This particular day all revolved around a promise I made to a friend, (in acknowledgement of a big favour he did for me a few weeks previously) to collect a car from Coventry and deliver it to a garage workshop in Bristol for him.
The only day I could fit in was last Wednesday.
I left home from the Welsh valleys at 8 am and had a nice steady drive to Bristol, arriving 10 minutes early for a reading group I run for a charity at 10am every week.
All went reasonably well, and at midday I promptly ended the session and made the two mile walk to Temple Meads station to catch the 12.30 train to Birmingham (please note this route was OK to walk in daylight, but not somewhere I would like to walk in the dark – more about that later.) Made the train with 30 seconds to spare. Arrived in Birmingham on time. For some reason the traffic controller at Birmingham decided to let a later departing train pull into the platform before my train, so suddenly I’m now 10 minutes behind schedule. (Now that might not sound important, but over the whole day I had a maximum of 30 minutes leeway to cope with delays or problems.)
The train caught up 2 of those minutes by the time I got to Coventry, unfortunately the Citroen dealer was located well outside the city, and the taxi driver was in no hurry, so by the time I got to the dealership I was now 15 minutes behind my tight schedule. To then find out my car was blocked in by two mystery cars and another 15 minutes drifted by – one miserable second at a time.
I left feeling reasonably stressed. I needed petrol from the local Tesco station, which took another 3 minutes I did not have – but luckily my taxi driver had given me details of a short cut and I was soon bombing down the A45 at 60 mph. The M42 and M6 were traffic-free and I flew back to Bristol to arrive in Bristol at 4.45.
I found a parking space a mile from Temple Meads in a nice residential area, locked the car up and walked a mile back to the charity offices. Why walk another mile? You may well ask. I was not going to be able to collect the car for at least another 4 hours so I wanted the car parked somewhere where I had an even chance of not being mugged, which would be a crap way to end the day. Why did I returned to the charity? Because I’m a trustee of the charity and we have the annual AGM tonight at 5pm – sharp! Which I make with over a minute to spare.Good meeting which is over at 6.15 – I run from the building collect my car (the one I started the day with, which has been left outside the charity all day – come on keep up with me!!)
I then drive recklessly across Bristol up to Clifton- arriving at the University at 6.30 – which would be brilliant if my course had not actually started at 6.00. (I had already given my tutor a heads-up that I might be late (I’m one for forward planning.)
We break for coffee at 7.30. Well my fellow students do, me, well I run out to the car (my friend’s car – the one I collected from Coventry) and drive it up to the garage workshops, park it up and jog the half mile back to class, making a detour on the way at a Co-op to grab a scotch egg and apple for lunch, and make it back in time for the second session. After class I cadge a lift with another student down to Temple Meads, walk over the river (I used a bridge – I’m not that good) and walked my last mile of the day to collect my car. Then I drove back down the M4 for 80 miles back to home, walking through the door at just before 11pm.
I rang my friend next day to tell him I had dropped his car off at the workshops for him. What did he say?
“Oh you idiot! There was no need – it could have waited for a week or two.”
He’s a dead man walking!
Which made me think. Do we ever know what other people are doing in their lives, and how easy is it to spot an “idiot” in the middle of a crowd?