Sunday 7th March
“16 Missed Calls”, was flashing at me when I picked up my mobile phone.
There were three voice mails spaced an hour apart asking me to call the office.
It was still well before lunchtime on a bright Sunday.
I was pressing the speed dial to speak to the office thinking or certainly hoping that it was not an urgent job. Surely they would have called me on the landline if it had been really important.
I was relieved to find that it was just a bit of a heads up that I would be needed to go south for a job in either Liverpool, Oldham or Manchester.
Without rushing too much, because all I had to do was get to a hotel in time for bed I set off down the road.
The story allocated to me was a live outside the family home in Oldham of the little boy kidnapped in Pakistan.
I was slightly surprised to be heading away from a story of three people who had died from falling off a tower block in Glasgow.
As the day and my journey progressed and the radio reports indicated that there were no suspicious circumstances I was much less surprised.
The gravitational pull around the greater Manchester area was just having an effect when the phone rang.
Tentatively Carol from GMTV asked, “How far sown the road are you?”
“Almost there”, I replied, knowing what was probably coming next.
“Pull over we might need you to come back.”
I was nearing a service area so I parked up and waited for further instructions not relishing the thought of another four hours drive back the way I had come.
A few moments later the phone rang again.
“We’re sending a reporter up to Glasgow to cover the triple death story.” I was told.
At that point I wished that I could collect road miles rather than air miles.
Then a glimmer of hope started to glow when I was given the choice of continuing on the way to Manchester and doing the live broadcasts in Oldham or retracing my tread marks to Glasgow to do some shooting.
No brainer. A short drive to a hotel and almost a full nights sleep or a four hour drive in the dark followed by at least a couple of hours shooting and maybe an edit.
Monday 8th March
Even when my alarm jangled me into wakefulness at four in the morning I was glad that I made the decision not to drive for hours in the darkness.
Although with only one brief live shot on the programme filled with glitz and glamour from the Oscars in Hollywood and a lot of hanging around on a very cold morning just in case the wee lad, Sahil Saeed was found I was not so sure.
After one of the most uneventful mornings spent huddled in a satellite truck at least the sun was shining for my journey back north for a surprise job tomorrow morning.