As the Autumn leaves are burnished gold and the last warmth of the fading sun caresses the fields, my Father-in-Law's thoughts have turned to the sea.He decided to drive to Devon to see an old friend and walk by the coast, muffled against the breeze and breathing in the salty air.
At least that was the idea.
In practise, life is not quite so easy. After several conversations with my Man as to the best route to take to Devon, he set off yesterday lunchtime. My Man is a fine son and made sure that his Dad's mobile phone was charged up and in the car, complete with a list of numbers for emergencies. He also insisted that his Dad take drinks, sandwiches and general supplies " just in case ".
Well, thank God he did, is my thought. To those of you who are not familiar with the British coast line, Devon is at the bottom left, not the pointy bit, that's Cornwall, just the bit before. From here it takes about 5 hours to drive there. My Man suggested that my FIL took the odd break at a Little Chef now and again. We phoned the old friend to just let her know that maybe FIL is a little frailer than the last time she saw him, and that his memory is...... well, not great. She promised to phone at about 5pm when he would arrive.
By 7.30 he still had not reached her house. Luckily he managed to work out how to use the phone and asked for directions. I don't think I have ever seen my poor Man as worried as he was last night. Bearing in mind that his Dad is 80 years old it was not nice to think of him drifting around the South of England, lost and tired. I think he probably visited most of the towns on the South Coast at one stage or another.
By 10pm he was no longer answering his phone. He was completely lost and would accept no help. The friend had told him, last time they spoke, to stay where he was and another friend would drive to meet him. No, he was fine. On he drove.
Eventually, at gone 11.30 pm ,he arrived. Eleven and a half hours after he set off. ELEVEN AND A HALF HOURS!!!For a 5 hour trip.
Thank God he is ok. And thank God he didn't kill anyone on the journey. I just hope to Goodness that this makes him realise that all is not well. We are going to have to think about how on earth to get him home. At the monent I think one of us, probably my Man, will have to take the train down there and drive him back.
I really don't think any of us could face another " 5 hour trip "