Humor Life On The Road Travel Writing

My Mother Has A Condition

9th April 2018

Our most recent family road-trip was a weekend in St. Andrews.  We were up with the birds on all the days.

We actually loaded the car on Friday, after a coffee with my Dad in honor of my Grandma’s birthday, and I (humbly?) shouted from the blog-tops about the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards.

Baked potatoes and cheese for breakfast on the road, which Isla and I actually paraded in front of cheese-phobic Neil.  (She may look like him, but she’s a mini-me.)

Now.  You might argue that I’m addicted to social media, but before this weekend, I never took my laptop on a family trip.  I did have it on our recent trip to New York, but that was two weeks, and I forgot my charger in our car at the airport.  A laptop with no juice doesn’t count.

This time I took my laptop and triple checked for my charger.  I wanted to experiment with hotel writing, and keep up with the Awards buzz.  (Update:  I got second best overall blogger, story over here.)

We arrived in St Andrews and Isla asked if the fire alarm would be going off like last time we were in a hotel.  

She compared shoes with the very nice lady at Reception who was very surprised to hear that my tall and talkative child is still 3.  (But she’s grown out of her 4 – 5 clothes. Hi, Mom.)

We ate a lovely hotel dinner, which was prime for people-watching and great for our really short commute back to our really hot hotel room. With windows you couldn’t open, but an air-conditioner we eventually figured out.

Now.  My husband, though I love him with all of my dearlies, is a walker.  He is a walker and a computer genius who somehow cannot calculate what ‘within walking distance’ really means (but who the hell am I to complain about that, really?)

One of my favourite things to do is to get lost with Neil.  The possibilities are actually endless, the air smells different and anything can happen.

Like an argument.

‘Are we there yet?’ From me, not Isla.

‘It’s just up there.’

We arrive at LOVELY LOOKING CAFE 1.  Which would be lovelier if it were OPEN.  But it’s CLOSED.  Because it’s 7.30 in the morning.  Did I mention that?’

‘Dearest husband, why must we be up with the (fucking) birds everywhere we go?’

‘Because we’re on holiday, (gahddamnit).’

‘People on holiday usually get to eat.’

‘I offered you muesli, trail mix  birdseed at the hotel.’

‘That’s not holiday food (absolute greatest love of my life).’

‘HEY YOU GUYS.  THAT PLACE IS OPEN!’ says Isla, our darling girl.



Hazelnut Latte.  It tasted good, too.

And so, we three intrepid travellers found a place where coffee isn’t just for Instagram.  Where other people began to wander in for their relaxing weekend brunch.  Little did they know.

After Isla Amelie-d her raspberries, she actually ate them.

Now.  I know this is honestly a first-world problem.  But at one point my cutting skills meant my poached egg fell off my Eggs Benedict.

I looked down at my egg and muffin.

‘Well, shit,’ I mumbled.

‘SHIT.  SHIT. SHIT’, yells Isla.

‘Isla, don’t say Mummy words.  She has a condition, she can’t help it,’ says Neil.


And yes, people were staring.  Hi.

‘I’ve never seen you go that red before, lovely wife.’

‘Well played, clever husband.’

I consoled myself from my motherly embarrassment by upgrading my phone.  Because I was due for one.

I then disappeared into a bookshop and made friends with a stranger.

How many books can I fit in my suitcase?  She asked her husband.

I have the same question.

I buy books to remind me of where I’ve been.

Me, too.

I think I’ll get this one because of my Italian grandmother.

Me, too.

‘Hi, I’m sorry to interrupt but Iagreewitheverythingyoujustsaid.’

We traded book recommendations, and Italian grandmother stories, but not names.  She asked if I was other things as well as Italian.  I must have that kind of face.

‘Well, yeah.’

I’m like an everything bagel.

I debated telling her I’m waiting on one of those family history DNA tests.  But that wasn’t bookshop conversation, really.

We said goodbye and I went to find my people in the children’s section.

Neil’s sister came to meet us, and we went to a depressing aquarium and an even more depressing beach.

‘Should your brother be up on those rocks?’

‘Probably not.  But they’re having fun.’


