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How To Survive Without A car

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Summary

'That’s it!' snapped Pete. Chucking the ridiculously huge, but very handy- tent, into the mud. “We either get a taxi or leave the tent and the children here!” Sophie and Charlie both looked horrified life, humor, realtionships , do we really need a car to survive?

Genre:
Romance / Humor
Author:
Kate Almond
Status:
Ongoing
Chapters:
1
Rating:
n/a
Age Rating:
13+

Chapter 1

Jo and Pete, not very old, young at heart, but both hate the city having grown up in the county side Pete’s sudden decision to move to London almost breaks them. With two dogs, a cat, seven guinea pigs and a hamster and not to forget the children, a move to London will take some planning and driving licenses!

Jo had long ago made a very firm decision when she was seven, that when she grows up she will have one husband maybe two if she gets bored of the first one! Two children, a big house and a very big car. So far, she had the husband, two kids and a slightly crumbling cottage.

When the family circumstances change, and Pete tells Jo they are moving to London! Life funnily enough suddenly becomes far more complicated even with fresh lattes and all-night shops on your door step. Public transport just seems terrifying and facing the London Mums at the school gate daily becomes the most arduous task ever!

Pete also decides now they are in the city ironically, he needs to drive and books his first ever driving lesson. Now at 38 this is almost as a big a deal as it would be for a 17-year-old. As people can lose their confidence with age. Then there’s the alluring Jenna, his annoyingly super attractive work colleague will she pose any threat on Pete and Jo’s strong marriage?

Can Jo keep her cool as she faces yummy mummies on a weekly basis at the posh local toddler group? Where she was once surrounded by parkas and gumboots she’s now surrounded by Jimmy shoes and designer handbags. Not to mention Cleo, Jo’s lovely, yet rather complicated sister with her manic love life, love of false nails and complete lack of any break down cover on her overpriced Peugeot 404! Nothing like her tomboy of an older sister!

As Cleo battles through an array of boyfriends, Jo battles with the adjustment London life throws at her. She finally meets Anita a lovely Mum of two kids and they instantly spark off a strong relationship. Putting a stop, a to any nonsense from the PTA mum’s nonsense and who makes the best cupcakes, for the cake sales and who doesn’t. or whose child has the best attendance and dances most at the school disco, rather than play in the loos for an hour and a half.

Jo’s eccentric Mother also dabbles through the men, but however unconventional Jean is, Jo and Cleo love her unconditionally. Things get complicated, yet exciting for Cleo, when she becomes pregnant by a chap called John, who was Jo and Pete’s neighbor in the country side. Cleo keeps the baby but sadly not John.

Eventually Pete decides London is not all it’s cracked up to be and the family move back to the countryside and everyone is happy.

Prologue

Checking the clock on the wall for almost the tenth time, Jo looked out of her window. Where is he? Drumming her long finger nails on the counter she reached into her handbag and pulled out a mirror. Bright red lips looked back at her and she suddenly realized she had gone a bit crazy with the blusher.

A Knock on the door made her jump, chucking the little mirror into her bag casually, she went out into the hall and opened the door. Pete stood there grinning holding what looked like a bunch of petrol station carnations! But who cares he was here.

‘Sorry I’m late.’

Jo took the flowers and felt shy. She had never liked dating, just wished you could somehow walk into a readymade relationship. ‘That’s ok.’ they looked at each other as though waiting for a cue. ‘I will just put these in some water.’

He nodded and came inside. Hunting for a vase Jo could hear her two housemates upstairs crashing about listening to some god-awful music. The flowers happily in water they left the house. ‘Ok where are you parked?’ Jo now excited, every girl wants to be picked up on the first date and driven to dinner in a fancy car. Maybe they will even get to go to a drive through if such a thing still exists.

Pete looked awkward and cleared his throat. ‘Sorry Jo we will have to catch the bus.’

’Oh ok, no biggy

.′ They walked side by side to the bus stop. ‘Car broken down?’ she asked trying to sound casual.

‘No not exactly.’ He said. ‘If you must know I crashed it this morning on my tenth and probably last ever driving lesson.’ Pete looked mortified.

