EDITOR'S PERSPECTIVE: Diversions in both our days
The day had started with hope but ended in disaster – but it could have been worse.
The whole situation had conspired against me.
I had set off for Walsall that morning with the aim of seeing Plymouth Argyle triumph in the opening game of the season.
The sun was shining, the drive was straightforward, the omens were good. The game wasn’t and I left the ground following a 2-1 defeat with the aim of reaching home by around 7pm.
Traffic was dense, but I was leaving a football ground with a shopping centre right behind it.
A sign ahead said “Diversion” but I wasn’t too worried – for at least seven minutes.
The road took me away from my intended direction and suddenly I had no ideas where I was going.
Never mind, a big roundabout ahead. That should give me a clue. It didn’t, its signposting limiting itself to places in the locality.
I would continue as eventually there was bound to be a sign for M1 North or something. There wasn’t.
There would normally have been solutions to this probably. My car has sat nav, but I wasn’t in it, instead driving a vehicle without such modern technology.
I could use for phone. Except I couldn’t as it had run out of battery and I had no means of charging it.
After about 12 miles I turned round. It must be the other way.
Eventually I needed petrol and had a brainwave. I would buy a map if service stations still sold that sort of thing. They did. Only it was dark now and I couldn’t follow it as I journeyed across the Midlands towards… Wales!
At one point I stopped at a traffic light and noticed a pub with a sign ‘rooms available. Next to it was a pharmacy. I could stay over, have a few pints and only have to pack a newly purchased toothbrush before making my way home in the morning.
The lights turned green though and I was off again. More time, more miles, more panic, more petrol…
Eventually the M62 North heading towards Lancashire. Really? Is that my best option? Probably not but I have have no clue as to any better, so on I go. Bolton (I used to live there, I could stop and see some mates), Burnley (I may as well carry on to my mum’s), Leeds, Wakefield, Sheffield… Rotherham.
It’s 9.30pm. The game finished 4.5 hours ago. The cats are angry. I told them 7pm at the latest. The game I intended to watch on the television is all but over.
I won’t tell anybody about this. Ever.
What a day. It couldn’t have gone any worse.
Except it could. Suddenly I remember another man whose journey home from the game didn’t quite go as planned.
He fell onto the concrete stairs on his way out of the ground and the last I saw he was being carried into an ambulance, otherwise motionless.
It hadn’t been a good day for me, but at least I’m home safely. I wonder if he is and go to pour a whisky.