I think my trips back from Salute are cursed.
Last year, I was getting a lift home from a friend. As we left and began looking at the maps, the guy driving said 'Don't worry guys, I know where I'm going'....so the trip from London to Coventry - roughly 100 miles - began. When we saw the 'Welcome to Kent' we realised we could be in a spot of bother.
The journey home took around 4 hours and took us home via 7 different counties.
This year, I suspected, would be easier. The plan was as follows
Pack up at Salute with Heresy, travel back to Derby, unpack the van, jump on a train home and be back within a couple of hours.
On the way home, that bloody nice Foster guy said he'd drop me in Coventry, but I said I'd go back to Derby and help unpack.
So we got to Derby, lightning fast unpack of t'van and then on to the train station. When we got there...no trains listed on the board, so I spoke to this chap and he said 'You need to go to Nottingham on the 11.05 pm train, get a train from there to Birmingham, Birmingham to Coventry'
Plan only slightly amended, Mr Foster and Reaperman went on their way and I waited for said train.
Train arrives, I get on and go to Nottingham, arriving there at 11.37 pm. I checked the information screens, which revealed precious little...so I had to find a member of staff....who told me 'There's no trains leaving this station now, you'll need to get a bus to East Midlands airport, then wait a couple of hours and get a coach to Coventry'
The guy gave me a page of directions to the bus station and I set off, slightly annoyed that I'd been given the wrong information.
I phoned Reaperman to tell him of the new travel arrangements and Andy said he'd come and get me from Nottingham and I could crash at his before coming home to Sunday - I said that it was ok and I'd get home.
So...at 12.05am I got to the bus station, checked the time of the next bus - 1.05 am.
While sitting at the bus station, I met a local tramp called Mick who insisted on sitting next to me with his can of Special Brew, his collection of cigarette stumps and sharing his wisdom of the world. This worked wonders for me...I wished the bus would hurry up and arrive so I could be on my way.
1.05 arrived...and went. Sadly, I didn't. I saw the bus I needed to catch...sail past the bus station and continue on it's way. So I stopped a nearby driver and asked when it'd come back and got the joyous news...that I was at the wrong bus station. I needed to go to another station.
After some muttering, I set out to find the correct bus station. I stopped to get directions from a Burger van and the guy set me straight, adding the gem of information that I'd now missed the last bus to the airport and I'd be better getting a cab.
As I'd been at Salute all day, I didn't really have enough cash to get a hotel room (in case that's what you're thinking) and I wasn't sure how much a cab would cost me. But...I was beginning to feel tired (6 am start and a whole day working at Salute) so I got some more cash from the ATM and got a cab to East Midlands airport.
I got there at 1.55am and was told 'You can get the 14.05 coach and that will get you straight into Coventry' so - grabbed a couple of drinks and a Mars Bar and waited.
Turns out the coach was at 2.35am, the woman had been reading the afternoon schedule. A perfect addition to the events of the evening.
I hit Coventry at 3.35am and then had to weather the delights of getting a cab home from the city centre at nightclub chucking out time.
I got home at 3.50am and promptly fell into bed.
Salute - great show, great people - nightmare getting home.
Ah well, at least I won a resin Thrudd!