‘Oh, shit are you ok?’ as she asked this she looked up at his strapping frame. He looked fine and completely unangered.

‘Yea it’s the car that’s buggered, my Dad’s mini actually.’

Trying not to laugh she failed, ‘Sorry.’

He looked over to her and smiled fondly, taking her hand in his Jo knew he was a keeper.

…Chapter 1

‘That’s it!’ snapped Pete. Chucking the ridiculously huge, but very handy- tent, into the mud. “We either get a taxi or leave the tent and the children here!”

Sophie and Charlie both looked horrified; Jo however tried not to laugh then threw up all over the wet grass, an old couple nearby put down their cups of tea and scones, looking disgusted.

“Pete I’m pregnant.” Pete laughed, then when he realized she wasn’t joking looked serious or at least tried to. The heavens decided to open right at that moment and gazing into the colorless sky Pete closed his eyes, then opened them again.

Jo, however, wished at that soggy point in time, she had a camera or that her phone hadn’t just run out of battery. Barry and Ted the two scruffy collies looked up briefly from chewing sticks and Sophie just continued to chuck mud at her younger brother.

Sighing Pete scratched his head, something he always did when he was worried or annoyed and sat down, right in the mud. ‘OK.’ he said squelching about in the soft clay and watched wistfully as a family happily loaded their four by four and then all climbed in, escaping the rain. Smiling at each other like a Chevy Chase family, from the Griswold’s. The two dogs ran up to him and started licking his face.

‘So, what’s the plan?’ he asked pulled out his phone and pressed the automatic dial button on Jeremy’s taxi.

“Who are you calling? Jo asked and for some reason she just wanted to laugh. ′ And what do you mean what’s the plan?′

“Jeremy.” was all Pete said.

“The taxi man?” Jo asked.

“Yes.” Pete replied and tried to concentrate on not getting his new I phone wet. Thankfully Jeremy was in and said rather begrudgingly he would be there as soon as possible and being that the family were only forty-five minutes away they would have to be patient.

Pete walked over to his soggy wife and put his arm firmly around her slender shoulders. ‘The plan..’ he began. ‘When do you and I ever have a plan Jo?’

She nodded and shrugged her shoulders, then threw up again. Looking disgusted Pete went over to the kids and picked Charlie up out of a rather deep puddle.

Eventually the very wet lot were all bundled in to the warm taxi, placing her weary head on Pete’s shoulder Jo sighed. Lovingly he kissed her head as he always did and squeezed her hand. ‘It will be all right I’m going to start driving lessons.’

‘You what, what now?’ she asked and yawned loudly.

‘Jo we live in the country side, but not quite in the middle of bloody nowhere, which don’t get me wrong I love.’ he added quickly seeing his wife’s face. ′ But it would be nice to get around independently.′

‘True,’ she said. ‘But after the mini...’

‘I know I know.’

They both gazed at their two Tired children. ‘How did.’ Began Pete pointing at Jo’s stomach.

‘Well Pete, you know the birds and the bees.’

‘Oh, very funny, ok can we talk about that tomorrow this camping trip has been a disaster and I love camping’ said Pete looking rather pained.

Nodding Jo squeezed his hand and for the rest of the rather short journey they all remained silent.

***

Jo quickly retreated to her favorite spot her pink sofa. It was the following day and she was exhausted. Resting her head against the luculent cushions she was forced to quickly shut her eyes; it was either that or to survey the mess, the happy mess that only children can create. Of course, her two lively dogs both wanted to sit on her knee and her. Oblivious like children should be to their Mother’s exhaustion Sophie and Charlie charged past her, Sophie grabbed at Ted’s floppy ears making the him yelp and Charlie who had decided to discard his nappy let one outright on the new carpet. Gazing at his huge poo he slowly locked eyes with Jo.

“Look mummy dump!”

Something Pete always called, gritting her teeth Jo stood up and grabbed some plastic bags. She had told Pete there was no point buying the new beige carpet, they could have gone on holiday instead!“Mummy!” said Sophie, suddenly looking slightly panicked. “Is it lunch time?” And she scrunched her small blue eyes up at her pink plastic pepper pig watch.

