An "away-day" today, and a drive up to Stoke-on-Trent to say goodbye to two friends who are moving to France on Sunday. Bag packed, car windows wiped clear of anti-freeze, and off we go. First stop in Bungay three miles down the road for some petrol. Put in £30 worth and reach for my wallet ..... but it's not there, and neither is my mobile phone. Then I remember putting them on the roof of the car as I sorted out my jacket on the back seat. Bummocks!
Leaving personal details with the petrol station, and getting a chit giving me 24 hours in which to pay, I drive at high speed back to the house. No sign of wallet or phone in driveway or on the road outside. Visions of whole day going to pot!
Back into the house with the idea of phoning my mobile to see if anyone has picked it up to find a message on my answerphone from a neighbour saying that he found them in the road, and that they are with my next-door neighbour. Go out to go round there to meet the lady coming across her garden with a note to put through my letterbox. Wallet and phone are retrieved, albeit with a small piece of plastic missing from the phone case. These are the advantages of living in a small community.
Back into Bungay to pay for the petrol and then start my journey, an hour later than anticipated.
Straightforward drive until near Diss when a lorry threw up a large stone that chipped my windscreen right in front of my eyes. Nearing Uttoxeter, another stone, making a small chip right near to the first one.
But the hotel was found easily, the room is comfortable, and a good evening was had with the two friends and another couple that used to drink in the same pub we all frequented - The Globe.
(View from my hotel bedroom window)
Perhaps the return journey tomorrow will be less eventful. And apparently there's a large Chinese supermarket somewhere nearby on this estate, which could make for an interesting start to the day, especially with Chinese New Year (Tiger) looming.