Fail to Prepare…

Why is it when you make one little mistake the Universe decides to ensure that this tiny little mistake doesn’t stay small and inconsequential but takes on a life of it’s own until you are left quietly rocking and sobbing uncontrollably in the corner??

Take this morning I had a meeting at work. It was with an external agency and I was as excited as I was terrified. Having any sort of meeting is still a new experience for me and so I have had a few sleepless nights and spent about a week planning every small detail including trying on at least 3 different outfits to make sure I portray the appropriate level of carefree professional. I had Googled the time to destination, found my Sat Nav. Everything was a go.

This morning, I logged out of my computer giving myself at least double the time to get to my final destination. I nipped to the loo, only (and this may be a little bit of an over share) I have inherited my mums ‘nervous tummy’ and so I was slightly longer in the loos than planned. Although a little more stressed as I now only had had 20 minutes to do a journey Google had predicted would take 12 minutes. I grabbed my handbag, my notes for the meeting and a working pen and fled the office. Into car I plugged in my Sat Nav and panicked a little about it’s inability to find the exact location but assumed I would be safe by going to the “center of the area”. It was on an industrial state, what could go wrong?

At this point I did consider heading back into the office to print off some Google directions; something I usually always do, and I still don’t know how I failed to on this occasions! In fact I am usually so panicked that I ‘walk the streets’ to the venue and back with little Street View Man so I know exactly where I am going – I don’t know if it being a local place gave me a false sense of security?? Anyway, for the first time in my life I hadn’t.

I decided not to go back into the office. I knew it would take a while to re-load the computer, download the details and print it all off; especially considering the archaic systems my office currently runs on. Time I would rather spend getting there on time. I knew most of the route and so I thought drive, and then if I can’t find them give them a call on my mobile so that could direct me in.

About 7 minutes into my journey I realised I may be arriving a few minutes late to the meeting, and so I pulled over to give them a heads-up (at this point I was still going for calm, collected professional!) This is when the universe decided to kick me for the first time. I could not find my mobile. Turns out in my hurry to be on time I had left it sitting on my desk. At this point the panic was rising, however in a ‘gift’ from the universe at least my Sat Nav had decided it was going to work and so began to direct my to my ‘destination’. We arrived at ‘the destination’ in record time in fact I was early for my meeting. It would have been perfect only it wasn’t my location. Taking me to the middle of the area based on post code had landed me in a completely different industrial estate, I had no idea where I was, no idea where I was going and no phone to call anyone for help.

I got out of my car and walking into the nearest office building, where two men were sat talking. I told them I was lost and where I was trying to get and it turned out that I was in completely the wrong part of the city. Luckily the guys did know where I needed to go and so he talked me through the directions and drew me a little map. I asked if I could borrow his phone to call the company and advise them I may be a few minutes late. His reaction was comical; I think he may have been less surprised had I asked if I could eat his head. He spluttered out I was only a few minutes away and it wouldn’t take me long, but I kinda pushed the point a little and finally he conceded. Message about my delayed arrival left I thanked the two guys and flew out of their office. Back to the car and set off on the journey. I remembered the first few roundabouts fine but on approaching a set of traffic lights and being unsure as to whether I should go straight on or turn left I reached for the map he had drawn… only I couldn’t find it. I am certain I had it in my hand when I left the offices, but I still have no idea what has happened to it. I cannot find it in my car!

I went with my gut and headed straight across. At the next traffic lights I thought my luck had changed; there was a sign to the industrial estate I needed – I was saved! Or not.

Turns out after the sign telling me to turn left there were no other signs. I creeped along, annoying all the drivers behind me (side note: does anyone else think we should have those flashy message things on our back windscreens that the police have? I would love to be able to flash up signs that said “sorry, I know I’m being annoying but I’m lost” or “I’m driving extremely slowly as I am trying not to run out of petrol before I reach the petrol station as I didn’t have as much fuel as I thought” Just me?)  looking for the sign for the industrial estate – I remembered the guy in the office saying it would appear out of no where in this little housing estate, that I would think I had gone wrong and then it would just appear on my left. I saw a courtyard and looked around (to my left) for the sign. I couldn’t see anything telling me this was anything other than a group of houses and so I pressed on. I assumed that if this was the place I could just double back. I got to the end of the road and realised that the courtyard I had seen had to be the place so did a U-turn and set off back down the road. A man jumped in front of my car waving his arms.

Genuinely, this man went mental getting me to stop my car. I wound down the window and looked at him.; turns out it was a one way street.