Joanne looked at the wild eyed four year old and quickly glanced at the clock on the wall. It was two pm.

Oops it was only lunch time nearly two hours ago! A rather freaky image of Jess super mum from Sophie’s preschool flashed into Jo’s mind. Her little Steffi would have been fed, dead on 12 pm then watered then probably taken out for a walk, so far Jo and her lot had got up, put on three loads of washing, had a few fights, verbal of course! And watched Pepper Pig, only seven episodes so far.

“Ur yes, “she muttered and searched frantically around the cluttered kitchen for some bread. Finally, she found some on top of the washing machine! Of all places. Doing a quick mental check, she had to think had she done her online shop at Tesco’s? The phone rang and answering it with her free hand, she quickly began to make three cheese sandwiches with her other one. She also simultaneously pinged her laptop into life and realized she hadnt actually clicked order for her tesco shop.

“Hello?” she said suddenly feeling rather out of breath, while paying for her ridiculous, but much needed food shop.

“Hi Jo “ said her younger yet probably more intelligent sister.

’Hello Cleo.” The lump of rather dry cheese fell onto the sticky lino causing Jo to nearly swear. Retrieving the only food she had she wiped off a bit of hair and began to grate it on to a plate.

“How are you?” asked Cleo and Jo heard her take a big slurp of something, coffee maybe? How Jo craved a nice milky, sweet latte.

Closing her eyes briefly she was in Paris again on her ninetieth birthday. And Jack an ex- boyfriend was sitting next to her. They both sipped their hot cafe creams in pure bliss. The rush of French traffic zoomed past them in the late afternoon sun.

Then Jo felt guilty for day dreaming not about Pete, but an ex.

“Jo?” said Cleo, sounding grumpy and Jo opened her eyes as the sound of Sponge Bob faintly filled her ears.

’Oh you know living the dream I am just packing actually for my holiday to Greece.” She said.

Charlie ran past her and nearly made her drop the knife she was holding.

“Really?” said Cleo, stupidly, and for someone so intelligent Cleo really can be dense at time. Her sister had just qualified as a lawyer and lived in London with her rich boyfriend and two goldfish, Jim and Steve.

“No!” said Jo gently though. “We are good thank you I’m just making lunch. How are you?”

“Oh I’m OK.” but first there was a pause then a very loud sob.

“Richards left me!” her sister wailed and began to sob heavily. Nearly choking on her sandwich Jo rather reluctantly, put down her plate.

“Oh no I’m so sorry and why?” asked Jo, unsure of what else to say.

“He said he doesn’t want to commit or he cannot commit to me, he doesn’t want to hold me back he’s too young!”

“He’s 38!” said Jo angrily and hurting for her sister.

‘Who’s 38?’ said Sophie loudly, suddenly appearing from nowhere.

“Oh Jo I don’t know what to do, can I come and stay with you guys for a week? I just need to get away for a bit?”

“Yes of course when were you thinking?” said Jo and again surveyed the mess around her.

“Is tomorrow okay?”

“Ok...” said Jo “You will have to take us how you find us.”

“Of course.” said Cleo and stopped crying for a moment.

“You will be all right Cleo. I know that’s probably an unhelpful thing to say but you will be OK. We would love to have you.”

“OK thanks sis,” sniffing loudly Cleo sighed. “I don’t seem to have any luck with men!”

Jo looked out in to her wild but beautiful garden. “You will be OK sis just let me know what time you are getting here tomorrow.”
“Well I have to go now and eat chocolate and watch a trashy film!”

Hanging up Jo went back into the living room and couldn’t help but laugh even though she shouldn’t. Charlie had put the reminders of his cheese sandwich on to Sophie’s plate which had been discarded, made a giant sandwich and was trying to get the whole thing into his mouth.

That evening once the children were in bed and Sid the cat was snuggled up next to Jo, she put her very heavy head onto Pete’s firm and reassuring shoulder.

“Good day?” he asked her to mean it, but his dark eyes were glued to the sport on TV. She sighed deeply and he bent down and lovingly kissed the top of her head.

