“ARE we there yet?”

That’s the familiar cry from children fed up with being stuck in the car on long journeys.

My brother, sister and I would utter it countless times as my dad negotiated the motorway network on the way to our holiday destinations.

My parents used all sorts to keep us amused during those long periods when we sat cramped up in the back of a Mini Clubman Estate.

We had a book ‘Where’s that Car From?’, in which you could look up a vehicle’s registration plate to find out in which town in the UK it had been bought.

Interesting for the first five minutes. But once you’d discovered that the Ford you’re stuck behind in a nine-mile tailback is from Liverpool, the one behind is from Birmingham, and the articulated lorry in the next lane is from Sheffield, the excitement peters out.

I Spy always resulted in arguments, when someone picked ridiculously impossible objects such as shoelaces or bulbs in passing headlights.

As children we were never taken abroad on holiday. Had we gone overseas by plane, the thought of being airborne would almost certainly have countered any feelings of boredom. I reckon we would have been so awe-struck that we wouldn’t have uttered a word for four, maybe five hours.

But 19? That would be pushing it. The world’s longest ever continuous flight left London and touched down in Sydney 19 hours and 19 minutes later. That’s more than double any of the journeys we made by car. It made me wonder how anyone with young children would cope.

As far as I know, the flight was carrying no children on its 11,060-mile journey, most of the passengers being airline staff and journalists. But anyone, of any age, would find such a long journey testing.

Those on board told how they whiled away the hours by drinking wine for breakfast - I imagine that would keep most people happy - watching two sunrises, and stretching together in the gangway. Physiologists led aerobic exercises for the passengers including squats and walks around the cabin.

I can only imagine the horror of taking a toddler or young child on such a journey, although nowadays there are in-flight films and no doubt all sorts of other digital distractions. There’s probably very little of ‘Where’s That Cloud From?’

In-car entertainment too has moved on in leaps and bounds since I was a child. Now, instead of looking at the back of the seat in front and bickering with siblings, some kids are treated to films as they travel.

Not so with my children, who were no easier to entertain on long car journeys than me and my siblings. I’d set them off playing car snooker, spotting first a red, then a yellow, green, brown, blue, pink and black. The only problem was, the pink. Pink cars are the stuff of Thunderbirds or the Pink Panther, not the M1. So that quickly ground to a halt.

When they were very young I remember buying special bags to hook onto the backs of the front seats, which I’d stuff full of toys.

Now my children are grown-up, I don’t miss any of this. Trains, planes, or automobiles, travelling with youngsters is always stressful.

There’s no more “Are we there yet?” in my life, but if I’m honest, making long journeys with my daughters still has its frustrations.

Ironically, these days it is due to lack of noise from the rear seats. At various stages en route me or my husband will be heard shouting: “Can you take those wretched earphones out and reply to what I have just asked you!”