Step by step

I have been very lax in posting on here since Christmas. In the main part this is due to the new venture I have joined Owl in. He has not worked for coming up to 3 years now and all our reserves have slipped away for one reason or another. I was getting stressed about how we were going to manage without enough money. Whilst looking for work Owl came across an opportunity which he thought might be right up his street. To be honest it is right up many streets, and back again. Many times.

So, back in November Owl took the first steps to joining this new business venture where you can be in business for yourself but not alone. I was to be brutally truthful very very sceptical about the whole thing. The basics of this opportunity are that you deliver catalogues to households in your neighbourhood then a day later go back and collect them. The idea being that the householders will look at these catalogues, decide that they need some of the items shown even though they didn’t previously know that they needed these things. They place an order with you which you send off and when the goods arrive you take them to your new customers and collect their money. You get to keep a percentage of these payments as your profit.

Owl had just got to grips with the concept of this when he was encouraged to start selling online as well. Now this is not something that Owl was keen on himself but I could see the potential and this is when I had my ‘I get it’ moment. So I joined the business along side my husband. He would walk around the streets with his catalogues and I would sit at home (when I wasn’t at work) and sell online through facebook groups. This seemed to be quite easy and I got hooked. I would sit for hours making ads and posting them online, Sometimes I found it difficult to keep track of the number of people interested in what I was selling.

After Christmas we all had the good news that a new catalogue with branded items had been launched. Selling went through the roof for some. More local distributors began selling online and I found it harder to sell locally online. I needed to cast my net further afield. I was a little worried about this at first as it means getting people to pay up front for their purchases, but it is actually very easy. We have had a steady increase in customers through our catalogue drops, we can see the potential in this venture. We have made some really great new friends and see the things they have acheived. We want to be where they are, I have no doubts that it will happen for us.

I had been getting ever more frustrated that Owl, although he gets what he needs to do is just taking so long to do anything that rather than moaning that he wasn’t getting his catalogues out/or picking them up, I began going out there (it’s much better now the weather has improved). Sometimes I manage to get Owl to come with me delivering or picking up. Other times he is too busy doing whatever he is doing so I go alone.

Now I am by no means fit, my walking isn’t what you would call fast. However I am getting out in the fresh air, I am picking up orders, my stamina is gradually building up. Life is looking not exactly bright but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately all the time I am preparing catalogues or out delivering etc it has meant I have less time for selling online.

I am trying to view my online selling as an added bonus to the catalogue selling. One other thing that has come about in the last few days. For several years I had been using my mobile phone as a pedometer and used this daily, each day trying to beat my number of steps from the previous day. I had stopped doing this early last year, as I was finding that more and more often my steps were not recording and also my battery was constantly running down.

Anyway I digress, as often happens. Last week whilst out with the catalogues, I realised that I really ought to be keeping a log of how much walking I am doing. Last weekend on my birthday I reinstalled the App that I had previously installed on my phone. Having mentioned this to a colleague who is trying to lose weight I helped her to install a pedometer App onto her phone (not the same one, as she has a different make of phone) shortly after another colleague asked me to help her set he phone up too. Now both these ladies have dogs so they have regular dog walks to keep their steps going. I don’t have a dog but I do have catalogues. Now I am making every step count.

Yesterday my lovely Statto and the gorgeous Miss Effervecence were visiting, I took them for a walk in our local park before going out to pick up catalogues. This meant that I smashed my average steps of around 7 or 8 thousand and managed a whopping (for me 12000).

Now I am home from work and Owl has gone out delivering catalogues on his own as I wasn’t quite ready to go out. So instead of going out increasing my physical steps I am making steps to increase my online selling.

Craving and no I am not pregnant

It was Friday evening and I had a sudden craving for sausage and chips from the chip shop. Now we very very rarely go to the chip shop. I think we have probably only done this about four times in the two and half years since we moved to this house. I decided to combine my taxi service of picking up Skater from the station with a trip to one of the chip shops in the area. There is one in one of the housing estates between the station and home, we would go there.

As I was driving towards the shop I could see that there were no available parking spaces, I figured that I would drive a bit further along the road and turn around to find somewhere to park. The couple of cars driving right behind me meant that instead I continued driving and ended up leaving the estate altogether. Never mind I would go to the one that I pass on my way to and from work. This is the one we have used before.

‘Oh no!’ there is nowhere to park here either, Ok, we can go to the parade of shops at the end of this long road. There is a decent car park there. ‘What! I don’t believe it. I have never seen this car park so full.’

