Home truths

At this time of year thousands of people are taking long car journeys and thanks to Clarkson and his numbskull disciples, it should be a fairly hellish activity.

At this time of year thousands of people are taking long car journeys and thanks to Clarkson and his numbskull disciples, it should be a fairly hellish activity.

The Clarkson doctrine goes pretty much like this: anyone has the right to drive anywhere they want at any speed and if they are stopped in any way, it is Tony Blair's fault.

As world views go, it is pretty moronic, but then so is the way he dresses, so there's no point quibbling at this stage.

The problem with the belief that we can drive anywhere is that is leads inevitably to traffic jams, and there are few things more dispiriting than looking at the back of a Honda Civic covered with "amusing" car stickers for hours on end.

Fortunately, Home Truths is here to help, and for those of you currently stuck in an eight-mile queue, seeing your life drift away like gossamer on the breeze, here are some ways to pass the day:

1. Play adults v. children. Grown-ups score a point for every treat they deny their kids (playing their music, stopping to play pinball at a motorway service station, etc), kids score for every time they make their parents go mad (wetting themselves, saying "are we there yet", and so on).

2. Name as many capital cities as you can in one minute.

Then do the same thing with American presidents. Then football league grounds and singers with only one name, continuing with categories getting ever more obscure until you lose the will to live (it should happen around the time you get to managers of Colchester United).

3. Play In-Car X-Factor. The person in the front passenger seat sings an unconvincing show tune and then turns around to get withering comments from the three people in the back.

(NB: this involves a lot of stopping in lay-bys to swap seats so it may slow your journey).

4. Listen to the collected works of Dolly Parton.

She's been putting out albums fairly regularly since 1969 and had 77 at the last count, so her back catalogue should get you through pretty much any journey you could care to take within western Europe.

5. Be somebody wilfully obscure when you and your family are playing 20 Questions. The Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges, perhaps, or Henri Moissan, winner of the 1906 Nobel Prize for chemistry.

(Not only will you look really intelligent, but you will use up lots of time both playing the game and then the subsequent argument about whether your stupid choice is really a personality in the true sense of the word).

6. Fashion puppets out of socks and perform charming dramatic tableaux for your children.

Start simple with a story about a cat and a dog but work your way up to The Sock Merchant of Venice as your puppetry skills evolve.

7. Moon other motorists (passengers only if car in motion).

8. Argue about what's better between chicken and beef.

9. Lay bare all the unspoken resentments that have been building up within your family for the last 20 years, pausing only for an all-day breakfast at Newport Pagnell Services.

10. Think about getting public transport next time.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer