Helen and I decided that, as we were both on leave, we'd take a leisurely drive to Leeds for a spot of shopping. We'd also planned to go on to York afterwards and stay over, have a romantic evening meal and take in the pre Christmas atmosphere.
The forces that conspire to throw spanners however had other plans.
We were in no rush so we had some lunch and left home about mid day. The trip to the M1 is about a twenty five mile drive from home. We went via Derby, picking up some fuel on the way then joined the motorway about 1.00 pm which is when, almost immediately, the Statham jinx hit. No sooner had the motorway trip started than it stopped, literally, dead. Three lanes of stationery traffic stretching as far as the eye could see. We were trapped. Minutes tuned to hours. Lots of hours. 6 long, infuriating, bloody hours during which time we were able to cover a staggering 6 miles. Traffic updates on the radio just kept reporting that 'both North and South bound carrage ways of the M1 are closed'. You don't say? Eventually a glimmer of salvation came when we reached the next junction by which the traffic was being diverted. The problem now moved from the M1 to the A whatever road into Chesterfield. Another hour to cover three miles.
By the time we were able to resume our journey it was way too late to even consider Leeds so we headed straight to York. Unfortunately we were so late that the car parks were all closed (I was stupid enough to book a Travellodge with no parking. Smart move, eh?). O.k. so, car's finally parked and we book in. The room stank. Like a stale smokey smell. Helen went to reception and came back with the key to another room where we both collapsed, hungry, exhausted and emotionally drained.
We were both woken at 11.45 pm be a loud screeching noise closely followed by a deep rumbling sound that went on and on and on. It appeared that the new room was right next to the laundry. Somehow, we both managed to drift off, only to be woken again by the same sound at 6.45 am.
The car needed to be moved by 8.30 so we just left, feeling just as tiered as when we'd arrived.
York is a beautiful city but have you ever tried to find breakfast at 8.00 in the morning. Jesus H Christ. Finally found a scanky cafe which A) didn't take debit cards and B) had had a problem with the food delivery that morning. I found a cash point and we had toast and something that tried to pass as scrambled eggs.
After a couple of hours of walking around in the bitter cold we decided to cut our losses and go home. The return journey took less than three hours.
What was the M1 hold up? It turned out that some idiot had stopped his car in the fast lane on one side of the motorway and tried to walk across the other. Seconds later he'd been hit by traffic and killed.
So, I guess that the Statham bad luck isn't that bad after all.