I asked him for directions to get back to the beginning of the system and was told I had to go “left, then right, then second left, the another right, over the river…” I think it was about here I lost the will to live!

I would like to tell you that I followed his directions and found the place; bet your not surprised to learn I didn’t.

I gave up and went back to a section of road and knew and found my way back in, only this time pulling into the courtyard.

I was quite impressed to only finally arrive 10 minutes late for the meeting, and although I didn’t share the full horror that I had getting there sharing some of the story certainly broke the ice.

However, the best bit and probably the bit that will have jumped out to the people who I told this story to… turns out the industrial estate is in fact extremely well sign posted and on my way around the one way system for the second time I noticed a lovely large sign point directly at the courtyard; on the right!

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I’m back! (and very unoriginal as apparently this is my 3rd post entitled I’m back!)

Ok, so I will admit I was away slightly longer than I expected, I was intended on being back about 2 days ago but the motivation wasn’t there. Well that’s not completely true, more the one thing I really wanted to say I couldn’t (not yet) and so I needed to wait for inspiration to strike. I know I have a few posts that are needed (I am thinking of you) and I have a review to write but to be honest getting the house right is taking priority and so they are on my newly created ‘to-blog list.’ (Well, not really a list more a nagging feeling following me around!) Anyway, I am sure you will want to know what I have been up to whilst I was AWOL (warning, if you don’t stop reading now!)

Firstly, I had the most lovely day of rest and relaxation with a very dear friend of mine. Overall the day was lovely and it was the brilliant way to start my break. I was a little worried before going as this dear friend is a, ‘in-law’ relation of the ex, and I didn’t want there to be a whole load of weirdness. I knew there wouldn’t be with her, but I was a little concerned about other family members. I was an idiot to be worried. They continue to be lovely people and I am pleased that a friendship of many years has not had to be lost as a result of the split! And i got to play with their new puppy!!!

Slightly disappointingly my newly zenned state lasted until exactly 11am the morning after my relaxing day when I got into my car to find out my sat nav was playing up and refused to lead me home. So after turning it on and off repeatedly, playing with it, pleading with it, threatening it and swearing at it I decided I was a competent single lady and I would use my gut and find my way home without the b*%£dy thing. I think the error may have been deciding I was too cleave for my own good and decided to exit by the bottom of their road rather than the top way the sat nav brought me in. After 20 minutes of slowing at every junction to ‘follow my gut’, congratulating myself  after every ‘correct turn’ and announcing to no-one in particular that “I was a genius” …..I was slightly miffed to find myself yet again back at the top of their road.

I quickly found the sat nav, appologised for everything I had said and was over joyed when this time the sat nav decided to help me out.

The next two days were spent busy with house work. ….

I now have a kitchen…..

with work surfaces…….

and a sink…….

and a working tap……

and a working shower……

and almost fully painted……

I am falling in love with my little place more and more every day and I have now reached a ‘second-level’ of decorating where I am now sorting all the little none essentials but nice to have like doors, door surrounds, complete skirting boards. It’s all very exciting!

 

Drive by

At 11pm last night I was driving down a major motorway near to my house pondering if my small car is bullet proof as you do. Do not worry though this isn’t some sort of newly discovered fascination with bullets more the logical conclusion of a thought process which had started early that journey.
So I must have you on the edge of the seat wondering what event had trigged this thought process. Well, wait for it…I flashed my lights at a car coming in the other direction when they put their full beams back on to full half way up a hill.

Ok, for those of you whose minds do not put two and two together and come up with ‘I’m going to be murdered as I drive’ I will explain the slightly longer thought process with you….

I was driving down a country lane, about 10.20pm and it was night. There were various twists, turns and hills and it was on one particular hill that the approaching car did something peculiar which resulted in me flashing my lights at them.

Then I remembered the story of the ‘gang killings’ when the ‘victim’ was chosen by driving around at night with lights off and the first person to ‘flash’ them became their victim. Now I know that this car did have lights on, but things evolve don’t they?!

I looked behind me, and for the first time in the journey I spotted headlights in my rear mirror. Proof, they had turned round and I was now their intended victim. So I started playing through scenarios in my head. My first assumption was they would probably kill me with a knife, and so there was no way I was going back to my house alone, so I came up with a plan. If they followed me all the way to my front door, which was still a little while away so would give them time to turn off and continue on their journey as they were not a gang trying to murder me find a new victim, I would call the ex.

Can we stop the story here for a second? The ex did not spring to mind because of any sort of ‘knight in shining armour’ idea, or because I wanted to see him but because due to his job he has various skills and contacts and so would be of the most use at this moment. Ok, back to the story.

