8 FEBRUARY 2003, Page 55

Q. My husband and I, and three children aged four,

six and nine, travel to Suffolk from London most weekends. We go directly past the door of a drive-in McDonald's just at a time when the traffic tends to grind to a halt with a lot of noise — air brakes wheezing, engines chugging. etc. By this time it is about nine o'clock and four hours since the children have had their tea. They invariably wake up and bawl for McDonald's. There is no other route. What can we do, Mary?

TY., London W2 A. You can replicate the infantilising experience of McDonald's consumption without having to stop your car. Simply load a large flask with hot chocolate and dispense it to all passengers through toddler training cups. By allowing warm sugary liquid to be pipetted into the stomach, you, too, will be able to replicate breast-feeding — the main attraction that McDonald's subliminally holds for many consumers, You will be able to continue on your journey without a time-wasting stop. Incidentally, it is a good idea to distribute airline eyemasks to children embarking on long journeys. This helps to keep them asleep at the sort of bottleneck junctions you mention.