Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Off the Cuff

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Off the Cuff

Article excerpt

Byline: By Jamie Diffley

I'd only planned to nip out for a minute. Told the Long Suffering Marjorie to put the George Foreman on and I would be back before the chicken fillets had even started to tan. By the time I did return she was scraping the blackened torsos off the ribbed surface. Forensic were only able to identify them by their feathers.

She was fuming but her ire was nowhere near as bad as mine. I'd been missing for the best part of two hours because I was getting petrol.

I had taken the short trip to my local filling station because I genuinely needed to refuel. As ever I had let the needle to drop down into the red and I was making do on fumes. Only I couldn't get petrol from my local filling station. My local filling station didn't have any. It had charcoal briquettes, withering flowers and huge bags of onion rings, but no petrol.

The needle was stuck to the bottom, the fumes were running out. Going home defeated was not an option but the other nearest petrol station was twice the distance again. Uphill.

Like Shackleton setting off in Endurance, I wasn't sure if I would ever see home again. Traffic was unusually busy on the stretch of road approaching the station. More stopping and starting. More unnecessary fuel consumption. Perhaps there was an accident.

But as the Esso sign loomed into view like the first sight of land, it became clear what was causing such a build-up. A queue.

A lengthy snake of an assortment of vehicles. Family cars, sports cars, big vans, small vans. Smart cars (Idiots. How can a car that looks like toy have the name `Smart'. Nothing smart about it. And I didn't realise they actually need petrol. I thought you wound them up with a big key).

Despite the reassurances and promises about protests and not blockades, half of Tyneside was out filling up their car in case of a shortage. …

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