BLACK FRIDAY ARRIVES EARLY — 22nd November 2019
It was a bad day, even a horrendous one but it began well.
I had been ill during the week with some kind of bug and spent three days in bed, not eating anything. I am not usually ill and felt so bad I didn't have the heart to listen to the F.A.Cup replay between Bradford City (my team) and Shrewsbury Town. It didn't even seem to matter-and they lost.
But Friday dawned with the sun shining and I felt a lot better. Off to Manchester in the car to Old Trafford for a meeting with a family to scatter the ashes of their mother, a life-long Lancashire supporter.
As I neared Manchester, I realised things were not well with the car. The engine spluttered and slowed down, and I quickly left the motorway and headed into Altrincham at a slow pace with the engine not responding to anything I tried. Eventually it came to a stop on a main road and I was becalmed. I should have known as the car had been causing trouble over the previous weeks and had been repaired only a few days before; it was on its 'last legs'.
I put on the hazard lights and phoned the A.A. They said it would be an hour before they could get there. The car was causing a problem for other traffic so I decided to get out and try to push it into a side road, hoping that someone would stop and help. I had had only just started when two cars stopped and three good Samaritans including a young girl came up and helped push the car into the side road. There I sat and waited wondering what I would do if I couldn't get to Old Trafford.
An hour later the welcome yellow A.A. van arrived with Colin from Stoke-on-Trent driving. He quickly diagnosed the problem, the car was undriveable! He offered to take me and the car back to Nantwich, to my local garage.
I had a dilemma. What to do? Could I disappoint the family who in a hour's time would be arriving at Old Trafford? I thanked him but said no, but could he drop me off at the Tram Station at Altrincham? No problem, he said as he loaded the car on the back of the vehicle and we were off.
I arrived at Old Trafford in time and met the family who were so grateful and the son so tearful as I conducted the ceremony. Afterwards I had a coffee with them and then headed into Manchester to get the train back to Nantwich. The tram to Piccadilly was fine but when I got to the station the concourse was full and the train would be another hour. I sat and waited. As it got nearer the time of arrival the train was cancelled. There had been a problem between Crewe and Wilmslow with the signals, no trains were running. Everyone had to go to Stoke.
Another half-hour wait. On the Stoke train, people were worried how they were going to get to not just to Crewe but Wilmslow and Wales. We arrived at Stoke. Another hour wait and the board suddenly showing 'delayed' for the train to Crewe. Oh no, this can't be true.
It was now 9'oclock and I had been traveling or trying to travel for five hours. The Crewe train was late by 30 minutes, but at last it arrived and twenty minutes later we arrived in Crewe with my wife there to meet me and take me to Nantwich. Cold, tired and fed up!
So what was positive about the day?
My car had arrived five hours before me in Nantwich. Did I have regrets for the day? You could say I should have gone back home with the car. But then I would never have met the three good Samaritans who pushed the car, Colin the smiling AA man and also helped a family with their grief that was far more important than my personal discomfort.