So I had a plan. I would call him and then head to his place where he could disarm the crazed killer and then I would say thank you very much and head home to water my garden.

But as we approached the motorway I had a worrying thought. We are always hearing about how gun crime is now heading across to the UK from the US, what if they intended shooting me?

I would like to say that as I pulled onto the slip way I did not think “oh well, at least my sister is expecting a phone call from me when I’m back safely so they won’t wait too long before finding my body” and I did not hunker down in my car a little and ponder the bullet proofness of my car when the car pulled out to overtake me.

Good job I don’t have an overactive imagination right?!

An ‘eventful’ trip (part 3)

I still don’t quite know how we managed it – someone must have been looking out for us – but we found the place we had been heading to. However I was proven right, the very pretty old school house was not the venue for our weekend away.

Just as I was considering if we could feasibly stop the night in the car (and mentally deciding if I liked my friend enough to share my sleeping bag with her) I noticed a member of staff. I jumped out the car and ran at the poor unsuspecting man. He got the full story with both barrels. In about 2 seconds flat I explained that we were lost, had no phones, no-one knew where we were, bits had fallen off the car, that I couldn’t find flowers….the whole lot came tumbling out.

When he composed himself having gotten over the shock of a crazy person, leaping out of a car and running at him like a woman possessed he explained that the venue we wanted was only about 2 miles away and if we followed him into the office he would draw us a map. I could have hugged him, in fact I would have hugged him but I suspect I had already seriously freaked him out.  We both followed him into the office, he got out a plan piece of A4 paper and a pen, looked at my friend, looked at me, looked back at my friend, looked back at me and then announced “I’ll get my keys, it’ll be easier if I just take you!

We climbed back into our car over joyed that our luck had changed. We excitedly chatted about our ‘character building’ journey and congratulated ourselves on making it through alive. We commented on the fact that the guy was lovely and laughed that he could clearly tell we had lost the will to live and sending us off with a map would have had disastrous results. We commented on and were slightly amused that he didn’t seem to do any of the normal things drivers do when being followed by another driver, you know thinks like driving slowly or indicating where you are turning. We commented on how the route he was taking us on seemed to be slightly longer than 2 miles and that judging by the number of turns and twisty little roads we had taken we would have never found the place by ourselves. We commented on the dark woods that we seemed to be driving into. We commented on the fact that this guy knew that we were lost, that we had no means of communicating anyone, that no-one knew where we were, that no one had an ETA for us at the venue, and even if they had done we were hours late on that already. We commented on the fact we were following an unknown stranger into a deep, dark wood….

The one reassuring thought I had as we were heading down this lane, into the woods was “you don’t have to be able to out run the danger….. just out the person you are with.”  However this was short lived when I remembered my friend is currently in training to do a running event at the end of the year whereas I need to go for a lie down at the thought of going for a run…….. Sh1t!

I have to agree!
I have to agree!

It might amuse you to know that later, when we recanted the story to the party goers having arrived safely at the destination, one of the guest turned to me and said “in that situation you should have just knee-capped her and then you would have been safe.” Which amused me.

What amused me more was my friend questioning why, if anyone was getting knee capped it had to be her and not the gentleman we would have both been running away from!!!

An ‘eventful’ trip (part 2)

So I would not blame you for assuming that yesterdays post, which ended with us pulling back onto the motorway would have been then end of the ‘eventful’ trip. However you would be wrong….. oh so wrong!!

To begin with here is the photo of our repair from yesterdays post, which for some stupid reason would not work yesterday.

not a bad job!
not a bad job!

 

So we pulled back onto the motorway, resumed our harmonized singing to Les Mis and carried on our own sweet way, congratulation ourselves for being so resourceful. Everything was going pretty well until the time came to pull off the motorway and start the serous navigation to the venue. It was at this moment that a red flashing light appeared on my friends phone, indicating that our sat nav would soon be dead, followed be a second red flashing light on my own phone. This meant that soon we would be not only lost  but completely without any way of contacting anybody.

We could vaguely remember the name of the town and street we thought this place was on (although I was still unsure this was the right place we were heading) but my eternally optimistic friend (seriously she is – she has been tested) assured me everything would be ok. She seemed quite happy taking it all in her stride, while I started looking at the local pubs to decided if any of them looked friendly enough that we could walk in buy a drink and put our phones on charge for half an hour….or stop the night.

