On this particular dark evening we'd left the Carlisle office and were driving back to our hotel when we spied a good ole Northern fish and chip shop. It was emanating (big word!) the most wonderful smells and so we stopped and joined the queue. Hotel food did become quite tiring and this promised to be a yummy meal.
The food came in boxes like those above and we selected our own personal treat - a polystyrene pot of curry sauce for Joy (What?! That was a new one on me.) and a large soft roll for your truly. I'm afraid to confess that I just love a chip butty :)
We hopped back into Joy's car and then parked, almost straight over the road, in a very quiet little car park in a disused retail park. Windows down to prevent the lingering smell of vinegar and curry sauce we began to tuck in. Bliss - and then Joy hissed at me 'Don't look too pointedly Di, but can you see what going on over there?'.
I'd been really pre-occupied making my chip butty, head down and carefully lining up the chips like little soldiers (chip OCD?), and had only partly noticed the only other cars which had arrived in the car park. So, I took a look and replied 'Really parked close together aren't they - they'd never be able to open their doors to get out' and then 'Oooh, look Joy, how friendly - they're passing packs of cigarettes around from car to car through the windows', before returning to carefully assembling layer two of chips in said chip butty. How
Next thing I knew, Joy had quietly raised the car windows - then she made her move. 'Look Dumbo' she hissed (there was a lot of hissing going on here I noticed) - 'those aren't packets of cigarettes. And we could be thought to be a drugs surveillance team if they take notice'.
Slowly, the asses ears sprouted from my head and preoccupation with a neatly made chip butty was swiftly replaced by absolute terror. 'Hold onto your hat Di - we're out of here' was the next utterance from Joy, followed by her box of fish and chips landing on my lap and the pot of curry sauce being thrust into my hand. And with that, she started the engine and we screeched out of the car park.
It was like a scene from something like Cagney and Lacey or maybe Thelma and Louise. Only, I just bet that Louise wasn't whimpering 'I want my Mummy. I don't want to be shot. I didn't see anything, honestly' repeatedly whilst looking like an Indian goddess with each hand raised on either side, one clutching a chip butty and the other one holding a lidless pot of curry sauce as we hurtled along. There were a few mini-roundabouts on the route too and believe me, that was tricky stuff! Threats from Joy that she'd personally shoot me if I spilt the curry sauce all over the car weren't helping either :(
As it happens, we weren't followed, we did survive unscathed and hid the car round the back of the hotel where we half heartedly finished off the fish and chip supper. The following day, back at the Carlisle office, we discovered that sure enough - where we'd parked was a known local hangout for drug dealers. Ha, known perhaps - but not if you're a couple of innocent visitors trying to have a quiet supper!