Friday night, October 26 2012. I'm at home on my own. Emma has gone out for a meal with some friends from work. It's the end of the first week of my self-imposed six-week alcohol ban so it is pretty uneventful. I'm watching a documentary about Ronald Reagan (what a bastard he was, by the way) and another about Pablo Escobar (what a total, total bastard he was, by the way).
It's around 8.30. I get a text. It's Emma. Comically, I have left my phone in the car as I write this so I cannot tell you what it said verbatim. I'd been waiting in the car while she did the shopping at Tesco and kept my phone to hand so that I could bollocks about on Facebook to keep me occupied. The car stereo is all very well but if you play it for long enough the car starts beeping at you threateningly, as if the world will come to a screetching halt if you don't just bloody well give the battery a rest.
What I can tell you about the text is that the gist of it was that she would like me to pick her up from Liverpool because she 'might be blotto'. Now you might think this quite ordinary and no good reason to panic, but the last time Emma was 'blotto', without going into detail, was somewhat problematic. Rightly or wrongly I am panicking at this point. I get in the car, lug my chair across my knee, pull up at the local petrol station and wave my badge in the air and point a lot until the nice lady comes out to help me fill the car up, and I'm on my way.
There's a little tension between us because Emma is semi-blotto and I am fearing the worst. Not only that, but she has asked me to meet her at the Adelphi and I've been there for 10 minutes or more before she finally showed. My panic had increased to some other state of uber-panic or something. As it turns out she is not so bad. She's drunk but not in an offensive way and not so much that she will be unable to function properly in the morning. All's well that ends well then?
Well no. Fast forward a week and I arrive home after the aforementioned Tesco vigil to find a letter has arrived from Merseyside Police. Keep in mind at this point that I have been back on the road for 37 days. Thirty. Seven. Days. Not long enough to get myself into any trouble you wouldn't think. And surely I would be especially cautious on all things driving-related after my 11-year driving 'sabbatical' ended so recently? No. I panicked remember. Those wretched Cumberbitches at Merseyside Police inform me that I was driving at 66 mph on the M62 at 9.06pm last Friday. Now that doesn't sound like much of a problem except for the fact that apparently the stretch of the motorway I was flashed on was a 50mph zone. Who knew? The bitter irony in all of this is that I drive that stretch of motorway every day on my way to work. Normally, there is about as much chance of driving at 66mph on that piece of road as there is of Mark Clattenburg going out to dinner with the Mikels. Gridlock is very much the watchword Monday to Friday mornings. Great book Gridlock by the way. By Ben Elton, has a lead character called Geoffrey Spasmo. What could be more splendid?
I tell you what isn't splendid. The fact that now, in order to avoid a fine and to limit the damage to only three penalty points on my still dust-covered license, I am going to have to attend a road safety course. Now I could write an entire blog about how much I hate courses about anything. Normally they are about as useful as self help books and as real and authentic as Bruno Tonioli's face. No doubt my explanation that I was having to stay above 50 to avoid blowing up Sandra Bullock will not wash and I will instead be preached at about my future conduct on the road. After just 37 days. Thirty. Seven Days.
Of course I am not the first person to have been caught by a speed camera. Even my dad, who ordinarily drives at the kind of speeds normally reserved for Noddy and Big Ears was once subjected to a road safety course. Back when I was a student in Barnsley they didn't have such things and my only other driving indisgression was settled by the payment of a fine. I'd be tempted to pay the £60 fine they offer as an alternative on this occasion if it didn't come with a six-point license penalty. Three I can live with, six seems a little too much to bear. Particularly after the day I have had. No check that, the WEEK I have had.
But that's work and we're not allowed or even advised to address that here, lest I be sent on a course to teach me about Social Networking And Blogging Awareness.
So instead I will just finish by saying.....fucking, twatting bollocks!