ITo free the dog from a tangle he had gotten himself into the back seat, I stopped on the A491 just off the M5 last weekend. A strong memory stirred. Ah yes, I vomited here once. I was a kid, on the regular drive from the West Midlands to our caravan in South Wales, in the back of my dad’s car. I was always, but always, car sick. On a good day, I would arrive well into Wales, even avoiding the then tyrannical heads of the Valleys Road, but before the end of the journey, one way or another, an event would happen. A moan from me, a curse from dad, a squeak of the brakes, a jump from the front seat for mom to open the back door for me to stagger. The whole operation was as slow as a Formula One pit stop. The A491 Laby Puke stuck in my mind because it was my fastest on that trip; We were barely five minutes into it. “Not already, of course,” lamented my dad. Oh yes. Curse, scream, door, heave and we were on the road again. It was good to get it out the opening door, I guess we thought.
What happened to the car sickness? Is this still a thing? A doctor tells me that the drugs are much more effective now. Children these days don’t know they are born. The pills I was given – C-legs, I think they were called – weren’t helping much. Overall, the whole business shook my childhood. It got to the point where the smell of my dad’s Volvo was enough to make my stomach turn. my poor parents. One time we could not stop safely, and my mother had a paper bag. She got me on time. We had two seconds to breathe a sigh of relief before the bottom of the bag stowed its cargo on my lap. Where were you when Elvis died? I know where I was. I leaned twice on a grassy ledge in the car park at Strensham Services, my mother holding my forehead. Oh memories.
Adrian Chillies is a broadcaster, author and Guardian columnist