When we first decided to go to New York, I organised every little detail – I researched which company was best to fly with, flight prices from various locations –all with the aim of figuring out which was more economical and would give me the most money to invest in schools and handbags whilst we were there. In the end I made the decision to fly from London as the flights were with Virgin and I’d heard good things about them, and of course it worked out much cheaper.
It was Steve’s 30th Birthday the day we landed, so like any loving girlfriend I decided to plan a surprise 30th with his friend Brodie and his dad. Now this would have all been perfectly timed, had I not factored in the time difference, and the fact that by the time we landed at 8am that morning, we would have been up for almost 24 hours and still had to drive back to London. Fearful of Steve being grumpy, and less than impressed to return home to Wales, tired and sleep deprived to a house full of people, I decided that I would drive back most of the way so he could sleep, I’d arranged the party so I should be the one to suffer. I couldn’t tell him this as the whole point was that it was a surprise, so I just offered out of the goodness of my heart, claiming id caught a good few hours on the plane so I’ll be ok.
Steve drove us out of the airport; we stopped for a quick bite to eat at the Services and set on our way. I have never driven to or from London before, so I had clear instructions from him, follow the M4 signs towards the South/South-West, and then follow the signs for the M6 or the North.
Ok, I can do totally do this, M4, Southward bound, M6 Northwards, then I knew the way back to the M56 – what could go wrong?
Well, what went wrong was this… I followed the signs for the South and South-West as instructed, then signs for the M5 started to appear and the Midlands, but no signs for the North, so I continued going South/South West. The alarm bells started to ring when I saw signs for the Severn Bridge. I literally muttered to myself, could have sworn that bridge was near Cardiff. I kept on going, the slowly I realised I had definitely gone wrong somewhere; I was 20 miles from Cardiff.
I had no choice; I had to wake Steve up. He was actually going to kill me. To be honest, his reaction, although I would say it was the greatest, it could have been worse. I mean, he only yelled for like 3 minutes.
I managed to get us back on route, and we headed back up towards the midlands. I had to stop for coffee and also because I needed to inform the impending party that we may be a little later than anticipated (by 3 hours) due to the slight detour that we have taken.
Needless to say, it was not the best start to our engagement (Steve had proposed a couple of days before) or to his birthday. In fact, it was extremely difficult to provide a sensible argument against stopping overnight in the Travelodge in Birmingham as by that point we were both shattered.
Eventually we made it home, and once again Steve wanted to kill me when he walked through our door expecting peace and quiet, but in fact was greeted by shouts of ‘surprise’ and ‘happy birthday you old fart’.
With couple of glasses of diet coke and some cake down him; we filled our guests in on our adventure and engagement and celebrated his birthday (or what was left of it by this time). Come 7pm, we were both ready for bed, and Steve could almost, laugh about our *slight detour!