Lisa Markwell: When it comes to talk, the journey is the destination

FreeView from the editors at i

Share

In this week's "no s**t Sherlock" news, we learn that parents spend up to a combined 100 hours a month ferrying their children around by car. To the AA, who compiled the survey, I say: this is, well, not actually news to those of us who are parents.

It has long been established as part of the child-rearing deal that weekend plans must be fitted in around flamenco lessons across town and getting a little 'un to the soft-play centre behind the superstore five miles round the ring road for a party – from which they'll emerge hoarse and sticky clutching a mystery balloon mammal.

For the mother or father with one eye on the gauge showing £70-worth of petrol evaporating as they sit in traffic, and the other looking out for police as they consider a time-saving illegal left turn, every minute of those 50 hours is keenly felt, if not enjoyed. (Although I don't have much sympathy for those who choose to drive their children to a school within a mile of their home.)

There are, however, a few major upsides to the car journey. One magical advantage was pointed out to me by a social worker: children tend to talk more freely in a car. There's something about the combination of contained space and lack of eye contact that makes them feel safe – hitherto hidden information and deep-seated worries come tumbling out. I've been known to keep driving for ages in ever increasing circuits to keep a conversation going. It didn't do much for the environment, but it worked wonders on a tricky school situation.

Then there's the potential for time away from the dread screens. Keeping the car a laptop/iPhone /DVD player-free zone means there's ample time for a group listen to an improving audiobook, or a rattle through troublesome times tables (I find the central locking mechanism helps in this particular endeavour).

My children are a bit old for all that but I do maintain that on-the-road conversations are invaluable – it's just the subjects that have changed, from primary-school bullies to curfews and college options.

But what of the BBC staff who have just started doing the four-hour round trip each day from London to Salford? Could they benefit from a family-style drive?

Just imagine the issues of the day that could be thrashed out if they car-pooled, instead of the rumoured 13,500 train and 190 plane journeys that staff take... Only 46 per cent of staff have relocated, so that's a lot of travelling. I'd love BBC Breakfast's Susanna Reid, pictured, to get behind the wheel like a harried mum and find out what's really on the minds of her sofa guests...

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SSRS Report Developer - Urgent Contract - London - £300pd

£300 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: SSRS Report Developer – 3 Mon...

KS1 Teacher

£95 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Key Stage 1 teacher require...

HR Business Partner - Essex - £39,000 plus benefits

£32000 - £39000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Ashdown Group: Generalist HR Man...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel like your sales role...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The influx of hundreds of thousands of eastern European workers has significantly altered the composition of some parts of Britain  

Immigration is the issue many in Labour fear most

Nigel Morris
The Lord Mayor of London Fiona Woolf heads the inquiry  

Why should Fiona Woolf be expected to remember every dinner date?

Mark Steel
Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?