WAS YOUR JOURNEY REALLY NECESSARY ?..
To Southampton yesterday with my eldest son to see the Saints take on Barcelona`s second football club Espanyol, in the last pre-season `friendly.`
Now here in Kent, for 26 of the last 44 days, we have been pretty much gridlocked thanks to the ongoing Operation Stack, courtesy of striking French seamen and the occasional migrant. The result has been that we have not dared venture onto the M20 and turn right or have any intention of heading eastwards towards the Kent coast, since the traffic snarl-ups on the alternative roads have been the stuff of nightmares.
So yesterday we left home and turned left, optimistically expecting a carefree, leisurely drive down to Southampton and it was OK until we got near Leatherhead on the M25, from where we crawled and crawled until, in a fit of desperation, I turned off the motorway at Wisley and went down the A31. Good progress until we reached Guidford - another crawl - and yet another one at Farnham; but we rejoined the M3 at Winchester and arrived at Southampton`s Town Quay just in time for a quick bite before the walk to St. Mary`s.
We thought the return journey might be better; after all it`s a summer evening in early August and surely there won `t be that much traffic about. But we hadn`t bargained for the `long term roadworks` on the M3 all the way from Basingstoke right up to the M25 and we hadn`t expected the logjams on the M25 itself. So our day was spent mostly on the super highways of southern England, tiresome to the extent that I began to wonder if the journey had really been necessary.
But then again it`s more than a pleasure to go back to my boyhood roots, to retrace the steps of the walk from Town Quay to St. Mary`s Stadium and to experience once more the special feeling of being a lifelong Saints fan. The game itself was inconsequential, sandwiched between the first and second legs of the Saints Europa League tie against Vitesse Arnhem and the start of the Premier League next weekend, but the highlight was seeing Jay Rodriguez` stunning 25-yard volley to level the scores at 1-1. Especially pleasing for him as he has been out of action for 14 months with a serious knee injury.
So, to answer my own question. Was the journey really necessary? Just about. And I dread the day when I may not be able to make the journey again.