Music: Wounded Rhymes by Lykke Li
We finally found a cooker for the Beast. It was within our price range and would fit the space in the van. It was also in Winsford. I had therefore decided to fix the faulty cigarette lighter in Stevo the Stilo so that the sat nav and I could bond over the four hour round trip to cooker-town. One 20 amp fuse and some tinkering later and Stevo, myself and and Radio 1’s pr4l (on the Tom Tom) ambled off towards the motorway.
Naturally, traffic occurred. I had forgotten that Friday afternoons are what motorways were made for, specifically the ones around Birmingham. Not that every other motorist in Britain is solely to blame for this; the sat nav wryly chose to go south round the lower part of the city, rather than north round the top. At first, assuming some greater navigational wisdom on the part of the little box, I foolishly took the turning. Awkward, endless traffic ensued, and by the time we made the M6 north of Birmingham I already needed a cup of tea.
Music: Family Jewels by Marina and the Diamonds
The traffic worsened, slowing to an impatient crawl amid a frenzy of petulant lane changing. The overhead signs shared helpful information about traffic between junctions 15 and 18. Then heavy traffic between 15 and 18. Then queues. I was coming up to junction 15. I was warned that there was a queue imminently after the junction, and that I should give up all hope of ever reaching my destination. I decided I had had enough.
Pr4l, I commanded, get me the hell out of here. We turned off the motorway, and into the green and pleasant land of the A-road. For a few minutes it didn’t matter that it would probably take longer to get there. The giddy freedom of blasting down a tiny country lane singing tunelessly about robots was enough.
Music: Discontented Silence by Flic
The cooker was not how it looked in the pictures. It was altogether worse in every possible way. For all I cared the gentleman in question could have dumped a large dead rat in the back of the car, I would still have handed over the money. I feel there is a lesson to be learnt there, but neither myself nor the hypothetical dead rodent found ourselves caring.
Music: Best of Blur by Blur
I was therefore absolutely delighted to find, on my return to the M6, that the northbound lanes really were exactly as bad as the signs had given us to believe. I thundered back down south, smiling to the poor lost souls who, for whatever reason, had chosen to go to Manchester. Of course by the time “Park Life” came round for the second time things were looking much less rosy. The rain was relentlessly dreary, and the approach to Birmingham was once more blighted by overhead messages.
There was no escaping it this time. On requesting a route without the M6, the sat nav gamely suggested visiting the lower half of Birmingham. But I had been there, I knew what was down there. All the tea this side of London couldn’t make me go down there again.
Music: Sigh no More by Mumford and Sons
Thankfully, by track 7 we were free, and once more bowling down the M40 towards home. Not only does the song Little Lion Man lend itself deliciously to shouting along with the volume right up, it features the most marvellous use of an expletive I think I’ve ever heard.
Thus we made it home, half a tank of petrol and a shoddy cooker later.
Financially, it was a waste.
In business terms it was, given the effort invested, only mildly more useful than the dead rat would have been.
Was it worth it simply for the blog post? Probably not, but feel free to make up your own mind.