Sunday 30 April 2023

Jam On Top Tour Day 3

 I remember day three as being an unmitigated disaster, but it wasn't, entirely bad. It started badly with some very bad family news which preyed on my mind all day, but we set off from the B&B in sunshine & drove the A39 again in an easterly direction, we kept off the little roads & all went well. We planned to stop at Porlock Weir for a coffee break & as we rolled into the car park, dark clouds were gathering so hoods were rapidly erected & just as the last was going into place, the heavens opened in properly biblical fashion - OK it didn't go on for 40 days & 40 nights, but it was VERY HEAVY. We had a coffee in the posh hotel & as these thing do, it had passed over by the time we left.

The roads got slowly less interesting as we traveled east & by & by we arrived at a petrol stop just the other side of Cheddar. We were all together & it was only a few miles to the coffee stop that marked the end of the route, so we would all have a drink together before going out separate ways.

What could possibly go wrong?

It was only a small petrol station, so as soon as I had fueled up I left. A little old lady in a blue car had driven up to the front of one of our number & seemed put out that her pump was busy, so I squeezed the Stylus past here & found Roger also ready to move on. Graham had already departed heading in the wrong direction. Roger & I drove along & after a while were joined by Graham & we pulled into the cafe. We waited, we waited a bit more. I wandered down the approach road to take pictures of our compatriots arriving. After a few minutes we got bored & sauntered inside. There was nothing on my phone, but one of the others had a message about a car not starting. Information was sparse, but after a while it seemed the car had been persuaded to run & headed straight home, the others were on their way.

No-one arrived.

After a bit Robert turned up, just after Roger & Graham left, so I had another drink & eventually ascertained that the remaining two were at a different cafe, possibly next to a different lake.

Robert & I set off, but in an attempt to go directly home I deleted one to many waypoints & the SatNav took me north, the first I knew of this was when we hit the outskirts of Bristol. All this time I had been fretting about the bad family news, but my mind was about to get focused on a new problem - avoiding the Bristol "Clean Air Zone".

Eventually I managed to set the SatNav to "shortest route" to take us east, but stuck in the suburbs of an unfamiliar city, in rush hour traffic, with dozens of signs telling you all the things you're not allowed to do, while lost - quite stressful. Then we saw Linda going the other way!

Then it started raining heavily again.

Then we had to do 125 miles on the M4

Eventually I got home exhausted, but there was no word saying others had arrived, I was worried, but surely bad things couldn't have befallen ALL of them?

At around 10:00 I noticed a tiny tiny message scrolling across the top of my phone saying "emergency calls only" I prodded a few things on the screen & the phone started beeping & pinging & it seemed everyone had got home safe & well.

Not the best day I've had in the Stylus!

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