Isla chose one toy from the gift shop.  A plastic princess with a plastic hairbrush.  Yes, really.

On our way out I may have driven over the hairbrush.  By accident.  Yes, really.

That made my kid cry.

She cried so much that some weird stranger actually said, ‘Don’t cry, little girl.’

Which made her cry harder.  And cling to me for 20 minutes.  In public.  Which rarely happens any more.  I kinda liked it.  It’s nice to be needed.

But I didn’t like the my kid crying part, so against everything I stand for, except the making my kid happy thing, I bought her another (gahddamn) plastic princess.  Because I drove over the first one.  Or something.

We then found a pub that I felt underdressed and slightly too feral to spend any time in.  But we had a groovy time.  And Isla enjoyed taking the dresses off both her dolls. We’re apparently in the naked doll stage of her development.

I had a gin cocktail.  Which happens less often than you might think.  It was delicious and the gin came from a purple bottle.  Kismet.  I’ve since bought a bottle of the lovely gin.



Actual gin & lemonade.

The next day, I felt more creaky than usual.  It was harder to swing myself around for my various morning transfers.  I didn’t particularly know why.  Until I looked at the clock.  It was 6.30 am.  I was half-dressed and already writing words.

‘How is it so early?’

‘We’re still on holiday.’

That day was a butterfly garden and another bookshop.  Beautiful.

I had birthday book vouchers to use, and use them I did.

76 bucks worth of books on 75 bucks of vouchers and a stamp card.  Do I know how to book-shop, or what?  It’s like I made a profit.

We packed the car with my new books, and the books that I brought with us.

‘Mummy, I think you have a book problem,’ says Isla.



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  • Reply Snuffy 9th April 2018 at 3:14 pm

    I think I have the same condition! Books, books everywhere…

    • Reply Lorna 10th April 2018 at 2:24 pm

      One day, I’ll take several pictures of my book ‘system’…

  • Reply katiecredeur 9th April 2018 at 3:15 pm

    I love it! I also “have a condition.” Don’t we all ?

  • Reply the Curious Pixie 9th April 2018 at 4:30 pm

    Well that makes two of us. I definitely have a book condition!

  • Reply The Money Shed (@themoneyshed) 9th April 2018 at 4:47 pm

    Sounds like you had a fanastic time. I’ve been St. Andrews a few times and have always had a great experience!

  • Reply thebeasley 9th April 2018 at 4:50 pm

    Haha I think I might be suffering from the same book condition. Also, I really want to do one of those DNA tests. Our DNA history really fascinates me. Will you be revealing the result on here?

    • Reply Lorna 9th April 2018 at 4:53 pm

      Yep, I know what I think I am, and I’ll write about it even if I’m wrong.

  • Reply Nicole 9th April 2018 at 4:54 pm

    The Cussing Condition. I have that, too. But so does R. So it’s hard to tell where the kids get it from. “What the hell?” Kai asked early, early Sunday morning. (I believe the question was brought on by something on Netflix. I was pretending to sleep at the time.) “What the fuck?” Anya agreed. The thought of them saying the same elsewhere, like perhaps in front of Anya’s kindergarten teacher, sent me into a raging hot flash. And I could pretend to sleep no longer.

    R and I also share the book condition. We’re in need of additional shelving despite my best efforts at weeding and consolidating our collection. But that condition, while expensive, is slightly more socially acceptable. 😀

    • Reply Lorna 9th April 2018 at 4:56 pm

      Yes, but at least the kids agree! Focus on what’s important. Ha!

  • Reply SickChristine 9th April 2018 at 6:22 pm

    This is so absolutely lovely. You are an everything bagel, my favorite kind of bagel.

    • Reply Lorna 9th April 2018 at 6:34 pm

      I love you, too, Christine. Yes, I noticed I used the word lovely a lot in this one. I’ll be inspiring next.

  • Reply Rachel 9th April 2018 at 6:37 pm

    Hehe this was a funny post to read! Love birdseed as a breakfast cereal haha

  • Reply Mommy Dearest 9th April 2018 at 6:55 pm

    I absolutely loved reading this. I too have a similar condition! I am not allowed anymore books until I read the many that have piled up.

