How one email changed a 8 mile job into a 1000 mile round trip to Luxembourg !!
Peculiar how my life has changed over the last 10 years or so - at one point a call from work meant that it probably was going to be another double-shift in the hot kitchen somewhere, this is a story of how my work life goes these days... enjoy!
Monday morning - early morning drive to the airport, and for once it is not me flying off somewhere. Dropping my wife off to enjoy a two week winter 'break' in Norway - for me the next three days should give time to sort out some image archives, finish the VAT receipts and get invoices ready for the month.
Returning home around 11am from the airport, switch on the computer.. email from a regular client with a header "Luxembourg-Finland". I wonder what game are we talking about, as far as I know I am not attending any games like this in the near future (I did attend one last July). Open the email .. "Hi - I know we hadn't discussed this, but are you by any chance covering tomorrow evenings Luxembourg-Finland international in Luxembourg?"
I raise my eyebrows, nope.. I hadn't planned on it, my plan was to cover Worcester Wolves vs Newcastle Eagles in the BBL - a mere 8 mile drive from my house. But, work is work.. and this a very good client, so I reply.
"Hi, hadn't planned to be there, but let me check the prices for travel and I'll get back to you. Happy to cover it if I can."
Quick look around on EuroTunnel - return trip for £46 going Tuesday mid-day and coming back Wednesday mid-day. That settles it, I am going!! Few emails later, I have booked my train and hotel - good thing I had stayed in Luxembourg earlier, I knew which hotel to go for straight away.
Early to bed on Monday, and 5.30am wake-up .. with everything packed the previous evening, it was just a case of lifting it all to the car and heading towards Folkestone EuroTunnel terminal. Rather uneventful drive until one hits the M25 - roadworks and delays.. one careless drive right in front of me decided to move from the slow lane to the middle-lane.. even if there was a HUGE truck next to her. I watched and honked the horn as her car went partly under the truck before bouncing back to her own lane. Near miss for her and luckily I had kept my distance to the truck which had to break suddenly.. as I pass the smaller car... the driver still drives slowly with one hand on the wheel.. while smoking a cigarette..
Rest of the journey was LOT less eventful, sun was shining on the French side as I stopped at my 'regular' Carrefour station on the way to Belgium. And I eventually get to Luxembourg and the stadium at 6pm (kick-off 7.30pm). Straight to the press room, check the Wi-Fi, tell the clients I've safely made it and am in the stadium, all ready for the game.
Quickly chat to the Finnish F.A photographer before the game, head out, see the Finnish head coach Mixu Paatelainen walk past me.. last time I saw him was in Edinburgh .. just as he was about to accept the Finland job and we had dinner in Frankie&Benny's and had a quick photo-shoot by the 'famous bridge'.
Cover the game, get good goal/cele shots of the Finland goals, including the first ever goal for Aleksander Ring.. that's a nice one for the clients and Finnish papers! Game over, stay pitch side to wire off last of the images, head to the Hotel (2 minute drive), most places in Luxembourg are closed by now, so I am glad I still have couple of sandwiches and bananas left from my 'drive lunch pack'. Quick shower, and hit the sack...
Alarm rings at 5.30am...'deja vu'... check-out, hotel once again 'forgets' to charge my €20 for the parking, nice! Drive through Luxembourg, Belgium and France to arrive in Calais. EuroTunnel AGAIN has delays.. well, not too bothered as this give me time to walk around and stretch myself before the British leg of the drive. Sleep through the tunnel.. and then hit the road in the UK.
M25 - honestly, can't they just build few extra lanes on that road! 55 minutes to move 2 miles, and no accident.. although I do have to admit that the sun was shining so that is a rare event in the UK, so no wonder the drivers were slightly disorientated :-) After a 4 hour drive, I finally make it home around 5pm, straight to the computer and edit the 'archive' material for the clients...
So - to conclude things, it was a 30 hour assignment, on a 14 hour warning, distance driven 1042 miles, traffic jams 2 1/2 hours, two EuroTunnel trips, 90 minutes of football, 6 hours of sleep and plenty of sandwiches and bananas. AND !! Most Importantly, one VERY happy customer at the end of it all...
Yes, some of you might think I am crazy to take assignments like this - but for me, I enjoy what I do for living and getting paid to do it.. makes it even better ;-)