Matthew had said right from the start that arrangements for this trip would be fluid and variable and must above anything have the laid-back quality of a relaxing holiday. That suited me fine on the road, but I did find it a bit disconcerting when a departure day was suddenly brought forward, and I was caught with my packing not yet done! However, on Monday morning I managed to be ready in time and we set off northwards to visit my No 4 son Ric in Hebden Bridge.
To my great comfort and delight I was offered the front seat beside my son for the whole of this trip, my daughter-in-law Elizabeth declaring that she was quite happy sitting in the back; I allowed myself to believe her. Matthew was determined to see as much as possible of the English countryside while in the country, and declared that we would not travel on motorways, but would follow the A6 the whole way from Hertfordshire to the Peak District National Park in Derbyshire, before moving on to Yorkshire.
We made our first stop at Bedford, after rather less than an hour's drive, as there was already a call for a comfort stop - (my grandson got his in first before mine, which I was rather chuffed about!) - and Matthew wanted to see if he could buy an adaptor for his phone charger, having failed to bring one with him from Australia. So we had coffee and walked about a bit in the sun and then got on our way again.
We stopped for lunch at the Swan Inn in Mountsorrel, north of Leicester, where my son sampled two of the local ales, Black Sheep and Theakston's Old Peculier. My grandson Peter and I had the best plates of nachos that we had tasted for a long time. Peter had been allowed special extra time (above his normal ration) to play on his DS (Dual Screen Computer Game) during our car rides, and this kept him absorbed and happy for most of the time, as long as he was fed and watered regularly.
As we made our way across the National Park after lunch we encountered a difficulty. The route which Ric had recommended to us had arrived at the join in the page of the road atlas, and turning northwards stuck there obstinately for a good few miles. Elizabeth was finding it difficult to map read accurately, so she took over the driving while Matthew directed her. This didn't immediately solve the problem, as we found ourselves at one point on Saddleworth Moor, famous site of the Moors Murders in the 1960s. While it could be said to be a place of some - rather gruesome - interest, in addition to its natural beauty, it was not on our route, and we had to turn round and go back before we could get ourselves out of the crack - as it were.