    • Reply Lorna 9th April 2018 at 7:00 pm

      That’s the same thing I told myself years ago. I’ll wait for you here, there’s new books. Ha.

  • Reply Angela 9th April 2018 at 7:16 pm

    I have both the cussing and book-buying condition. My dad used the word “darn” recently, and my mouth fell open. He said he’s trying to swear less, but it sounded so weird.

    I need to get back into the habit of reading more, though. I lost my ability to concentrate on books, for the most part, but I occasionally manage to finish something. I still buy them, though. Mostly off the discount shelf. I know where I bought them, and what was happening in my life at the time – like the Margaret Atwood book I bought, a month after we lost my mum, and were taking my sister back to Canada. I bought it at Barnes & Noble in Buffalo, along with a book about loss and grieving. All three Inkheart books, still haven’t read them, but they’re on my bookshelf that my dad built in 2009.

    I’m curious about the DNA tests, but can’t afford to send off for one yet. We supposedly have Native American blood, but a cousin received her results, and her husband didn’t mention that. She did get Italian blood from somewhere – maybe her mum. I’m probably mostly European, but I still want to see what I’m made of, because I’ve been asked if I’m Chinese, in the past, years ago.

  • Reply josypheen 9th April 2018 at 7:39 pm

    Your bookish condition is the best kind of condition to have! 😉

    I’m impressed you made it up so early. I can’t tempt myself out to bed until I have googled where will be open for breakfast!!

  • Reply Jennifer 9th April 2018 at 7:44 pm

    I have a book condition too. Or had. I recently started downsizing so actual books are leaving as Kindle versions come in. But there is still something irresistible about buying a book while on vacation.

    • Reply Lorna 10th April 2018 at 2:51 pm

      Oh, I have 785 books on my Kindle as well (actual number)

      • Reply Jennifer 10th April 2018 at 4:31 pm

        I have over 500 and I only started downsizing last year!

  • Reply Barbara Radisalvjeivc 9th April 2018 at 7:52 pm

    I seem to have your book acquiring condition, only worse. Thanks for some Monday morning reading to wake my brain up and get me laughing.

    • Reply Lorna 14th April 2018 at 10:42 am

      I’m glad, Barbara!

  • Reply bluerosegirl08 9th April 2018 at 8:23 pm

    I dd not know that gin and lemonade was an actual thing, now I feel like I have to try it even though I don’t often care for gin. This book acquiring condition you speak of, I have it as well. What books came home with you?

    • Reply Lorna 9th April 2018 at 8:24 pm

      That’s Wednesday’s post. 😉

  • Reply fancypaperblog 9th April 2018 at 9:09 pm

    Sounds like a lovely trip ☺ I love a good book condition !!

    • Reply Lorna 14th April 2018 at 10:41 am

      I knew you would. 🙂

  • Reply Digital Motherhood 9th April 2018 at 10:03 pm

    Haha great post. I have a very similar book condition!

    • Reply Lorna 14th April 2018 at 10:43 am

      What have you read and loved recently?

  • Reply The Culinary Jumble 10th April 2018 at 7:55 am

    Ah, this did make me smile! In our family, I am the one who always says “it’s not far” when really I have no idea how far it is! Where’s the fun in knowing where you’re going and how far it really is? haha

    • Reply Lorna 14th April 2018 at 10:40 am

      The best times are spent getting lost!

  • Reply thatblogwherecheriemovestogermany 10th April 2018 at 9:55 am

    Your husband sounds like quite the character, that makes me smile. I too have a condition. I had to leave so many of my lovely books behind when I moved. But, they will slowly come back to me as people from the US come to visit with me. Their “payment” for staying with us is to bring as many of my precious books as their suitcase will allow. My next shipment will arrive in May, when my daughters friend comes to visit!

    • Reply Lorna 10th April 2018 at 2:54 pm

      Oh dude. You have no idea. Also, jealous of your regular influx of house-guests.

  • Reply Jess Howliston 10th April 2018 at 9:59 am

    Your post made me smile! I once did the same thing with my laptop, took it away so I could get some blogging done in the evenings and left the plug half of my charger at home!

