The omens were not good from the start. First stop on the Green Tourism Awards road trip was the supermarket, to stock up on nutritious road trip snacks to keep us perky for the long journey, you know the kind of thing I mean – cheese puffs, bacon fries, fizzy cola bottles. As I rummaged amongst the cobwebs in my purse I heard the till operator mutter about something being inauspicious. At first I thought she was passing judgement on my snack choice, but then I noticed that my purchases added up to “£6.66”. Yikes! Obviously putting something back was not an option, so I laughed in the face of superstition and strode confidently back to the car, muttering under my breath “this trip is not doomed, we’re gonna win, this trip is not doomed, we’re gonna win…”.
The rest of the day passed without a hitch. I didn’t drop beetroot on my parents carpet at lunch. We didn’t get stuck in a monumental M4 traffic jam. I didn’t spill red wine on my white shirt at dinner. We didn’t have the airbed with a leak. Maybe Lady Luck had stowed herself away under the dog blanket and joined us on our journey to the Big Smoke.
Well if she had, come the next morning she’d upped and left us. Can’t say I blame her. The price of a beer in Pizza Express was nearly enough to send me scuttling back over the border. The bad juju started with an iron, or more specifically, a broken iron. But that was ok because Dave would be able to iron his shirt when we got to our friend’s place in Wimbledon. Oh dear, said friend doesn’t appear to be answering her phone. That’s ok, she’d be home by the time we’d driven across South London. But she wasn’t. Dave failed to make himself understood by her non-English speaking cleaner so off he went in search of the local laundrette. As luck would have it there was one round the corner. This is the laundrette that only closes on Christmas Day and one other day in the year. What are the chances of us turning up on annual steamer servicing day! And so it came to pass that just hours before the awards ceremony was due to start, Dave is stood in his boxer shorts on the pavement of a leafy residential street in Wimbledon changing into suit and crumpled shirt.
Time for a pre-awards ceremony pint to calm the nerves brought on by all this bad juju. What’s that you say? None of the beer pumps are working today? Okay, okay, I get it, I’m reading the signs, we were never supposed to win!