I managed to park half on the curb at the far end of the car park. Leaving Skater in the car I walk to the small chip shop in the parade. I have never seen such a small chippy, barely room for a single line on people. I couldn’t tell which end of the shop the queue started. I stood in the doorway looking up at the meagre menu on the wall. I might be craving chips but I didn’t fancy getting anything from this establishment.

I decided to continue my search. There is another chippy on one of the main roads not far from where I now was. So a few minutes later I pulled up outside the popular chippy we had gone to once before when the lads and their girlfriends were with us. I remember that service had taken an absolute age on that occasion last spring. Here I see that the only place to stop is in the bus lay by. I know I shouldn’t park here and Skater is not happy with me for doing so. As I pull out from behind the camper bvan taking up the majority of the bus stop I see a car pulling out of a space a few yards ahead.

Damn, before I can get there another vehicle slides into the space from the other direction. Why oh why does everyone else want chips on the one occasion I have this craving. I could give up and go home, we do have food I could cook, but no I must satisfy this craving. On we go, where to next? Maybe I shall have to go into the town centre there is sure to be somewhere there in the parades near to the station. An area I have only visited a few times. We are nearing the town’s college where both Statto and Pug studied for their A’levels. If I go along the road that passes the college entrance I know there is a small parade of shops up there, I wonder would there be a chippy there?

Oh great, I have finally found a chippy with parking spaces outside. Going into the shop I place my order, hand the girl who is serving, my debit card. They only take cash, I have no cash on me! I tell the girl I will be back. The nearest place to get cash is back where I had earlier stopped in the packed car park. This time there are a couple of spaces. I have to struggle to get out of my door as there is not enough room. There is a convenience shop in the corner which has a cash machine. I wait impatiently for the guy who is composing a whole album on the buttons of the machine. Finally he is finished and I can pay £1.75 for the privilege of taking out my own money. This done we drive back to collect our dinner. By now I am beginning to think that after all this running around in my quest to satisfy my craving, I will find that I don’t actually enjoy it once I get to eat it. I needn’t have worried though.

I actually did enjoy my food and felt that driving around for almost an hour had been worth it in the end.

 

 

Where did my dad go?

On our recent visit to London to see Statto and Miss Effervecence, I was standing on the pavement with Skater, whilst our host and hostess made a few purchases from a store near to the station.  We were chatting about this and that when the peace was broken. Inside the shop a man was being abusive to a member of staff. His stream of abuse was uncalled for and a security man did his best to usher the man out onto the street. It didn’t take long for this man to return to the store only to be ejected once again. At this point a couple of obviously homeless people were passing and the woman persuaded the ejected man to follow them. Her partner was busy picking up dog ends from the pavement. (This action amazed Skater more than the abusive guy).

A few moments later Statto and Miss Effervecence emerged with their shopping. To my amazement Statto asked.

‘Where did my dad go?’

Now I know exactly what he was really saying. His dad was not in London at the time (as far as I am aware). However the abusive guy who was obviously drunk was behaving in a way that Statto had witnessed from his own father many times over the years. I had also recognised the paranoid behaviour of the drunk, believing that they were being insulted when they weren’t. It reminded me of one particular summer evening years ago.

I had dutifully collected my drunken husband from the local pub, bundled him into our car and driven him home. Our house was not situated directly beside a road, we had a public footpath to negotiate before reaching our own garden path. The public footpath ran along the side of my friends’ back garden. It was a hot summer evening and our friends were sat in their garden with other friends having a laugh. Considering that the garden in which this group of friends were enjoying their evening together, has a 6′ brick wall around it, they would not have been aware that we were passing by.

However on hearing laughter my husband in his drunken state believed that they were laughing at him. This led to his agitation, causing a string of curses and threats to beat up anyone who was laughing at him. Now I know for a fact that his presence had gone unnoticed by the group within the walled garden. Although I am sure that had they seen the way my husband was stumbling all over the place including falling into the rose bush at the side of their driveway, then they would certainly have laughed.

In his drunken state my husband was convinced that he was being insulted and was determined to punch anyone who was insulting him. No amount of cajoling could convince him that nobody was either laughing at him or wanting to fight him.

I have noticed over the years that it is not unusual for someone under the influence of drink to imagine that someone has insulted them. Now that I am aware of my current husband’s drink problem, I can see that this has been part of the problem when he has imagined insults by family and others, where no insult was intended.

Drink has a lot to answer to.

