Tonight we drive home from Grandma’s house, hitting the M4 motorway at about 7pm. It is surprisingly empty for this time of year. Secure in the child seat behind me, Laura has finished the bag of Butterkist she was given for the journey and is starting to wonder “Are we nearly there yet?”
“About half way,” I tell her, wondering why she really needs to ask. Laura’s done this journey literally hundreds of times. As she was born in Southmead Hospital, just a couple of miles from my mum’s house, this was the route of the first car journey she ever made. I remember passing through the hospital gates in my husband’s car the day we were discharged, tears of joy streaming down my face, tempered with incredulity that I was expected to know how to look after a baby so soon after the birth. On that journey home, we played the CD that had been the soundtrack for her delivery by Caesarean – “Songs from the Auvergne”. No wonder there wasn’t a dry eye in the car.
“Just how long is it from Grandma’s house to ours?” she asks me now.
“Usually just half an hour, darling,” I reply. “Unless we’re driving through the rush hour.”
“Oh,” she says without a pause, “so I expect in the rush hour it would be just 15 minutes.”
Many thousands of Bristol-bound commuters must wish that was the case.