Friday certainly lived up to the title of the 'Longest Day of the Year'
Back in my native Finland, people celebrate Midsummer (or Juhannus) with 99.7% of people taking time off from work, and generally relaxing. I must have done something wrong when I moved away from there - and this year, the Midsummer/Longest Day of the Year.. it certainly lived up to its name, here my 25 hour day.
After midweek game covering Team Canada in Paderborn, Germany it was soon time to head back home to England, so a long drive was on the cards. Alarm rang at 6am (this would be 5am UK time) in the morning, pack final things into bags, have early breakfast and hit the road. First stage, Bad Lippspringe to Calais - total distance 560 kilometers. All goes smoothly until we start to close Antwerp, definitely something wrong here with 96 minute delays. Taking some detours we avoided most of the traffic, but this delay did mean we would miss our train from Calais to Folkestone. Luckily EuroTunnel are flexible and gave a place on the next available train across. Cold (half frozen) chicken burger from the burger van at Calais EuroTunnel wasn't maybe the best lunch ever either :-)
30 minute crossing and we are back in the UK, I have an evening game to catch in Bristol - but my wife would naturally want to go home instead of having to sit and wait for three hours in the middle of nowhere. Traffic-gods were not on our side to start with, M25 had over 2 HOURS of delays from Junction 9 onwards - once again some detours (thankful for the LIVE updates on the SatNav.. this is why I pay the £40/year for them!) and we somehow emerge on the M4 going westbound. Question is, can we make it Great Malvern, or is it straight to Bristol??
At the Swindon junction it is decision time, and despite it adding another two hours to the drive - the car is now pointing towards home. More delays on the A419.. and clock is ticking dangerously fast. Weaving through the last roundabouts - we pull up in front of our house around 6.30pm. Quickly run inside to grab the video-camera (there was a work reason for needing to come home as well) - get one suitcase out of the car, say goodbye to the wife.. and two minutes after stopping.. I was on the move again, after having completed the 260 miles on busy Friday afternoon roads.
Next, the reasonable drive of 70 miles down to Bristol - which should take me around an hour and 20 minutes.. leaving me 10 minutes before the tip-off at the venue. Friday early evening request show on BBC Radio 2 keeps me 'rocking' down the M5.. I get to the game just in time to watch a Devon Van Oostrum -show for the first 20 minutes. Somehow I manage to stay awake and work video/stills during the game, hopefully made some sense in the post-game interviews, before the last drive of the Longest Day of the Year.. 70 miles up the M5 to home.
Engine switches off couple of minute before midnight, after about 800 miles (1250 kilometers) of roads through FIVE countries, 15 hours sitting in the car, four quarters of International basketball - it was time to, EDIT SOME PICTURES !!
Next time someone points out how great it must be to travel to all these countries and work - I might just pull out this journey to tell them exactly HOW glamorous it is.. Then again, next trip is for 2 1/2 weeks in a nice hotel with a spa and the Arena's less than a kilometer away from the Hotel - so maybe there is some glamour hidden behind all the long hours spent on the roads :-)