I am just grateful that my four sons have all grown up to be, not tea total, but moderate drinkers. They all enjoy a drink from time to time but none of them are heavy drinkers.

 

 

Day tripping

Yesterday I took Skater on a day trip to Hertfordshire. Not your usual destination for a day trip, I know. We had an important reason for going. This was to be the start of Skater’s new future. We were visiting The University of Hertfordshire which happens to be in the small town of Hatfield. This was my second visit there as I was also there three years ago with Pug.  We set off at 6.45am (on a Saturday! criminally early) in the rain. Luckily the National Car Park that is M25 was the clearest I have ever seen it. We made good time and were parked and registered by 9am.

We listened to 3 different talks during the morning, explored some of the campus including the all important Student Forum where the live music shows are held. We were filling in time until the subject talks began but my son was getting bored, we managed to have a look at the TV and Film studio which was what he really wanted to see. Skater satisfied by what he had seen was ready to hit the road back home. We came across congestion between junctions 13 and 11 on M25 but otherwise the journey was good.

Today was a different type of day trip even though my companion was Skater again. This time we were travelling by train, I sent a text to Statto to let him know which train we were on. We had no idea whether he would be meeting us at the station or did he expect us to find our own way to his flat? An hour and 42 minutes later we arrived and there he was waiting at the barrier. He led us across the concourse towards a well known book/stationery store where he had left Miss  Effervecence.

Setting off on foot we walked past The National Theatre National Theatre From there we walked along the river bank towards the OXO Tower. Oxo Tower We were almost there. Turning down a walk way we were soon greeting the concierge of the block of flats where Statto now lives. Once in the flat we were given the grand tour and a much needed cup of tea. We were given a delicious roast chicken dinner. It was amusing to see my son carving up the meat but I am sure practice will make a difference.

After our meal we went out for a walk. Back on the south bank we continued east. Among the sights we saw were The Tate Modern The Tate Modern and who could miss the sight of Shakespear’s Globe Theatre. The Globe Theatre   Southwark bridgeUsing the Southwark bridge we crossed to the north of the river. Soon we were into almost familiar territory for me. A lot has changed since I worked in The City in the early 1980s. If we had turned east we would have been going towards the area I had known all those years ago. Instead we turned west towards St Paul’s Cathedral. St Paul's   St Paul's steps Heading back towards the South Bank I stopped to take a few photos from the north bank. London Eye  CIT tower You can’t see it but the flat is in a block right behind the SEA Containers building, right next to the cranes you can see. We had almost reached the safety of the flat when it began to rain. By the time Skater and I left Statto and Miss Effervecence the heavens had opened and we had to dash to the station, splashing through the many puddles.

By the time we reached home a little after 9pm my legs were beginning to feel the effects of so much unaccustomed walking.

I really enjoyed my day out as did Skater, tomorrow I shall pay for the punishment I have put my little legs through, but as I have a day off from work I am not too worried.

 

Boxes

Today I am thinking about boxes.

Today Statto and Miss Effervescence are moving into their new home together. They will be sharing a flat in London with a friend of Statto’s from school (Skye) and his girlfriend Kat. I hope that the four of them enjoy their new life together in The Big Smoke. I spoke to Statto briefly a few days ago, he was getting quite excited and had done his packing. So I expect that he is now surrounded by boxes. I have had a box of his belongings, in the back of my car for the last year, since he moved into the house he has been sharing with friends for the last year. This box (I have never delved into it to see the contents) contains items (including family photos) that he had with him at University. Statto will be the third out of my four sons to have moved home in the last four weeks.

Today my living/dining room is littered with boxes. But these boxes are different to the ones Statto will have. These are box files. A few months ago I got fed up with our filing system which consisted of piles and piles of papers all over the office. Owl began to sort the papers into piles.Office So one day I gathered up all the piles and filed them into  boxes according to what went together (in my mind).box files There were some things that I didn’t file as they didn’t quite fit any of the categories I had sorted. Owl in the mean time (being a graphic designer by trade) had decided to design labels for the box files. It took him a long time (several months) to get all the graphics exactly how he wanted them. I could never do what he did, I wouldn’t have had the patience to spend so long on it even if I had the know how.

Finally the graphics were completed, with the utmost of care they were then applied to the spine of each box. The boxes were then transferred to the office shelf where I was sent to admire his work. filed The graphics are brilliant but what I hear you ask are the pink heart shaped post it notes stuck on each box? When I looked at the inspired graphics I had to write out my own translation of what should be in each box. Unfortunately, Owl’s idea of what should be in each box didn’t quite tally with mine.

