In my post “The End of the Tour”, I mentioned as I drove out of London after seeing Cher Lloyd play her final night of the ‘Sticks+Stones’ tour that the next time I would see Cher live would be at ‘MFest’ on Saturday 07 June. Yet since then, other dates at other festivals had been announced and I was so happy as this little weekend had filled right up! Now on the Friday Cher would play at ‘Tea in the Park’ near Kinross in Scotland; on the Saturday, Cher would be at ‘MFest’ and on the Sunday, Cher would play ‘Wireless Festival’ in Hyde Park, London. I had tickets for all these dates and I could not wait!!!
I woke up really early Friday morning, 06 June 2012, to begin what was gonna be the longest single drive I had ever done in my life! I had done all my prep the night before – had my tea lol, packed my bags and got my wellies and stuff together. I’d filled my car’s tank with diesel, got the tyres to the right pressure and filled up the washer bottles. I got the oil checked as I never know how to despite been shown so many times (yes … I know it’s easy but …)! Then I tried to make sure I had loads of Zzzz’s but it was hard getting to sleep as my mind was racing so! But in the end I did…
It was about six thirty Friday morning when I got going. I eased onto the M6 Toll a little north of Birmingham and so started the long journey up country. Somewhere between Stafford and Stoke it became horrible as it was raining cats and dogs! Despite the wipers been on full pelt, it was just so hard to see! There was so many lorries and it seemed they threw up more water from the road than what was coming down from the sky – although I know that cannot be possible!? What they did do to the wet stuff however, was turn it into a fine spray which was visibly impenetrable. So it became quite simple what to do… Turn on the headlights, cut the speed and settle into the ‘slow’ lane keeping a big stopping gap between me and whatever was in front – and there I really just had to try to sit it out. I didn’t mind as I had a ton of time and ‘Sticks + Stones’ was in the cd player. But in the end the weather deteriorated so bad that seeing some services I pulled in there for a break!
I was at Sandbach and whilst there drinking warm coffee the rainfall subsided and so allowing me to carry on in better conditions. Overall, I was making not too bad time and I really just settled into the journey between the north midlands and Manchester then sped on towards Preston. I usually find as soon as that little city is behind then the M6 really calms down and things get really pretty heading into the Lakes and Cumbria. As soon as I passed Penrith at junction 40 I was into new driving territory. Of course, I have been up here before – but never driving and never on my own. Onwards and upwards eh!?
So I gunned on my trusted, battered and forgiving Ford on like some insane cowboy on a mustang and found myself approaching Gretna Green. I toyed briefly with the idea of stopping here to send daft picture messages home feigning some spoof marriage. But the thought was an idle one and easily lobbed aside meaning I instead crossed the border into Scotland at about 90mph and feeling like I was nearly there!
The reality was however, that I still had another 3 hours or more driving! So I hurried on towards Glasgow but then decided it was time for another stop. I needed a stretch of the legs and some more coffee so seeing some motorway service signs followed them and found myself at Abington, where I parked up for another little break!
… Misty Scottish Mornings …
Here I caught up on some phone calls and had a chat first with bf who – as such a sweetie – wanted to know all about how I was getting on – which was all fine and dandy as you know. Then I made a quick call to the office to see how they were which was all good but they gave me the news that MFest had been cancelled! This due to all the rainfall the country was having! Oh no! This was not good news for me as I was looking forward to seeing Cher there of course! But still – I must not be greedy as I had today and I had Sunday and for some brats perhaps Saturday was their only chance and was now gone? So I do hope all those MFest brats were able to get to see Cher at another of her festival dates I really do!?
As I thought about this and looked over the misty meadows of Scotland in the back of my mind those little cogs began whirling as I also began to reconsider my weekend plan. Originally my idea was to park up at services near Kinross, get a room I could use for an overnight sleepover and then drive to Leeds Saturday daytime. But in light of this change I started to wonder did I need a room at all?
Although I didn’t know it yet, these events were to set me up for a very strange encounter … and one that would quite honestly scare the hell outta me …
But for now, I sat on a little wooden picnic bench pondering the rest of the day and weekend when I noticed a minibus parked with two people inside I recognized from home! Wow!? What a coincidence! I set off immediately to say “Hiya!” and sauntered up to the minibus waving and grinning whereupon as I got close I realized it wasn’t who I thought it was at all! It was someone else! Not only that, they wound up their windows leaving me outside with a shocked expression mouthing the words “I’m really sorry but I thought you were someone else”. But winding up their windows!? Obviously I must have looked like a bit of a loon – a prospect I was not happy about for sure!
So I decided best to quickly head off again. After an initial mini-panic as I couldn’t find the M6 before remembering I was in Scotland and it’s called the M74 now (chump yea!), I carried on Northwards and the rest of the car journey passed uneventfully. I remember passing a big green coach and wondered is it Cher’s as it looked similar to the one she used on the ‘Sticks ‘n’ Stones’ tour? But it couldn’t have been as that surely, would already be at Tea in the Park..?
I continued on and on, skirting past Glasgow and leaving the M74 and using a couple of other motorways en route to Edinburgh. Again I soon skirted past another great Scottish city, this time Edinburgh the capital, before taking a more directly north route towards Perth and eventually crossing the Forth Bridge. It was so incredibly high up there and therefore so windy! I opened the car windows but then shut them right up again as it felt like my head would be literally blown off! I remember the road been long and straight thereafter and I was getting aware I was getting close to the Festival now. The sun was shining brightly and things started to warm right up!
So after a bit more driving I began to see signs for Tea in the Park and I eventually zoned in on the bit I needed to be in and got my car parking ticket and parked up in a field with loads of other people. I sat sipping on a CapriSun for a moment or two before gathering up some things and setting off to get in. This was somewhere after 2pm and I was so excited!
As I hadn’t been to a Festival for ages and wow! I was about to see Cher Lloyd again for the fifth time!!!