I awoke this morning at 7am - a full hour before the time I had set the alarm on my phone to go off at. I picked up my phone, cancelled the alarm and lay back down. I knew I wouldn't go back to sleep - mainly because I had just cancelled my alarm, and to go back to sleep now would be a really bad idea. So I lay there with an unzipped sleeping bag across me as a makeshift duvet, one leg in the end of the sleeping bag, the other doing its own thing uncovered.
I don't remember thinking anything specific whilst I lay there, so my mind must have been blank. As usual.
I looked at the time on my phone again, and it said 07:50 - that fifty minutes had gone really quick! I got up, went to the toilet, and got dressed. Let me re-phrase that: I got up, walked to the bathroom, went to the toilet, walked back from the bathroom, and got dressed. Then, being as quiet as I could be, I left.
In the car, my first port of call was the Tesco petrol station in Pitsea - right next to the Tesco store. I put £20 worth of petrol in the car, as this was virtually all the money I had left. I did have about 110 miles worth of petrol already in the car, but it is a 167 mile journey from Richard's place to my home, so I needed to top up. £20 worth of petrol gives me about 160 miles, so I knew I would have enough to get home, and then get about for the rest of the month. Once the car was topped up, I put my home as the destination in my Sat Nav, and set off. It was 8:30am.
The roads were still throbbing with rush hour traffic, so initially it was slow going. The M25 was fairly horrendous due to a combination of volume of traffic, perpetual roadworks, and an accident. I seemed to trundle along at between 8 and 20 miles per hour for a long time, and was very glad to get off the M25 and get on to the M3.
Mainly because 13 miles into the M3 in this direction (away from London) there is Fleet services - marking the halfway point between Basildon and Home. My ex-girlfriend, Louisa always used to stop there on her way to and from me when I was living in Basildon. When I moved to Dorset, she didn't need to do this anymore, so she stopped. The thought of not stopping at all had entered my head, and although I am sure I could have driven all the way home without a break, I did need the loo, and wanted an coffee and a muffin (I'd had no breakfast). So, Fleet services it was.
The time was 10:45am, and the services were bustling with the dregs of humanity that seems to collect there. The people you see at service stations, are never seen anywhere else. I don't know if it is the fact that they all have been, or are, on a journey but the outfits you see and the hair and make up on display would only seem normal on the set of "Jeremy Kyle". I could easily create a new reality TV show called "Motorway Services Makeover" - where Gok Wan, and Trinny and Suzanna battle it out to transform these poor fashion waifs into something more acceptable.
A Bafta? For Me? I don't know what to say..........
One Cappuccino and a skinny blueberry muffin later (this lithe, athletic build doesn't keep itself you know) I was ready to set off on the second part of the third part of my journey home. I re-joined the motorway, and promptly swore very loudly. I had planned a small experiment, namely seeing if I could wedge my Kodak mini video camera into the display part of my dashboard, and do a video blog on my way home. Of course I had forgotten to take my video camera out of my bag. In hindsight, this was probably for the best as the only place I could put my mini video camera was directly in front of my display. I would have had to have chosen to obscure either my petrol gauge, my speedometer, or my warning lights - all of which are important to prolonged and successful driving.
So I carried on regardless, and soon enough I was home. I got home a little later than planned because I stopped off at Tesco's to get some groceries, and then popped in to see my ex girlfriend's mum and step dad and give them their presents from Scotland. Once I had done that (it was great to catch up with them), I cam home.
And here I have been ever since - putting loads of washing on, and generally chilling out. It's 7:40pm. I'm back to work tomorrow, but it's only a four day week for me, which is good.
And that is my Scotland adventure over - at least for this year. Next year (and every year after that) I will be re-visiting. Unless of course I can sort out moving to Scotland, in which case I can visit every day!!
Incidentally, on my way home I saw a sign, which had a large piece of paper over it that read "THIS SIGN NOT IN USE". Now, surely the piece of paper informing me that the sign was not in use was a sign itself - in which case, wasn't the sign in use after all?