I have been putting off, what I knew would be a mammoth task, checking each box to ensure that they all contained what the label said should be in them.

Because I have advertised my beautiful car for sale. my carwe spent yesterday making sure that all the paperwork was together. Most of it was but we couldn’t find the latest MOT certificate. There were box files on the dining table, coffee table, dining chairs and sofa. One by one I went through each file, whilst Owl went through stacks of loose papers. This was when I discovered that when Owl labelled the boxes he didn’t look inside them. He just stuck labels on random boxes. I don’t think any of the labels had any relevance to the contents. After about four hours the missing MOT certificate was located. It wasn’t in the box file for Car documents or the one for car insurance. It wasn’t in the one for utility bills or the one for bank statements it was in a file marked up for general household things.

At this moment in time I would say that two thirds of our paperwork is now filed properly.  Later after I have finished working in the kitchen and the house is filled with the aromas of bleach and baking, I shall get around to completing the task of filing all our papers so that I can lay my hands on anything easily.

Once this has been achieved the files can go back into the now tidy office which Owl worked on a few days ago. I don’t believe it has been so tidy since we moved in. office Not only can we now see the floor, I can now also see and best of all actually get to my desk.my desk

Now before I do anything else I shall just check what new emails are in my  Inbox. Then I shall be all boxed out.

I used to be a mummy

I used to be a mummy to four little rug rats (Prodigal, Statto, Pug and Skater). These little boys would run rings around their mummy. I always felt that I must be a bad mummy as I couldn’t control my brood. They never did what I said, they thought my living room was a) a football pitch, b) a wrestling ring.

Sometimes they were so naughty that I would stand in the middle of the room and scream. That got their attention for a while. Other times I would put on my coat and shoes and walk out of the door saying good bye. They would come running after me. ‘Mummy mummy don’t go, we will be good.’

Whenever I mentioned to anyone that I didn’t think I was very good at being a mummy, I was told that I was a very good mummy. When we were out my boys were well behaved and polite. Even our neighbours thought I was bringing up my boys well unlike the screeching noisy girls that lived next door to us.

There were times when half the neighbourhood’s children were in my house/garden. There were also times when I would walk to the local park with a string of children following me, rather like mother duck with all her ducklings.

Then after I recovered from Cancer I didn’t know how long I would be around for my boys so I got involved in the football club that they belonged to. By then I was more Mum than Mummy.  Not only did I have my own boys but their friends too. My car was always full of teen aged boys covered in mud, smelling of sweat.

I dreaded the teenage years, tantrums and strops. They never happened though. I believe it was because I spent my evenings talking to Prodigal then a few years later Statto, then Pug  and Skater. I learnt about the music that they liked/played. I learnt about all the football clubs in the Premiership, who the players were, who the managers were and what the grounds were called.

During the difficult period when I was divorcing the other parent, my boys became my support. They protected me from the abuse I was subjected to. My boys were growing up.

Now three of my boys are living else where. They have partners, they don’t need a Mummy any more. However they do all still love their Mum.

 

Going on the road

This morning I shall be setting off with Owl to visit his sister and her husband. We are both looking forward to seeing them. It will be my first visit to The Peak District, although I have previously visited a friend who I met through blogging a few years ago, who lives on the edge of the Peak District.

To get there I shall be spending quite a while on the A34. I shall be interested to see how the landscape has changed since the demolition of three of the cooling towers at Didcot.

Although there are several routes I could take to get to and from my sister in law’s place it is likely that I shall use theA34 on the return home in a few days time. Then guess what I shall be doing in a week’s time. Yes I shall be back on the A34 taking Pug back to Oxford where he will be moving into a shared house with friends from Uni. If we have room in the car Skater will be going with us so that he can stay with his brother for a few days before heading off to Reading Festival the following weekend.

Also going on the road this weekend albeit a different road, Prodigal and his merry band New Desert Blues will be performing at Boardmasters Festival where they will be playing on the same stage as George Ezra.

Not on the road but travelling by train Statto and Miss Effervecence will be visiting us on Thursday 🙂

 

D is for daughter

I have been feeling the need to write something new on here. What could I write about? I didn’t have a clue, then I remembered that back in February 2013 I came up with the idea, following something that Pete Denton had written. Whenever I don’t have a subject to write about I will take the next letter of the alphabet and write a post using that letter. Starting with this post here then going on to letters B and C. Now comes the turn of D. Each time I said to myself D is for … I just kept coming up with the word Daughter. Why could that be? There are many other words I could have chosen but Daughter is the one that I keep hearing in my mind.

