Left with the lessor task...

 Stunning scenery photographed in a car's rear vision mirror

Today we went on a road trip. It was, mercifully, uneventful. We stopped at a large country town for lunch. There is always a risk inherent in this activity: asking three young junior recipe testers who have had to sit still in the car for several hours to then sit still in a cafe for lunch. Today, however, they rose to the occasion. Our lunch stop was also uneventful.

Given the heights that we'd conquered, you would think that the purchase of a takeaway cup of coffee at the completion of the meal would be the easiest to accomplish. Perhaps it is because you can see the finish line, you experience that sense of ‘almost done: meal completed with civility… joy even’ and you let your guard down.

Before exiting the cafe the senior recipe tester took a few juniors on an obligatory trip to the loo prior to getting back in the car. I was left with the lessor task of minding the things and ordering the coffee. Because the junior recipe testers appear to have broken arms, yes, all six between them, I had to carry their jackets. We also had water bottles. So, because of the situation with the arms, I carried these as well.

On ordering the coffee I was presented with a plastic do-dad which buzzed hysterically when the coffee was ready. Because it is a social norm that you pay for coffee you would like to drink I had to get my wallet out of my handbag, and so along with jackets, drink bottles, and wallet I was carrying the do-dad as well. Attempting to have a reconciliation on the number of things in my hand, I managed to put the do-dad in my handbag and continued to carry my wallet. When my handbag buzzed I inadvertently handed the barista my wallet.

She looked at me blankly and I realised my error. I attempted to reach into my handbag, but the oh-so-stylish clip on my handbag had hooked itself through my woollen jumper and was now attached to my armpit.

With my two spare fingers, and before we lifted the coffees off the counter, I reached for a sugar sachet to put into the senior recipe tester’s coffee. Perhaps because I was too loaded up to attempt such a dexterous task, I managed to rip the sachet in the middle. Some of the sugar went in the senior’s coffee. The rest sprinkled into the hair of a junior who was standing underfoot.

I think it was about then that someone suggested, “Should we ask them to refill the water bottles before we leave?” I may have responded with a withering look.

We managed to get back to the car without acquiring frostbite or chilblains. It was, however, far too cold to stand in the carpark to assist the juniors with seat belts. The senior recipe tester did what all self-respecting parents resort to, to assist their juniors in  the cold/rain/sleet. He knelt on his seat and leaned into the backseat to do up seat belts.

Our parting gift to the patrons of the cafe was to terrify them with the abrupt sound of our horn. The senior achieved this by inadvertently pressing it loudly.

With his bottom.