As a parent, you will undoubtedly understand the term “Dad’s Taxi” or “Mum’s Taxi”. In some cases, it could even be “Gran’s Taxi”. You get what I’m saying here though – yes? Of course you do. It’s the fact that as parents to our ever more demanding off-spring we tend to find our selves running around like a demented gazelle or a contestant on that 90s favourite – Supermarket Sweek (RIP Dale).
As a one-car, one-driver (me) family I feel this taxi service demand more than most…
The School Runs
Since we moved to this North Yorkshire market town, and my work has been a leisurely 3-minute walk from the front door, the car has been pretty redundance during weekdays. Gone were the 1-hour drives to and from work listening to Radio 2 (sorry about being one of those lost listeners) where I could mentally prepare for and come down from the day. I didn’t realise just how much I missed that time.
Then, we moved the teenagers to the nearest alternative secondary school (more on that in another post). This move meant rather than the cushty free bus provided by the county council we had to fund the cost of travel to and from school. The trouble with buses these days is they are becoming a rather pricey mode of transport. Throw in rural North Yorkshire and this cost becomes, well, a bit prohibitive.
The solution: I shall drive them to school in a morning so we’re only paying for the return journey. Nice logic their Dave, neatly forgetting the cost of diesel. But, I reasoned with myself, these journeys would give me 10 or so minutes of quality time with my teenage daughters on their way to school. Then, 10 or so munites of quality time with Chris Evans on my return home and thus to work.
The fact is that the journey is usually deafeningly silent, one daughter with ear-phones in and the other staring blankly out of the window. Neither of them are, what I would call, “morning people” like me.
The Medical Runs
Ever had a child required to wear an orthodontic brace? Well, if you haven’t then let me tell you that these appointments take over your life! When Grace was first referred I never comprehended just how frequent the visits would be. Throw in that the nearest orthodontist was 27 miles away. Move the North Yorkshire they said, it’ll be lovely! Yes, it is, until you require some form of service that requires major international travel!
Over a period of two years and countless appointments (and emergency appointments when brackets or “bits” fell off), I must have done close to 1000 miles of driving. On the positive side that about 28 hours of time with Grace, usually when she was a bit more awake and chatty and Mini Punch was the travel game of choice.
Sadly Grace must’ve been blessed with the more questionable genes from our family genetics. She also has appointments for her feet (as they’re flat) and her ears (as she is partially deaf – although sometimes I think this is selective). We do travel all over North Yorkshire for her, that’s the good part as it’s better than driving around big cities.
The Dance Runs
Of course, Dad’s Taxi can sometimes be a walking taxi too, as I meet myself coming back doing the various trips up and down the street to the dance studio to collect and drop off. This happens multiple times a week.
Then comes the festivals (dance comps to those no in the know). These usually require (as the forthcoming Middlesbrough one will) a week off work. Up and down, driving and the crack of dawn, long days, driving home for forgotten apparel. It’s all there.
But, next week in Middlesbrough we have some serious clashes. Grace also has some medical appointments – nowhere near Middlesbrough. I have a strong feeling I will become rather accustomed to the A19!
Throw in auditions for shows, the show rehearsals, the shows themselves……yikes!
The “We Don’t Live In The City Anymore” Runs
Moving to rural North Yorkshire, living in a small market town on the edge of the North York Moors, might sound like perfection. It is. I love loving here. I would never go back to the town life. That said it does come with its logistical problems. Sometimes you need to return to civilisation.
Them Dad’s Taxi becomes Husband’s Taxi too. We do our food shopping online, but there’s only so far the Internet can get you. I prefer walking into a shop and communicating with that long forgotten skills of “speaking to people”. For us, that means driving there. Crikey, my bank manager would collapse if he knew all six of us were getting on a bus! That’s it the said bus actually went where you needed, which in our case it usually doesn’t.
The Pub Runs
So my daughters aren’t yet old enough to frequent the many country inns in our glorious countryside. But that time WILL come and I will then extend my taxi service to be 24-hours. I will do this gladly.
Would I begrudge having to trail twenty-odd miles at 1am to pick up a daughter from a party, friends house, nightclub even? No. I will always be their guardian and do whatever it takes to keep them safe. Being able to transport them is what I can do for them. It’s a small thing but I will be there for them to do this.
Hopefully, my wife will join the ranks for the driving community some day. She has threatened to get her provisional license for many years, but there’s always been an excuse (usually financially related) to her now actually going through with it. But I am hopeful that in the not too distance future we will have “Mum and Dad’s Taxi” across the top of our windscreen.
Thanks for reading.
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