On the M62 an ominous thwack sounded the alarm; a massive pothole in the narrow 50 MPH lane had flattened one of the front tyres of the car-both of which were new ones fitted by the garage on Friday.
I had to pull off the motorway and sit in a Brookside-type crescent just outside Warrington while first the AA and then a tyre replacement chap came. Bang went my relaxing afternoon in the hotel before the gig.
And then, of course, the Satnav proudly announced that I had reached my destination. My destination was over there, beyond those trees and behind a fifteen foot high concrete wall with no slip road.
But I didn't Almost Cry. I found my way there, had a quick cup of tea and drove on to the Whitaker Museum,where Paul Hiapop was waiting, and Mick and June too.
Everything was set up so I went with Mick to buy a dried up sandwich from the garage and bumped into Amy, who had taken three buses from Bolton and was just wandering up the road.
Back at the venue, the room was filling up. Ian Gosden was there, proudly bearing a box of four melted orange-juice ice lollies. Trystan and his partner had driven down from Lancaster, and there was a good sprinkling of Helen and the Horns and Chefs fans which was a lovely surprise. I even signed a grey vinyl copy of Freight Train that someone had found that afternoon.
The museum is an old Victorian building run by volunteers that has music, comedy, film shows and other events as well as a permanent display of stuffed animals which is not to everyone's taste, but Amy disappeared in there in a state of great excitement.
I sang with a background view, through tall old painted shutters, of a bright green hill covered with growing wild stuff. I could see night fall as I played, which was incredibly romantic. People sang along with The Sea and chatted with me for ages afterwards which meant the burst tyre stress flew out of the window, over the hills and far away to the space dustbin where all the useless stuff is thrown away.
It was a lovely evening and I hope I sang my best for them and made it worth coming out. The Green Goddess sounded very beautiful, and I gave her a couple of biscuits when I got back to the hotel.
I particularly appreciated the effort people made to come along to see the gig.
Thank you Paul for inviting me to play, I loved it.
The drive home was uneventful; I stopped off in Sheffield see Bambos and Jane and collapsed into bed at about 9 p.m. to snore through till this morning. Work today, but I came home to be greeted by the unusual song of a goldfinch that was perched on the highest branch of next door's tree, tweetling away and flying off every time I sneaked to the window with the binoculars to see what sort of bird it was. Eventually I hid behind the curtains and managed to identify him. I think its the same one that used to fly into the garden last summer and nick the coconut fibres from the hanging basket for it's nest.