The morning after our ‘perfect day’ at SKC Championship Show in Edinburgh, I was planning to take the dogs somewhere else, but as I arrived home feeling totally drained and exhausted, I decided to see how I felt when I woke up before reaching a final decision. Morning arrived and I felt anything but bright and breezy, in fact, it took me forever, to get myself into gear. It was almost lunchtime, when having put the dogs into the car, I set off for the Irish Setter Fanciers Fun Day at Faddiley in Cheshire. I had no idea just how long it would take me to reach Faddiley, but undaunted, I started to drive to the other side of the country. As I reached the M6 motorway, I began to look for familiar signs from the map I had been given. Seeing a name I recognized, I took the next junction off the motorway. After driving for several more miles, I became rather worried that the signs did not match up to my directions and non of the road numbers matched the one on which I was now travelling! Somehow, but without realizing it, I had come off the motorway and back onto an A road. And according to the signs at the side of the road, there was no stopping allowed for 13 miles and Wrexham was only 11 miles away! As Wrexham is in Wales and I was heading for Cheshire, even I could see that I was hopelessly lost. Eventually I managed to find a lay-bye, where I was able to stop. I phoned the organizers for help, pathetically explaining what had happened and asking for directions, trying all the while to stem the swelling rise of sheer panic that seemed to be rising from the pit of my stomach.

Following the new set of directions, I set off once again, managing to arrive at the Fun Day as the first people were leaving! It had taken me five and a half hours to reach my destination. Everyone was extremely welcoming, but I just felt so utterly frazzled. My head was banging and I desperately needed to take some headache tablets. So, slipping the dogs leads under my foot, I struggled to hold on to two very excited dogs, who were eyeing up the proceedings and obviously wanting to rush off to join in, whilst I scrabbled inside my bag to find the required cup, water and medication. It was medication that had to be dissolved before it could be taken, so trying to pour the water, add the tablets, wait for it to dissolve and drink it, all whilst trying to keep two very excited setters still, was no easy task. Believe me!

No sooner had I finished this mammoth task than Flynn saw his opportunity and did a runner, streaking backwards and forwards across the large paddock, trailing his lead and eventually disappearing into the next field, showing total disregard for the fun and games that he was meanwhile disrupting so effectively. The whole idea of the Fun Day was to join in with the fun and games, not to arrive and create our own. Throwing Fergus’s lead at some unsuspecting soul, I set off in hot pursuit of Flynn, muttering threats of death under my breath. He steadfastly ignored me, all the way across two large fields, choosing this moment to become selectively deaf. Suddenly, he stopped as a delicious smell reached his nostrils. That was my chance. I ran up behind and grabbed him quickly. He was determined to have the last laugh though, as on the way back, he suddenly dragged me through a huge pile of stinging nettles, which wouldn’t have been so bad, had I not been wearing open-toed sandals! The buffet and the fun and games were all over by the time we rejoined everyone back in the garden and people were beginning to leave. I had not eaten anything, nor had anything to drink and had not even participated in the fun and games. It seemed as if I had just driven for five and a half hours to be extremely frazzled and chase my dog all over the countryside. Some Fun Day. In a funny kind of way, I was rather relieved that the day was over, as I felt far too delicate after all those shenanigans to join in anyway.

In order to help me find my way back to the motorway without getting lost again, some friends very kindly offered to guide me back to the motorway, telling me, that when they waved out of the window, I was to go North on the M6 motorway. All went well until we reached the last roundabout. My friends duly waved out of the car window and I set off round the roundabout, which was to take me on to the M6 motorway and home. However, instead of the sign indicating North or South, as they had suggested, it said Preston and Birmingham. Not having a clue where Preston was and being sure that Birmingham was North of my position, I duly set off towards Birmingham. Of course there was no time to check the map as once into the flow of traffic on the roundabout, I had no option but to go with the flow of traffic. Two junctions further down to my horror, I discovered that I was back at Faddiley where I had started! I had been driving in totally the wrong direction.

By the time I finally got home, both the dogs and I were shattered. They must have wondered why they had spent most of the day in the back of the car, being driven around the country, seemingly without purpose. Only Flynn had managed to have a good run round and that was because he had escaped. The only positive aspect to come out of this weekend, was the fact that I would probably now be able to give a detailed account of Britain’s Motorway system.

But I wouldn’t count on it!

© 2008 Michelle Webster

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