“Ur yea pretty good but I must say I will be relieved when Sophie starts school next month.”

The summer holiday was lovely but getting too long now, football had finally finished so Pete flicked through some other channels on TV but unable to find anything decent to watch he turned it off. Jo flicked though her magazine laughing at Angelina Jolie’s latest confession that she wasn’t having any more kids.

“I still really think it’s time I took driving lessons. I’m nearly forty!” Announced Pete, it sounded like he had just declared he was going off to fight in Afghanistan.

Rather aversely Jo put down her copy of Hello magazine and looked at him, in the manner of a dubious head mistress when little Scotty had promised he would never block the loos with cheap loo roll again. Next time it would be andrex.

“Well. Ok but what about the cost of running or even buying a car?” she said and stroked Sid as he continued to purr rhythmically bedside her he responded with a whinny meow. ‘And Pete we still havnt discussed the new baby!’

“True but with my wage and I am due for a pay rise soon, anyway I think we should look into it. I don’t think we can survive without a car for much longer. Jo do you not remember when we first met and my Dad had bought me that second hand MIni, and he was desperate for to learn to drive. Anyway I took one lesson as you remember.”

Sighing she smiled fondly at the now almost distant memory. She was eighteen and Pete was ninteen.

Look dad I dont think my first ever driving lesson should be with you. sorry but no offence let me phone BSM.′ said Pete . ′

Jo stiffled a laugh which she turned into a cough.

‘You will be fine mate’ Reluctantly Pete got into the narrow drivers seat as his Dad got in the other side.

‘See you JO jo..’ Pete said to her as if never to see her again. Slowly he drove off under his dads instructions they chugged down the thankfully quiet road.

Now Pete shook slightly and Jo could see him reliving the memory of how his Dad had shouted at him after Pete had crashed into the lamppost.

‘It could have been a pedestrian!’ his Dad had yelled, storming in after Pete both covered in rain and full of anger.

‘I said I should go with a professional’ cried Pete who looked hurt and upset. Nodding in agreement his Dad turned around and walked out.

‘Urrm Pete, ’ Jo reminded him, ‘It was on our first date actually that you told me you had crashed your Dads Mini.’

Pete looked confused then smiled. ‘Oh yeah! It was our third or fourth date when I went out for another lesson with him in a different car. Shame I didn’t keep them up, but you know when I clipped the curb and nearly hit that old lady.....’

Nodding Jo sipped some water.

‘How pregnat are we?’ asked Pete and stroked her tummy fondly.

‘About seven weeks ish..’ said Jo.

‘Well ok guess the pill wasnt working then?’ Pete looked confused. ‘You had no idea till the other day? How?’

Shaking her head she grabbed another biscuit out of the packet on the table. She had, had her suspicions last week when the smell of someone’s coffee at Charlie’s toddler group made her reach. But she had not done a pregnancy test until last week. ‘I wasn’t sure Pete.’ and with that she grabbed the TV remote, and put on Made in Chelsea.

That night when she had finally collapsed into bed, Pete already fast asleep Jo flipped over onto her back and placed her hand over her tummy.

They had only planned for two children, this third let’s say was a drunken, but very pleasant mistake! Ok she hadn’t been completely honest with Pete. Jo had only missed one pill, due to a slight stomach upset she had been unable to let’s say digest it properly and had the following day consumed a bottle or two of wine, with Pete and their very kind neighbors- Sally and George.

Sally and George thankfully lived about ten minutes, if that, away walking distance both in their late forties with no children or pets, commitment free! As they both put it. A delightful couple; who are a bit dotty, had lived in the village for twenty years.

Anyway, after Jo’s brief and now not infectious illness they had asked if they could host dinner at Jo and Pete’s house. Knowing that they had the children and getting a baby sitter was almost impossible. So around they had come, Sally and George, bearing flowers, wine and crème Brule. It was a great evening and very romantic too especially after Sally and George had gone home. Jo smiled at the fond memories and fell into a deep sleep.

Chapter 2

Pete gazed into the distance how, Jo had no idea. It was the following morning and all hell had broken lose.

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