When I was a kid, we always used to go on a long summer holiday to France each year. Dad would hitch the caravan onto the back of the car and Mum would get some maps out of the library so that we could find our way about; this was a simpler time, before satnavs came into use. The journey through France had a number of rituals and landmarks that would have to be met.
1. The ceremonial first spotting of a Norbert Dentressangle lorry*. We were not officially on holiday until the first of these (known to us as Norbert Dextrasol) had been spotted, with HUGE kudos going to the person who made the spot. On some very exciting occasions, this would happen at the ferry port before we'd even left the UK.
2. The ceremonial falling out between me and my sister. My poor parents. It was a long car journey down through France and there was a lot of squabbling. I remember on one memorable occasion when I was still very little, when we were arguing so strenuously that my dad screeched to a halt, kicked us out of the car and drove off, leaving us by the side of the road. For about 10 seconds probably, but it scared the shit out of us, as we stood there, comparing how many sweeties we had and wondering how long they'd last us.
3. The ceremonial falling out between my parents. My mother is an intelligent woman, with a quite frankly phenomenal sense of direction, which I (to a certain extent) have been lucky enough to inherit (together with a butt that just won't quit). However, she is also unfortunately directionally dyslexic, leading to many situations like this:
Mum: *ascertaining need to turn left*
Dad: *starts to turn right*
Mum *gesticulating wildly with left hand*
I wish my dad had learned to always follow the hand, rather than the words. There is no disconnect between the brain and the hand. The hand does not get it wrong. I strongly believe that the chances of my parents getting divorced decreased by around 37% with the invention of the satnav.
4. The ceremonial first spotting of that year's new number plate. At that time, the new vehicle registrations only came out once a year, in August. So we'd also be keeping an eye out for the first spot of some fancy pants going on holiday with their brand new car. Again, enormous kudos to the person who made the first spot.
All of which is a hugely long winded way of saying, OMG, you guys, I spotted my first 16 plate on Sunday woohoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!
* [sidebar - distressing news on the Norbert front]