middle of the village. As we approached the street where we needed to turn off, I became overwhelmed by a strong desire to turn back thinking that this would end in tears.
The road should have been wide enough for two cars to pass comfortably going either way. There was a car waiting to pull out onto the main road. I indicated to turn down, however, upon initiating the manoeuvre, discovered almost instantly that I could not gain access until this car moved out of the way, due to a car being parked immediately on my left on the entrance to the street.
The car waiting to turn out of the street was unable to move, as I (along with many others parked on the main road) were impeding his vision. He couldn’t go anywhere, nor could I. Eventually after a two minute standoff, the car ventured out steadily and committed himself to turning onto the main road. At last, an opening….. but oh no, stupid me. Another car decided it would be a good idea for him to move into the last car’s position. Back to square one. Several minutes, several cars, lots of tutting, horn blasting and swearing (not always a good idea when you have a 9 year old in the car with you), we were able to move on.
Brilliant – just have to calm down now and enjoy the rest of the two minute journey. Easier said than done. Why? I asked myself, on a two lane road, with one lane blatantly completely blocked with parked cars and the other is occupied with a travelling car (i.e. me who incidentally, has right of way) does some idiot think that they can drive up that very stretch? Where were they going to go?? Again another standoff. I was confident in my position though, I was backed up with plenty of vehicles behind me. I was confident now when I mouthed obscenities and gestured that he may question his sexual habits that I had right of way and was not going to back down. However, I do concede that my parenting skills could’ve been called in to question. The way I figure it now though – my daughter was laughing her head off, so that can only be good can’t it??
Finally we managed to get into the (very busy) car park. With much anticipation of the treasures ahead, we left the car and walked into the complex. Disappointment is not a strong enough descriptive term for what we found. The 12 or so shops and ‘attractions’ available to us were exclusive – yes – expensive – yes and shoddily presented – a resounding YES! I am so pleased that we hadn’t travelled so far to experience this. We strung out the whole trip as long as we possibly could and still could not make it stretch beyond thirty minutes!
I am in two minds about the whole experience. It was good that I managed to get some ‘quality’ free time with my family and it was virtually free as we couldn’t find anything to buy that wasn’t ridiculously overpriced for what it was. (Even my daughter who spends money like it is going out of fashion couldn’t find anything to buy!)
However, on the flip side, having lived around here for most of my life I feel very passionate about the area, and I feel sorry and a tinge of remorse that anyone visiting our beautiful part of the country may leave with regret at their trip and may not come again.
I will not reveal the name of this place, as I do not wish to smear it’s name and the good hardworking business people who make their livelihoods here as I do appreciate the contribution they make to the local community.
I will just console myself with ranting!