Daughter, well I am one. I hope I am a good one although I have never been the perfect daughter, I do try to be the best that I can be. I see some of my friends posting messages to their wonderful daughters on facebook. I don’t have any daughters of my own. I do have one step daughter though, Missy M. Over the last few years since I met Owl, I have had many skype chats with Missy M (who lives in California with her mother and brother and their new family). Last year I was lucky enough to spend two weeks in California for our honeymoon. During that time we spent several days with Missy M, which enabled me to get to know my new step daughter without having a computer screen between us. Five weeks later Missy M and family were in the UK for three weeks so again we were able to spend time with them.

I particularly enjoyed her first visit to our home. She was amazed to see so many things that were familiar to her as well as things that were new to her. She loved our home, she also got on well with my sons, now her step brothers. Poor girl now has one brother and six step brothers and one step sister. Its a good thing that both her parents were past having new babies with their new partners.

I have also come to the realisation in recent months that although none of my boys have married they do have girlfriends who they feel will be their life partners. Prodigal and Model have been together for 10.5 years and although they don’t have that piece of paper that makes it official they are in a committed relationship. I guess that makes Model my daughter in law in all but name.  In a few weeks time Prodigal and Model are moving to London with two of their friends. The house/flat viewings begin this week. Prodigal will be able to get more work in London and hopefully Model will find more opportunities in the fashion industry once they are in the big smoke.

Statto and his girlfriend (who has just qualified as a primary school teacher) will also begin viewings for a new home together, with another couple, in south London, in a few weeks. Whilst Statto and Miss Effervescent have been together a little under a year they already believe that they are a match made in chemistry.

Not to be out done by his elder brothers, Pug and his Princess, have plans to live together next year (their third year at Uni). This year they feel they must concentrate on their studies. They will be living in different student houses in Oxford this year but still try to spend time together when they are neither studying nor working. He has no doubts that Princess will one day become his wife.

It seems that although I don’t have any daughters I do have three young ladies, whom I can consider to be my daughters in law. Not forgetting the lovely Missy M who is my step daughter.

I hope that in the years to come I shall get on as well with my ‘daughters’ as my mother does with my sisters in law.

Update

it is now April 2020

Prodigal and Model are now living in Brighton with their baby daughter

Statto and Miss Effervecent now own their own flat in North London where they live with their toddler son who is going to be a very grown up 2 year old next week. Oh and they got married 6 months ago.

Pug has not been with his Princess for a few years now but still lives in Oxford

Skater has been with his girlfriend miss cadbury since they began University they have now been in their flat near the seaside for nearly 2 years.

The long night

It was a long trip to London, considering that we are only 73 miles from our destination. First we had to head in the wrong direction to pick up Skater’s two mates Luke and Dom. By the time we were on our way we were only just ahead of the rush hour traffic. Because we were going in the opposite direction to most of the traffic we didn’t hit any hold ups until we reached Guildford, it was a slow crawl most of the way from there. I had decided (at Statto’s suggestion) to drive to Morden where we could then get the underground to Kings Cross which is just 5 minute walk from the church we were going to. Having left home at 4pm we reached Morden just on 7pm. By which time both Skater and I were desperate to find restrooms. Driving through busy traffic in the dark looking for somewhere to park proved to be beyond my ability.

Failing to find anywhere near to the station to park we ended up in South Wimbledon, one of the lads managed to find a car park on their phone gps. Following their directions I found myself attempting to drive along residential roads with vehicles parked on both sides making for slow progress especially when we came face to face or rather headlights to headlights at a stand off with oncoming vehicles. Who would give in and back up? I was driving our 4 x 4 Chevrolet Blazer but don’t have the confidence to back up in a straight line for 100m without hitting anything especially in the dark in unfamiliar surroundings. Both of us had stopped but just as I was throwing my vehicle into reverse we saw that our adversary was flashing his lights at us. Cautiously I crept forward until I found a gap in the parked cars on my left, sliding half into the gap there was just enough room for the other car to pass by. No sooner had I begun to tug the wheel to the right but another car appeared at the end of the road. This one obviously had no intention of waiting so I had no choice but to sit tight until the road ahead was clear for me to swing out and continue on my way.

