Where have you been, Dan? Pioneering through the Alps? Finding the lost treasure of Tutankhamun? Nah, I have been down in Cambridge studying English poetry for three days. I have thoroughly enjoyed my stay there but I suppose that isn't funny enough to chronicle. However, the journey back was something else...
The perilous journey from Cambridge to Oswaldtwistle is something to behold - a 5 hour trek up North. The notices change from "A polite notice: Please consider not parking here" to "Do NOT park 'ere, div", and the cars change from Smart cars to Citroen Saxos. To be fair, there is a relief of cheapness and less bicycles.
What is Cambridge's obsession with bicycles? I was talking to the co-ordinator of the residential and the conversation strayed to the crime rate in Cambridge. I was expecting it to be incredibly low, probably the odd charge for wasting police time by asking them to suggest which dress they should go for in their evening out. I was wrong. The crime rate is quite high. Why? Because people pinch...wait for this...the baskets and tyres from the bicycles. Not the bikes themselves but the accessories. Although he did tell me that his mate's bike was stolen whilst he was on a train. It was so blatant but his friend was too polite to say anything.
Anyway, I stray from the point once again. On the journey, there is always a point when...erm...nature calls (not in the Ace Ventura sense either). The car pulled into the services and I...relieved myself. This was your typical services - shiny on the outside, grimy on the inside. I entered the cubicle and examined it; I didn't want someone else there, it would be off-putting. Behind the toilet seat was an adult pornography magazine with half-naked elderly ladies on the cover. Not particularly a nice sight but at least they had a day job because I'm sure their pension does not cover their gas bills if they are half-naked. I presumed that the magazine had done its job for the previous owner because it was still there and...wet. And then I turned to see the cubicle door.
The door contained graffiti. This graffiti proclaimed: "Text me? My number is 07..........." This was direct question! I was trapped!
I tapped, hesitantly, into my mobile phone keypad: "Hello. Your number seems to be on a cubicle door in a services at Cambridge. I don't know why I have texted you. DJM." Oh dear.What had I done?
Immediately my mobile phone lit up and my annoying ringtone played irritatingly out of the speaker. I pressed accept. What answered was the voice of a woman with a Reading accent. This is the surreal conversation:
"Hey there. I got your text."
"Did you? I must commend Asda Mobile for that; their services are up to scratch."
"I am wearing nothing, babe."
"Well put something on, you'll catch a cold."
"What are you wearing?"
"Jeans and a top. I do like this top - it's new."
"Do you want me to come over there, babe?"
"Yes." Of course I didn't but you know the rules.
"Are you playing with yourself?"
And at that moment, Asda Mobile delivered its reliable crapness and lost signal. The phone call was over and I breathed a sigh of relief. Wow, this place was sleazy. I had to act because I didn't want these sort of texts for the rest of my life. It was already a painful couple of minutes, imagine that for years.
"You have just rang me. I am part of a police operation to crack down on this sort of behaviour. We have traced your call and we are sending over a couple of officers now." I texted rather fastly.
Cruel but fair, don't you think? What an awkward day in the services. Damn you, the mission!