Monday, June 18, 2012

The Trip Stop


Let's face it, motorway services provide a service and amusement in equal measures. I talk from experience after using them twice in the last few days which catapulted me back into a sketch show for a few hours. It all started quite innocently with our 560 mile round trip to Glasgow for an appearance this weekend and a need for a toilet stop and a refuel along the way.

for a start I didn't expect to see some of the unusual things I came across. Firstly was this, a motorbike racing car being driven randomly by a guy that looked like the Stig followed by three other motorbikes to accompany him. They zig-zagged their way out of the no entry sign and went the wrong way down the entrance route.

Weird but not as amusing as the man excercising his dog, a dog who obviously needed a little more than exercise when it decided to take its own toilet break in the middle of the car park surrounded by families and a coach load of tourists now trying to gag their way through packed lunches. That was mildly amusing but not as amusing as when he bent down to clean it up as his phone popped put of the top pocket and bounced dangerously close to the aforesaid dollop. There followed a scene out of a thousand movies similar to a hero defusing a bomb as he tried to remove his phone without getting anything on him, the phone or his clothes, all done in glorious slo-motion and from a safe distance (arms length). He nearly got a round of applause until he capped it all and spoilt the scene by sniffing the phone at the end.

Inside, apologies for the poor photo, I felt a little conspicuous as we were glared at as we entered. Probably due to the fact we were both dressed ready for the appearance and looked a bit extravagant. The music Tony Christies 'Is This The Way To Amarillo' played in the foyer and a smell of breakfast; two eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, fried bread and crusty beans wafted up my nostrils. Several 'guests' were already tucking in, one gentleman had decided that one breakfast was not enough and had ordered two, all lined up ready to be devoured with military precision. His fried bread had already been transferred and I watched him carry on this routine with an expert deft of hand in which he lifted a fried egg intact from the second plate and placed it squarely on the fried bread, a quick stab of the fork and a golden river of yolk flooded the surface. He was going to love every bit of it and for a moment I envied him.

In their heyday motorway services quickly became a destination for the motorist, indeed, at the start they were the only place to be seen in on the new tangled motorway system that wowed the UK. Today though, it's a different matter as we wandered it's noise filled arcade machine corridors amazed that they now only offer only the basics at inflated prices which I suppose you should now only expect from a place with a captive audience. But it was still buzzing, albeit in a zombie kind of way as families shuffled their way through the halls stopping occasionally to consume a burger, individuals looked shifty and furtive, truck drivers looked, well, trucky, foreign tourists looked amazed and disgusted all at the same time and occasionally a member of staff rushed through looking rather worried after receiving a report of a foreign object in cubicle three. And as always you get a squirt of air fresher to the back of the head from those automatic dispensers as you walk in the toilets, why do they do that? Do I really smell that much that a waft of faux pine is needed?

I suppose it's a bit like the eBay of the soul, lots of people coming through the door in an unending random listing each with their own agenda, story and reason for being there in the first place. I could go on but instead I will leave you with this, urinals are not for sitting on. Try telling that to the gentleman I found perched on one not three feet from myself.

How will he explain the ring on the back of his trousers I will never know.

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