Friday, November 05, 2010

The Road to Rhyl

Today's Telegraph brings us the extraordinary story of John Marsden, aged 86, who recently set off on the 70 mile journey from Bolton to Rhyl. After a while he realised he had taken a wrong turn and found himself lost. How often this has happened to all of us. Last time for me was at the Conservative Conference in Birmingham last month. If a taxi driver had not led me out, I'd still be there now. Anyway, John did the only sensible thing and stopped to ask the way to Rhyl - and was told "You go up the road 200 yds and then turn right", which is exactly what he did. Unfortunately, this was an Exit turn off the A55. For at least six and a half miles, he drove along merrily, not in the least bit concerned that all the traffic was going the other way. I remember doing something similar near Miami, when unused to driving in the States, and under pressure, I turned the hire car into a three lane highway - where I was faced by three of those giant American trucks, side by side, bearing down on our people-carrier. My ashen faced family discovered at that moment that their dad was cool in a crisis, because I just drove off the road, up quite a steep bank, around a tree, and back onto the highway in the right direction without a single word - just quietly peeled myself a toffee.

Can you believe that the Police took John Marsden on. He had to appear at the Llandudno Court, which is twice as far as Rhyl from Bolton - and that journey had taken him 14 hours. We can sleep safely in our beds knowing that dangerous men like John Marsden are being brought to justice. John has bought himself a lovely electric scooter now. My message to him is "Remember Andy Powell". If you can find trouble in a golf buggy, you can find trouble on a scooter.

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