It was about this time we remembered that just before setting off we had been asked to turn up with a large bunch of flowers as an additional gift for the birthday girl. I don’t quite know the logic we used to decided that rather than going to any of the local supermarkets that we knew, it would be a better idea to find on en route so we didn’t have to detour. I think we both had visions of driving past a massive supermarket, being all shiny and new and having much more variety than any of our local chains. However the reality, which we had both forgotten, was we were driving from a town to spend the weekend in a bunk barn in the country. There were no big supermarkets…there were no shops. In desperation we ended up pulling into any gas station we came across and spending 5 minutes trying to decide if any of the half dead flowers could be bunched together to create one super, expensive looking bunch. Clearly lunacy had set in as I offered to get very creative and started looking for foliage which I could forage to include in the bouquet. yes, I had no scissors, I had no wrappy stuff and yet I was going to cut down parts of trees and create a super bouquet?!

After about 6 shops we settled on a bunch that looked ok, got back into the car, drove down the road for about 5 minutes and drove past a  rather large, very grand looking supermarket  – at that point I may have uttered some words not to be repeated on this blog!

We were now running at least an hour behind schedule. The journey should have only taken us 1.5 hours and we were quickly approaching a total journey time, including stopping to gaze at flowers, of about 3 hours. I suggested to my friend that we tried to turn on her phone to see if, now we were closer, we could find enough battery to take us to our destination. I have never been so pleased to see a phone spring back to life. I was slightly less pleased when I realised that we had driven past the turning to the place we needed about half an hour earlier – grrr! We started retracing our steps to find the turning. Knowing we had limited time I desperately tried to remember the names of the roads we had to turn down, and whether we needed to turn left or right.

Somewhere down the first road the phone died for good.

An ‘eventful’ trip

It started off well; in fact it started off extremely well. My friend was uber prepared and so had checked her tyre pressure and the oil level in her car. So thorough was her ‘car checking’ routine, that when she told her husband she wasn’t 100% certain of the oil level in her car, he went out to recheck it.

However, the preparation, forward planning and everything else fell out of the window pretty much as  soon as we had pulled shut the car doors and my friend turned to me and said “so do you know where we are going?!” Those of you who know me will not be surprised to learn that I didn’t have a clue where we were going and the best advice I could offer was “South…I think”. Part of this lack of planning is mine, I am an adult, had the same information and so could have easily found the address and directions, however, as she had volunteered to drive I had decided this meant I could shirk all responsibilities and just sit back and sing along to her cd so I had nothing nothing but over pack my little heart out- oh well lesson learnt.

About 10 minutes after saying good bye to her husband, he was slightly surprised to find us both still sat on the driveway, desperately searching Google, Facebook and our Emails to find out not only the venue of the birthday weekend away, but also any sort of a hint as to how to get there. He did ask us if we wanted to go in, use the computer and print off the instructions… I want to tell you that that was what we did, boy do I wish I could tell you that. Instead, we found a postcode for a building which ‘managed’ the bunk barn we were spending the weekend in, plomped the address into my friends phone/sat nav and sat off on our journey.

Things were going well, the weather was horrible in some places but overall we were happy. We were both singing along to Les Misérables and on occasions even managed some pretty decent harmonies when suddenly there was a bang. Looking out of my window I saw some black plastic flapping in the wind, banging into the side of the car. I assured my friend that whatever it was looked firmly attached (if you over look the half hanging off thing obviously) and told her she should take the next available exit and we would find somewhere safe to pull over and take a proper look.

Pulling off the motorway, we flucked out when we found a car park to pull into. I will admit that we did fluke across the car park we ended up in, and we turned into it by accident while trying to locate a second car park that we could see but not access. Anyway, car parked and we both climbed out to admire the damage. After a little bit of a tug, we realised that we could not remove said black plastic thing without properly buggering it and so I suggested we tried to unscrew the ‘cross-headed screw’ which was holding the black plastic in place. Of course I could identify the type of screw because I am all proficient in DIY and the likes, my friend pulled out her best tweezers (it was all we had) and tried to unscrew the screw which turned out to be an alan key (in my defence I haven’t used one of those in my house, so why I should I know what one is – hell i don’t even know if I am spelling it right in here!!)

Desperate to redeem myself, I headed off to a recycling section i saw hoping that someone would have disregarded a bit of string which we could use to tie the bit of plastic back onto the car (having realised removing it wasn’t an option!). I was very pleased to stumble across a long thin bit of white plastic which did the job, and with some sellotape found in the back of my friends car (why not) the job was a carrot as they say.

(there should be a picture here but my computer doesn’t want you to see it for some reason – grr at technology!! Please use your imagination)

 

We cleaned our hands with windscreen wipes (yes, she has sellotape but no handwipes or antiseptic rub) and headed back onto the motorway.