It was probably another 5 minutes before we found the car park, only to discover that it was completely full. A sharp eyed lad in  the back noticed that someone was returning to their car so a quick circuit of the car park brought us back to the soon to be vacant space. By this time I was becoming desperate to relieve my bladder, from his comments I knew that Skater was just as desperate. Following gps we set off at fast walk (fast for me) towards the station and the certainty that we would find toilets at the station. Minutes before we reached the underground station we saw a petrol station on the other side of the road. Assuming that the petrol station shop would have public toilets, we crossed the road and trooped inside. Making a circuit of the shop it quickly became apparent that this might be a convenience store but there were no conveniences. Setting off again we soon saw the underground sign ahead of us.

At last we were there, pushing buttons on the closest ticket machine I attempted to purchase 4 tickets as speedily as I could standing there with my legs crossed hoping for relief once we were through the barriers and down the ceramic tile walled stairs. It was with dismay that we realised all that was at the end of the stairs were the two platforms, one for north bound and one south bound trains. we barely had a minute to wait for our train. Being only the second stop on the line the carriage was fairly empty so the four of us were able to find seats together. It is funny (or at least I thought so) that my three teenage companions who had chatted non stop for 3.5 hours, hardly uttered a word between them for the entire 40 minutes we were rattling along below the streets of London. The closer we got to the City the more crowded the carriage became and it was noticeable that the casual dress of earlier travellers was changing to more formal workwear.

Finally we exited our carriage at Kings Cross and made our way as rapidly as we could up the numerous stairs and escalators to find our way out onto the street. Still we had not found any public conveniences. Trying to work out which direction we needed to follow we spotted a MacDonalds restaurant on a nearby street corner. A  consultation resulted in agreement that a quick pee break followed by a burger was in order. As we stood on the corner of the street waiting to get to the other side and relief it felt like an eternity before the traffic stopped to let us cross. As soon as we had crossed the road the three lads disappeared up the stairs to the gents. I followed as quickly as I could up the stairs to the ladies.  Once there the flood gates opened, I was beginning to think they were not going to stop.

Back downstairs I bought chicken burgers for myself and Skater, the other two lads were already eating their food. I text Statto to let him know we were in the area, he replied that the first act had already finished and Prodigal would soon be on stage. Chivvying the lads out of the door we strode off (they strode, I trotted) as fast as my little legs would move along the west side of St Pancras International station towards the Old Church where New Desert Blues would be performing. I have never seen such an endless queue of waiting taxis. Finally we made our way up a set of steps to the church entrance. Luckily it was still the interval, I was greeted by Statto, I managed to find a chair and sat at the side of the crowd leaving Skater and friends chatting with Statto.

I didn’t have long to compose myself before my son and his fellow band members were on stage. I really enjoyed the show that the put on for us. I felt that the use of this old church was an inspired venue. I loved the shadows on the walls and ceiling thrown up by the different coloured lights used for each song performed. Here are a few examples.

IMG_1498  IMG_1499  IMG_1503  IMG_1504  IMG_1502   As much as I was enjoying the performance I was still keeping a watch on the time. When we had left the car one of the lads had noticed a sign stating that the Car Park closes at 11pm, this meant that we had to be on our way back by 10pm. I was relieved therefore when the performance ended at 9.45pm but before we could leave there were a number of people I had to speak to. Fellow parents and others I had not seen for years. The last person I managed to speak to was Prodigal (I had already seen his girlfriend and her father). Then began the fast trot back to the station.  We found a quicker route this time and were satisfied with our progress until reaching the ticket barrier where only three of us made it through unimpeded. Panic set in, none of us had any cash on us to buy another ticket and the one Luke had just wasn’t working. He ran to speak to a LT worker who pointed him in the direction of another worker speaking to a woman at the barrier. Luke patiently waited his turn but the woman and the worker walked away from the barrier to a bank of ticket machines. Eventually Luke was let through the barrier and we made our way into the bowels of the station.

A few minutes later we were on the packed train and there was nothing we could do but sit patiently until we reached our station. It was 11pm when we left the station and we still had a 10 minute hike back to the car. There was nothing I could do but walk as quickly as my legs would carry me as tired as I was by then. If I had been religious I would have been praying that the car park would be open. I could almost have let out a whoop whoop when I found that my car was not stuck in a locked car park. I had not been driving for long when I realised that all three lads were asleep.

Of course the drive home was much quicker and easier than the drive there had been. I had got the boys back to their homes and arrived back at our home by 1.05am. The whole trip had taken 9 hours but it had been worth it.