Sunday, 11 October 2009
Jordi Lafon's performance and a nice little networking dinner beckoned as my companion and I set off for Bedford on Saturday. I was looking forward to catching up with old friends and meeting Dawn as we have spoken a number of times on the telephone. My companion had poured two litres of oil into her car, something she assured me that she always did. I offered to drive and we set off in reasonable time despite an unfortunate toilet stop due to a little overindulgence and a curry the night before. As I pulled onto the A14 and accelerated, the little car laid down a smoke screen that James Bond's Aston Martin would have been proud of and a loud screaming noise that would have made Moneypenny blush. The screaming may have been mine as I pulled shakily into a lay-by much to the amusement of an RAC man who was already waiting. My companion is outstanding in a crisis and soon inveigled the hapless mechanic into an impromptu oil change. He was much grubbier and less jolly (though he did pocket a little gratuity) by the time we pulled away. Judging that we would now be very late and that my nerves were delicate enough already we headed back to Ipswich to find a not so free lunch. We parked and began to walk back into the centre of town taking a short cut through the old college buildings. I was nervous of attempting such a brash act as they are officially closed while undergoing building work. My companion however laughed at my cowardice and led us onwards. After a while it became clear that the obvious routes through this rather dubious short cut were blocked. The uncertainty of our position was making me feel increasingly apprehensive we eventually exited the building through a fire exit that (in retrospect) closed behind us with the finality of a cell door. We were now outside but surrounded by twelve foot security fencing that was quite impregnable, there was no way out! Nor could we retrace our steps and re-enter the building. We were trapped! After some time, and some frantic pacing, a woman walking a small dog passed on the other side of the fence. Hailing her we explained our predicament and suggested she might raise the alarm or at least pass a note to our loved ones but to my dismay she seemed unwilling and hurried on. I have to admit by this time I was beginning to fear for my life. Despite the reassurances of my companion, I felt there was a dread of loneliness in the place which chilled my heart. We did another circuit of our cage looking for weaknesses or signs of life. I began to weigh up attempting the fence; it was topped with fearsome spikes and looked difficult to climb.