I arrived at Stevies at 5am and I was immediately presented with a significant kitchen dilemma. The vegetable soup that Stevie was preparing as a hot treat on a cold winters day, had announced, by way of simmering and bubbling, that it was ready to be dealt with. But how to decant the said soup from saucepan to flask. A brief moment of panic ensued. Luckily there was a pouring vessel to hand – a measuring jug. The soup was saved. It’s tough being a man, sometimes. So, along with hot soup and sandwiches, we were ready to set off on our next trip – a Brother PR1055X delivery to Plymouth.
The mornings are still dark (Feb 23), and we made are way along our regular route through small towns and quiet country roads, and on, to join the M6. But soon enough we joined colourfully illuminated trucks and HGV’s, all sailing along in trails of unending convoys. Up, down and round the land, and doing it all over again tomorrow.
We make first port at Norton Canes. The service station on the M6 toll road is a regular stop. Chance to stretch the limbs and inspect the facilities. Always there is a queue for the breakfast beef burger. We pass, preferring our own made butties, or sandwiches, and sometimes a slice of quiche lorraine.
Dawn begins to break as we pull back onto the M6, and soon the traffic builds as sidle up alongside the M42. We push on and head for the M5 and my battle with the crossword begins (I managed just over half, today). There’s a spit and spot of slow traffic, but nothing worthy of Sally’s interest. So steady progress continues, mile after mile.
Before we know it, we are are drawing close to the Gloucester Services. The twin of the illustrious Tebay Services. Known and loved by almost all long haul road travellers. We ease into her harbour for another break. The field growing atop the services roof is coming along nicely. I looked carefully, but not one sheep did I see. Perhaps next year Without any prompt, Stevie announces that he is startving and the idea of a Full English has taken his fancy. I choose a table with a good view of the frozen duck pond. And as we begin to saw into our sausages, a family of ducks appear over the rise from which the waterfall springs. They look quite bemused to see so much ice covering their pond. No duck comes up with a solution. So they enter into polite conversation and wait for someone who might. I begin work on my mushrooms.
Plymouth makes us aware of her presence in the form of a sign, which reads – Welcome to Plymouth. And soon we are driving through the town. We pass a gap through which lies a view of boats and masts and a little bit of sea. Then we pass a McDonalds and inside an orderly queue waits for more beef burgers.
We arrive at our destination and meet Tim. A pleasant and clever chap with a nice place. Steve and I unload the motor and set up the mighty Brother PR1055X. It’s a ten needle embroidery machine, for the new boys/girls at the back. The lesson begins and it’s quickly obvious that Tim has been watching our videos. Said he was clever… He knows almost everything we show him. He offers us a coffee – and we like him even more. Funny, but sometimes we’ll drive all day from one end to another, but when you dare ask a customer, ‘any chance of a cuppa’ they say No!
Somewhere around Taunton we pull into a service station. A comfort break followed by a raid on the butty (sandwich) boxes. Steve introduces an extra dimension of culinary delight – the flask of vegetable soup. Lovely. Passing Wootton-under-Edge I spy two deer feeding on a field of grass. A sign above the motorway reads – Expect an Hour Long Delay. A mile or so further on another sign reads – M5 Closed at Junction 5. So we come off and take the A roads through Kidderminster and onto Staffordshire. We drive into darkness, mile after miles of unlit and unmarked small country lanes. Finally we rejoin the M6 and continue the journey home. A hot bath and a small Jamesons awaits…