    • Reply Lorna 14th April 2018 at 10:38 am

      When I forgot mine, the replacement was 80 bucks. So I went without. Not that addicted, ha! x

  • Reply myrabevlife 10th April 2018 at 10:28 am

    Hahaha your husband made me chuckle ‘mummy has a condition’ lol, nice save indeed

    • Reply Lorna 14th April 2018 at 9:43 am

      That was a zinger, not a save. But thank you for seeing the best in him, ha!

  • Reply rachaelstray 10th April 2018 at 10:53 am

    This post really made me laugh brilliant.

    • Reply Lorna 14th April 2018 at 10:17 am

      Happy to oblige, Rach! xox

  • Reply Jackie Cangro 10th April 2018 at 5:35 pm

    I voted!

    For you.

    Just thought I should add that part. 🙂

    • Reply Lorna 10th April 2018 at 5:39 pm

      Thank you, Jackie. Reading Sourdough and thinking of you.

  • Reply Melissa ❤️?? 10th April 2018 at 9:29 pm

    I enjoyed this post from start to finish! That gin and lemonade looks mighty tasty! I have a space problem so I haven’t bought actual books in a while. According to my Kindle app (which I resisted heavily in those early days of e-reading) I read HUNDREDS of romance novels last year!

    • Reply Lorna 13th April 2018 at 11:46 am

      I resisted on a Kindle, too, Melissa. I love mine now. What’s your most recent favourite book?

      • Reply Melissa ❤️?? 13th April 2018 at 1:58 pm

        I’d have to say Painted Faces by L. H. Cosway.

        • Reply Lorna 14th April 2018 at 10:27 am

          Looked it up, got intrigued, bought it! Thank you. I love when that happens!

          • Melissa ❤️?? 14th April 2018 at 1:33 pm

            Let me know how it goes.

  • Reply Laura Dove 10th April 2018 at 10:21 pm

    Hahah I have this condition too! I have so many books my husband made me donate most to charity and I was so angry at him for ages!

    • Reply Lorna 13th April 2018 at 11:47 am

      Neil and I have an understanding about the book-hoard, ha!

  • Reply Kara 11th April 2018 at 8:06 am

    Sounds like you had a lovely trip and got some fabulous book bargains. Good luck with reading them all

    • Reply Lorna 11th April 2018 at 8:09 am

      Thanks, Kara. The actual list of books is coming up today.

  • Reply Thebookwormdrinketh 11th April 2018 at 9:58 am

    Sounds like a lovely vacation to me! Lol! I’ll definitely have to try a gin & lemonade!

    • Reply Lorna 13th April 2018 at 11:49 am

      I’d highly recommend it!

  • Reply Chloe 13th April 2018 at 11:29 am

    I really enjoyed reading this, I don’t usually go for blog posts like this but I may have just become a loyal reader of yours!

    • Reply Lorna 13th April 2018 at 11:40 am

      Thanks, Chloe. Happy to have you reading! And I was just checking out your recent trip to Darwin’s Kitchen. Slightly jealous of the drinks. 😉

  • Reply gemmaorton 14th April 2018 at 9:59 am

    What is it with those plastic dolls and brushes! I have a niece that chooses that stuff every time.

  • Reply Debbie Harris 14th April 2018 at 10:05 am

    This made for delightful reading Lorna, so much love there! ❤️

    • Reply Lorna 14th April 2018 at 10:15 am

      Yep, Deb. Sarcasm is indeed the highest form of love and flattery. (Honest, guv) xox

  • Reply Ritu 14th April 2018 at 10:23 am

    Book condition… me too!!!
    And I love your little girl sticking up for you!

  • Reply Shallow Reflections 14th April 2018 at 12:11 pm

    I’d definitely keep relying on my ‘condition’ for future public displays of cursing, Lorna. Haha! And as for your book condition I am impressed with your shopping skills!

  • Reply Rigel Celeste 24th April 2018 at 9:21 pm

    Books for Mom, dolls for Isla, what does/did dad get on trips?

    • Reply Lorna 24th April 2018 at 9:27 pm

      Beer and hot sauce, ha!

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